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Luigi Nono

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Venezia, Italy (1924 – 1990)

Luigi Nono (29 January 1924 – 8 May 1990) was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music. He remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.

Born in Venice, Italy, Nono was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter. Nono began music lessons with Gian Francesco Malipiero in 1941 at the Venice Conservatory where he acquired knowledge of the Renaissance madrigal tradition, amongst other styles. After graduating with a degree in law from the University of Padua, he was given encouragement in composition by Bruno Maderna.

In 1950, he attended the “Ferienkurse für neue Musik” in Darmstadt, where he met composers such as Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Works from this first period include: Polifonica-Monodica-Ritmica (1951), Epitaffio per Federico García Lorca (1952-1953), La victoire de Guernica (1954) and Liebeslied (1954). He increasingly rejected the analytical approach of serialism, as evidenced by the following works: Incontri (1955), Il canto sospeso, (1955-1956), et Cori di Didone (1958).

He married Arnold Schönberg’s daughter Nuria in 1955.

Nono was committed to socialism. He joined the Communist party in 1952. His music was also a revolt against bourgeois culture. As such, he avoided most normal concert genres in favor of opera and electronic music, and sought to bring music to factories. He made frequent recourse to political texts in his work.

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