Stefano Motta





I was born in PIacenza, Italy, in 1976, the last of 6 sons. My big family has a great connection with the music world even if nobody of us is a professional musician. Our father loved to play guitar and left us a great culture of popular music. I started playing guitar at 12, self learning, and then I played in some small rock bands until I was 20, since I started studying classical guitar with Massimo Visalli, member of the guitar quartet Exsacorde. At the same time, I independently studied harmony, counterpoint and composition techniques and after a few years I began to participate in composition competitions, to evaluate my skills. In 2001 I graduated in mechanical engineering, with a thesis on guitar strings, and started working as an engineer, without stopping music activities. In the meantime I wrote music for small documentaries and small theater shows, and directed some small local choirs, and wrote small compositions for them. In 2009 I won 2nd prize (first not assigned) at Brescia Contemporary Guitar international composition competition with the piece Quetzacoatl, published by Berben editions. Since 2016 I have been playing as second guitarist in the orchestra Luigi Cremona of Agazzano (Piacenza, Italy), and I never stop writing music



What does music mean to you personally?

Besides love, music is the engine of my life. Even if today this is not my main activity, everyday she is present in my life. Music helped me when I had difficulties, showing me the way to go ahead. Music is my way to meet people, through music I get to know people and create friendships.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Fantasy has a main role in music, but rationality is necessary to give an intelligible structure to what fantasy creates. It is a sort of alchemy between fantasy and rationality that an author needs to manage every time he/she writes a composition. Because it is this alchemy that gives reflections in the hearts and in the minds of people who listen to the music.

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

I can’t consider myself as a professional musician, because I can say it’s my main activity only in my mind, not in fact. I consider myself an amateur musician with a professional approach, being a full time composer is still a dream that I am working on. I am an engineer, but I can’t live without music. Just to make a sample, when I graduated I made a thesis on a treatment for guitar strings. At the moment I need to reverse your question, because the answer is already alive: I am an engineer. But my deepest desire is to become a full time composer.

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

Not totally. I know a lot of young people who love classical music and who are fascinated by classical musicians. What the new classical music needs is to create new spaces and new ways to aggregate people.

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?

In general there have been many changes in the musical universe. The first one is the way of listening to music and buying musical products. In the last few years we have seen a great growth of digital platforms. This creates more accessibility for minor artists, but also more difficulties to maintain a certain audience. Everyday is a new challenge: performers need to find new ways to read classics and to present classics to their audience, to attract their audience; and composers have to present something that sounds as really new, never listened, comparing themselves with thousands of other subjects.

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

Yes, creativity is the main point. A new composition needs a great effort of creativity to be defined and intended as original.

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

Yes, some of us are already doing this. I think that social media can have a big role in this issue. The great way to catch the attention of younger generations is to live with them to understand them. There is a sort of snobbery of the older generations towards the musical tastes of the new generations, which however need to be overcome. We need to understand their music to know their language, and the way our contents can arrive to them. For younger people, currently, social media are one of the main ways to get connected and everything passes through them: music, literature, photography, and so on. Our challenge is not to use it like them, because the risk is to appear like old men playing at being children. We need to find a way to don’t result as cringe for them, if we are truly the wise ones we must allow them to recognize it. If we want them to understand our music and ensure that they don't categorize it as old man stuff, we need to be able to involve them and have a lot of patience.

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

My creative process is made of three phases: research, first writing and final correction. On the research phase I search every kind of material can stimulate my fantasy: sounds, images, stories, readings, historical facts relative to the main subject of the composition. Then I take my guitar and I start to improvise some tunes hidden somewhere in my mind, trying to fix those more appropriate, by writing on a pentagram or by recording. Once I think the first material is enough I pass to the second phase. If I am writing for guitar solo, my main instrument, I start writing by hand on a pentagram, trying to give the composition a structure and playing many times to understand if the logical sequence is good and immediate for the listening. If I am writing for more instruments I prefer to write by computer, just to avoid major copying work, and also to have a sort of preview of listening to what I am writing. In all cases listening is an important part, because not all the notes that I write following my theoretical knowledge encounter what my ears or the ears of a listener would like to hear. Once I defined the structure of a piece, and this is the third phase, I play it, I record it and I listen to many times trying to refine as more as possible, until I am satisfied, or better as sometimes happens, my time has ended. Danza lenta per una foglia che cade is one of my favorite pieces, that’s why I proposed it to Moving Classics. One day I saw many leaves falling on a garden and I imagined myself to be one of them. I tried to see their movements and tell a story about it. This composition was written for a guitar, translating it for the piano gave me the chance to complete the harmony and make the story of an autumnal leaf more full of colors!

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

Classical music is profound. She makes know yourself. It’s not and old people stuff, it’s a way to intend the music, that can open your mind much more than you imagine.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

The audience guides my choices every time I write a composition. My effort everyday is to write something that can be understood by everyone: those who love music, those who hate it, those who know it and those who don’t know anything.

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

I am realizing a little suite of pieces for solo guitar and I have started recording with an old time friend, it will be ready in the first months of 2024. It’s an important project for me, because this music will be dedicated to my little city. During my projects, especially when I do recordings, I take time to experiment. When I finish a recording nothing matches to what I have written before, because suggestions and experimentations and new ideas comes during the way.