Francesco Di Fiore

Composer and pianist

Author

About

Francesco Di Fiore, pianist and composer, was born in Palermo, Italy. He studied piano, harpsichord and composition with several teachers including Harald Hossberger, Bruno Canino, Peter Toperczer and Eliodoro Sollima in Palermo, Vienna and Prague. In 1986, he began his piano career performing hundreds of classical and contemporary concerts throughout Europe, China, Japan and the US. Stylistically, his music falls into the post-modern post-minimalist area. Alongside music for piano, his compositions include chamber and orchestral music, film soundtracks and stage music. In 2011 he created a unique project called “Miniature 2011” in which he composed a new piece each week and presented it to the internet. The project yielded 53 compositions totalling around three and a half hours of new music. He has won several piano competitions in Italy in addition to winning “XV Internationales Kammermusik Festival Austria Waldviertel” in Austria. He records with the Dutch Label Zephir Records and his most recent album “Pianosequenza - Piano Music in Film” was well received critically and charted in the top five for the best contemporary albums released in 2015 by the Italian newspaper “Il Manifesto”.

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Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music for me, as for most people, represents sort of vital energy. The music in its most basic form is rhythm, and rhythm beats every moment of our existence, just think of the heartbeat. Music wraps every moment of my life, like an amniotic fluid that envelopes, nourishes and filters every experiences.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Not really, as I said before the rhythm already exists in nature, there is nothing fantastic. Any artistic creation is a personal vision of what actually already exists.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

It's complicated to answer because right now I cannot do anything else. I am very attracted to the flight, maybe I could have been a pilot?

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

I'm not worried at all, I'm very glad to see many young people at my concerts and happy when I can see that I have children in the audience too, and this happens often in China. Young Chinese parents are very attentive to the education of their children by offering them every possible opportunity.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

It has always been this way, the role of music has constantly changed over the centuries: the evolution of musical instruments, the diffusion of music in concerts, the construction of great theaters, the invention of the gramophone, of the digital music and today the streaming. Now in our century anything spreads instantly in every part of the world. And as it is true that technology evolves constantly we have to expect improvements in every area, including music. There may be developments that we do not even suspect. Surely very good things.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

The continuous research of an artist draws resources from every parallel sphere, both artistic-creative and technological. It is therefore natural that new routes are constantly explored.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

This makes the difference. In general I listen to so much music and too often I regret listening to absolutely useless music. It happens when an artist stops being creative, when he does not research. It happens when an artist is not actually an artist. Endless research and continuing development are among the most important qualities that a composer might have.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

I don’t think there is anything special to do. The concerts today are different from those of 30 or 40 years ago. The look of the artists has changed, the approach with the public has changed, the informality has taken over, and this, I think, is enough to be fairly attractive to a young audience.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favorite piece (written by you)? How did you start working on it?

In the years of my career as a composer I do not think I have ever been able to identify a precise method adopted every time I start a new creation. In general I am very instinctive and the creative process of my works can be very different. I must say that I am very fond of my work from a few years ago, Miniature 2011, a real compositional marathon. Throughout 2011 I forced myself to write a piano composition a week that I shared on the internet in real time.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

This is exactly what I find particularly stimulating and interesting, what I most like to do. For years my concerts are being "video concerts", I collaborate with visual digital artist Valeria Di Matteo. Today I consider crucial the visual approach to complete the sensory experience. The listener receives more information and their involvement is more intense. As for other artistic disciplines, I can say that I have experimented a bit of everything you are referring to. Giorgio Gristina's drawings have joined in 2011 all the compositions of the Miniature project. I wrote soundtracks and it is an aspect of my work that I love very much. I wrote a lot for the theater and in my production the work for the dramatist and director Rosario Palazzolo is very important. I also perform live with actors, I remember with particular pleasure a show of poetry and music with lyrics by Pablo Neruda, created and directed by actress Rosamaria Spena. More recently I performed in Bratislava together with the actress Andrea Karnasová.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

I can only recommend them opening their heart and listening to music of any kind or age without prejudice.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

Unfortunately this is part of the game, music is a product, it has always been like that. Composing is also a job and 99% of the great masterpieces of every artistic discipline are the result of commissions.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

My listeners are absolutely my most precious resource. I have no expectations because I am already grateful them to be my listeners.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

The closest project is the completion of a recording that my label, the Dutch Zefir Records, is about to complete. It is called Concerto Trilogy, three unpublished concertos for guitar and orchestra, for harpsichord and orchestra and a double concerto for guitar, piano and orchestra. Soon we will record the last concerto for harpsichord and orchestra and within this year a new cd will be released. For the rest, as I said before, I never stop experimenting: endless research and continuing development are among the most important qualities that a composer might have.