Paolo Quilichini

Composer, pianist and harmony teacher




Author of chamber, electronic, orchestral, sacred and scenic music for the theaters, as well as a great deal of music for the piano. In his compositions, he has always attempted to keep a connection with popular music, particularly with traditional Sardinian music, transporting its characteristics into a cultured context and blending them with elements typical of jazz and contemporary music.

After having completed his classic studies in Sassari, he earned a diploma in Piano from Ferrara and in Composition and in Electronic Music from Bologna. He has also studied choral music and choir conducting, organ and organ composition and jazz music.

He broached the sacred genre, recovering the ancient liturgical methods and reviewing them with the styles and languages of today's music. At the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena, he extended his study of music for films under the guidance of Sergio Miceli and Ennio Morricone, for two years running (1993-1994) earning the Diploma of Merits and taking first prize in the course (1993). He won a great many national and international composition prizes (including first prize in the second edition of “Concorso Internazionale di Composizione a favore della Musica Innovativa di Ispirazione Popolare Sarda”, a Special Mention at the first edition of the Concorso Internazionale per la Composizione di Musica per Film, the “Mario Nascimbene” prize, the Noferini prize and the Zucchelli prize, third place at Margola and Varenna); he has also taught complementary harmony and composition analysis and new technologies, music for cinema and music laboratory for cinema and the television.

He won the post he now holds (for examinations and qualifications) as teacher of complementary harmony, theory and technique of harmony at the "Venezze" School of Music of Rovigo.

He has taught in various Schools of Music including: Cagliari, Trento, Verona, Matera, Foggia, Fermo, Pesaro. He held a seminar of music for cinema at the School of Music of Fermo in May 2010 and a music course for cinema in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15.

In the same school he was coordinator of the department of Theory, Analysis, Composition and Conducting and member of the academic council. Finalist in the Listz Competition for Pianists-Composers of Bellagio, 2014 edition. On 27 November 2014 was premiered in the Hall of Portraits in Fermo, within concert Music and Poetry-The Melologue in contemporary music, his composition “ Ti amo”, melologue for narrator, flute and cello. November 26, 2015 was premiered in the Hall of Portraits in Fermo concert Inventions of a voice-Music and Poetry, his composition “Lament for Diotima”, melologue for narrator, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax. March 23, 2017 was premiered in the Church of Santa Cristina in Bologna, in the concert ‘Conoscere la musica, concerti di primavera-Trio Eclettica’ , his composition ‘Chorale, variations and fugue for trio per violin, cello and piano’ The third prize in the edition 2017 of Composition Competition ‘Cengio in Lirica’ with his opera ‘L’ultimo sogno di Calaf’ The second prize in the edition 2017 of Composition Competition ‘A. Manoni” with his opera ‘Le silence éternel’ December 10, 2017 was premiered in the Goethe Institute in Bologna, in the concert ‘Liedabend’, his composition ‘Ich denke deine’ for soprano and piano The member of SIMC (Society of Italian Contemporary Music) The member of giury of International Festival of Uta City (2018)

He collaborates with the journal "Colonne Sonore", specialised in music for cinema, for which he also prepared a monograph on Nino Rota. He is included on DEUMM as a composer.

Conferences include: - “Ipertestualità e Multimedialità nel Teatro” (Hypertext and Multimedia in the theatre) Sala Estense, Ferrara 27 April 1999; - “Colonne Sonore e Musiche di Frontiera-La musica di Ennio Morricone” (Soundtracks and frontier music - the music of Ennio Morricone) Bologna University, Faculty of Musicology (D.A.M.S.), 30 March 1995 (Intervention on music for the cinema of the Maestro); - “Guida all’ascolto:Il Gaspard de la Nuit” (A listener's guide: Gaspard de la Nuit) by Maurice Ravel. Bologna University, Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, 27 January 1995. He has published for Berben, Ut Orpheus, Ars Publica, Map Edizioni.


Pieces for piano including Aqua, Prèlude, Valzer onirico, Archetipi, Nocturne, Frammenti da un Album. [Chamber music including Ost for string quartet (2011 revised 2017) Golden Forest Songs for Shakuhachi flute, violin, cello and piano (2010) Pantomima for oboe and piano (1990)] Inno a Santa Clelia Barbieri, on text by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, for choir and organ, official hymn of the celebrations (1993) Derrière ton voile (on the text of Song of Songs) for mezzo-soprano, english horn and organ (1994) La voce della pioggia for tenor, string quartet and piano (1997) Tre ritratti for flute and guitar (1999) Variazioni su un’antica ninna-nanna for Celtic harp (2008) Gioghende for soprano, guitar, string orchestra and percussion on popular Sardinian texts (2001) Animas for two tenors, two basses, two bassoons, three horns, four cellos and percussion on sacred texts of popular Sardinian tradition (2002). Rapsodia Eolica for piano and orchestra (2004). Electronic music, scenic music for theatre, including Albatross (1999), Il potere delle lune (2000) Music for radio drama Amburgo 1944 (1990) Stabat Mater 2010 for soprano, contralto and string orchestra [no. 9 and 10] (2009) Fairyland (on E.A.Poe texts) for soprano, percussion and string orchestra (2015) Chorale, variations and fugue for trio, violin, cello and piano (2015) La sposa bambina, opera (2016) Il sogno di Calaf, opera (2017)

[Songs, arrangements and orchestrations for different genres.] (from a catalogue of more than 190 compositions)



What does music mean to you personally?

Music is something indefinable that has accompanied me since I was born. At home there was a lot of classical music and I spent my days in the company of a record player and a stack of discs higher than me. In addition to the most beloved authors like Mozart I was literally fascinated and kidnapped by the records of the Fiabe Sonore. As if by magic, music dragged me into an enchanted world that was only mine and the extraordinary creatures that accompanied me. Music is this: magic. Not only sounds and emotions but the authentic ability to create wonderful and infinite universes, always new..

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Partly. I believe that fantasy certainly plays a very important role. The extraordinary ability to create something in your mind that does not exist and then make it alive in the world where we live in is certainly a fundamental starting point. But imagination must follow an almost "industrial" path. It needs to be tamed, to be correct, to be improved as much as possible. In many cases, fantasy flows freely and generates a tide of ideas that are always new and different from each other and it is difficult to follow one to the end and understand if it is precisely what interests us or has an authentic artistic value. In any case a continuous work, study, method and the knowledge of techniques and repertoire is absolutely fundamental.

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

My father wanted to make me a doctor but I faint at the sight of blood ... I have many interests including writing stories (surreal stories, science fiction and in some cases horror ...). Going back in time I remember that in the years of elementary school I often wrote that I would have liked to be an astronaut. But at the end also the musician who wanders in the galaxies of melodies and harmonies remembers an astronaut aboard his spaceship ...

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

I'm worried about the split between audience and new music. Too distant, too complex sometimes. This creates a distance between art and young people who, in my opinion, no longer recognize themselves in what they hear, moving away from other genres and other authors. Perhaps we should rethink the compositional approach with a more attentive, profound and respectful approach towards those who preceded us and who is still loved and universally known, listened to and performed and we should also not forget the general public and the younger audience in particular. It is a great responsibility to write music that will then be listened to and which will inevitably produce emotions. The quality of these emotions is decisive.

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?

Listening to a lot of music and having attended the academic environments with different roles, not least that of teacher, I am increasingly convinced of the great importance of music in our society. Music should continue to play a very important role in the formation of the young, like all other humanistic and scientific disciplines. Music as well as forming the character of a person has the great ability to generate a strong sense of balance, discipline and improvement of mood (if you practice a lot Mozart ...;)), healthy approach to relationships with others exactly as it happens with deep meditation ... I hope for a growing presence of music at all levels and in environments not only related to the school environment and to those of the concert halls.

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

The musician and, in this case the composer, is fundamentally creative. The performer like the writer, creates, or better recreates, what was the thought of someone who lived in many cases centuries before him. Thanks to creation and "re-creation", music lives in an eternal dimension. Creativity is fundamental for me. Certainly applied to the musical composition but also, and with similar results, also in every aspect of life.

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

I think I would go back to the past. The most beloved composers, the most performed music in the world is not, except for the rare cases of pop musicians and famous composers of soundtracks, the contemporary one understood as innovative music. Who fill the rooms? Who sells more at the box office? I can not think in sterile commercial terms. Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Rossini and among the highest, Ennio Morricone. Why? Because it moves and it excites us. Without sterile cerebralism it goes directly where we expect it to go and awakens our most authentic emotions. Young people need to get excited. But emotions must be true, healthy, recognizable and shareable. I think that first I would get excited and then share emotions.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

I have a particular approach to composition: I try to write something that I would like to hear. I try to imagine a music that makes my body and soul vibrate at deep, inexplicable and unattainable levels. Difficult to reach these levels but I normally try to be the first to get excited. My favorite song ... well I still have to write it! Seriously I love my first songs, perhaps very naive, but for this very reason I think very important because not contaminated by factors external to music as the career and the desire for a continuous search for confirmation. Pantomime is part of these early works but also written Valzer when I was still a romantic twelve year old in love ... and certainly what I'm concluding these days ... When I start writing often I start from an idea that is not necessarily musical. It may simply be the need to express something that is particularly important to me. Sometimes I start from a story and I try to tell something. Sometimes, writing at a table, I organize a logical project that then manifests itself with a musical composition. When I was still a student very often I sat at the piano and, in a sort of trance, I improvised letting myself go to the right moment. Different ways, which often interpenetrate each other ...

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

To study. Study a lot. Live in the library, read any score and listen to music from every era. And, the most important thing, Mozart. Play it, listen to it, study its scores deeply. When I was studying composition I dedicated part of the day, every day. to the study of a Mozart composition starting from K1 up to K 626. I believe that deep knowledge of Mozart is fundamental.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Always. I constantly wonder what the public reaction might be. How much I work on a new composition I always think of the audience that could listen to it. But I do not just imagine a kind of audience like a living room. I imagine a universal audience in a universal auditorium. What could please him and what not. For me it is essential to think of a composition without imagining it to a possible audience that is that of a concert hall, that of a living room or even more extensive than the international stage. I always ask myself the problem of understanding if what I write may be too complicated. We basically need to reach our fellow humans on the planet and communication is very important. If what we convey with music is incomprehensible, annoying, far from them then we have failed. I think the time of the music that has distanced is over, that must be EXPLAINED to be understood. Mozart continues to be universal, and will be so as long as our world exists. I can not imagine an audience needing an explanation of what they are hearing. It does not make sense. If so, then surely something did not work. Mozart is not explained. Mozart arrives directly where he has to arrive. I often play my compositions in front of a select audience of friends and, at the end of the concert, ask to write their impressions. Only when I read their impressions do I understand if my work has arrived at its destination correctly.

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

In this period I have completed the composition of a short work on an original booklet concerning a current and very delicate subject. It is an opera with two female characters (mother and daughter) and a third that has a narrative function. On stage a small ensemble of sixteen instruments that participates in the action identifying with the alternation of two opposing strings quartets, once the mother, another the daughter.The most difficult part of this work, after the approach to the booklet and composition is the practical aspect of putting it on stage and finding someone who believes in this work. At the same time I'm carrying out two important projects for gender and different character, now being concluded, plus other compositions. I can only say that in one case it is a fairy tale ... and then I hope to be able to make you listen soon. If I experiment? I do not know, I think only to write following a thought that will have to bring me to the end of the job. And trying to excite me as I hope will be able to excite those who will listen to the work. The problem, unfortunately, is always that of time and reaction. A work that took more than a year's work will be completed within a period of twenty to thirty minutes. At this time everything thought, written, canceled, reworked, changed must work in a certain way. And it must be the right way. I do not think we can talk about experimentation. The composer should be sure what he proposes and what the audience would like to hear. Then obviously many other factors intervene, such as the subjective experience of the composer and of the creative act. How many great works in the first performance were whistled. This too must be somehow estimated. Surely in many cases the "experimentation" factor has played a very important part. But if we talk about experimentation in the real sense of research and innovation, also intended as a language and avant-garde writing modality, then I would say that in these last works I seek a mediation between a type of modern writing and a strong link with a clear balance between architecture and clarity in the musical elements used. Without ever losing sight of the importance of the motivic element inserted in a recognizable and important harmonic context.