Maria Rago

Composer and pianist




Maria Rago is an Italian pianist and composer. She studied piano with Lea Cumbo at the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali V.Bellini di Caltanissetta (Italy) where she graduated.She continued her studies with Eliodoro Sollima and Bruno Canino. Her composition studies came at the Conservatoire National Superieur de musique et de danse de Lyon (France).

She lives in Chicago (Usa). Her works have been performed in festivals and theaters throughout Europe and USA, including:

Teatro Massimo Bellini,Catania (Italy) The Living Theatre,New York Festival di Spoleto (Italy) Theatre du Rond Point des Champs Elysees,Paris (France) Theatre Les Ateliers, Lyon (France) Kleiner Konzertsaal-Gasteig,Munich (Germany) Selcuk Ephesus Festival (Turkey) St.Petersburg International New Music Festival”reMusik”,Russia.

Recently she won,with the American-Brazilian director Rafael Fernanz,the award for Best video “Voice surrounding the city” and Best music at Christian Film Festival 2018 (Newport News, USA) and the award for Best Music at The American Tracks Music Award International Contest 2018 (Los Angeles, USA).



What does music mean to you personally?

It’s a window on the world and I look through this with curious eyes to discover hidden things.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

In part music uses imagination, but also a way to describe the reality with a language.different from words.

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

I don't know...when music chooses you this demands all the attention. But maybe a filmmaker.

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

I think music is a need born with man,it's part of life, it's everywhere.It is also true that not all of the new generations listen to classical music, that's why musicians have to perform classical music in places that are not necessarily theaters,to intrigue and excite young people, to approach them and guide them to listening with different strategies and in different places.

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

The role of music is more than ever important.This has an incredible power of communication and is one of the answers to the many contradictions of this society. Of course the musical language has changed because it follows the transformations linked to modern time;this is the ability of music to narrate the time in which it lives and project it into the future.

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

I think we have to listen more. Creativity is for me a mysterious process that can not be fully explained.There is also an irrational component that escapes control,but all amalgamated with discipline. ... it's like a skilled thief,always lurking,who steals in the sunlight day but no one sees it.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Definitely as musicians we need attract and guide the younger generation.For example, perform classical music by reading pages of modern literature, listen more classical music at school, perform classic music not only in theaters,but also in public areas, airports, shopping center,hospital and why not on airplanes and trains.Seems crazy but at that point classical music would become part of everyday life,like eating or dressing!

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it? this I lose the sense of the contingent time to follow the tempo of the notes,their beat, their breath,their freedom.

My favorite? It's the one I have yet to write and ...the first one I wrote on the train for the fairy tale “The Selfish Giant” of Oscar Wilde.

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

Listen to the Four Seasons of Vivaldi and identify the voice of the Nature and its elements.Find out which story is set between the notes and be curious to enter the mystery of an unknown world.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Not always but sometimes I try to imagine their faces, their eyes and go on tiptoes in their lives.

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

I’m writing for a movie. I like experiment in my project,I'm fascinated by the use of instruments in a way that is not only classic.