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Luigi Russolo

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(1885 – 1947)

Luigi Russolo (April 30, 1885 - February 4, 1947) was an Italian Futurist painter and composer, and the author of the manifestoes The Art of Noises (1913) and Musica Futurista.

Russolo was born at Portogruaro, in the Veneto region, the son of an organist in the local cathedral and director of the Schola Cantorum of Latisana. His brothers were also musicians.

Russolo moved to Milan in 1901, frequenting the Brera Academy, and took part to the restoration of Leonardo’s Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie. In his first works Russolo applied the divisionist techniques to a fantastic-symbolic view of subject related to the city or the industrial society.

An adherent of the Futurism movement, he worked closely with futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

In 1913 he published the treaty The Art of Noises (L’arte dei rumori). He is considered one of the first theorists of electronic music. Russolo even invented and built instruments including: intonarumori (“intoners” or “noise machines”), mostly percussion, to create “noises” for performance. Unfortunately, none of his original intonarumori survived World War II. Luigi’s brother Antonio Russolo also composed futurist music.

In 1941-1942 Russolo started again to paint, with a new style that he defined “classic modernist”.

He died at Cerro di Laveno (province of Varese) in 1947.

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