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Goffredo Petrassi

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Goffredo Petrassi (July 16, 1904 – March 3, 2003) was a leading Italian member of the second generation of modernists. In the English-speaking world, his contemporary Luigi Dallapiccola has been better known. However, in his own country, Petrassi, who took robustly Stravinskian and Hindemithian neo-classicism as the starting point for a long, varied, creative journey that continued into the early 1980s, was just as highly regarded. After Dallapiccola’s death, he became the grand old man of Italian music.

He was born at Zagarolo, Italy. At the age of 15 he began to work at a music shop to supply his family’s financial needs, and became fascinated by music. In 1928, he entered the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome to study organ and composition. In 1934, composer Alfredo Casella conducted Petrassi’s Partita for orchestra at the ISCM festival in Amsterdam.

Later, Petrassi became musical director of the opera house La Fenice, and from 1959 taught composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory and at the Salzburg Mozarteum. Petrassi had many famous students, including Franco Donatoni, Aldo Clementi, Ennio Morricone, Karl Korte, and Richard Teitelbaum. Petrassi died in Rome at the age of 98.

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