Salvatore Sciarrino (Palermo, 1947) likes to boast that he was born free and not in a school of music. Self-taught, he began to compose when he was twelve. His first public concert was given in 1962. But Sciarrino considers what he wrote before 1966 as immature works of apprenticeship, for it is then that his personal style came to the fore. There is something truly special about this music: it induces a different way of listening, projecting a thrilling awareness of reality and of the self. And after forty years his huge catalogue of compositions is still in a phase of astonishing creative development.
After completing his schooling and a few years of university in his home town, he moved first to Rome in 1969 and then to Milan in 1977. Since 1983 he was been living in Umbria. He published for Ricordi from 1969 to 2004. From the very next year exclusive rights passed to Rai Trade.
His discography is particularly large: around 80 CDs, issued by the major international labels, have been acclaimed and often awarded prizes. As well as the librettos of his own works of music theatre, Sciarrino has written many articles, essays and texts of various kinds; some have been chosen and collected in Carte da suono (Cidim – Novecento, 2001). Also important is his interdisciplinary book on musical form: Le figure della musica, da Beethoven a oggi (Ricordi, 1998).
He has taught at the conservatories of Milan (1974-83), Perugia (1983-87) and Florence (1987-96).
He has also held courses of specialization and master classes: particularly worth mentioning are those of Città di Castello from 1979 to 2000. Between 1978 and 1980 he was artistic director of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna. An Academician of Santa Cecilia (Rome), Academician of the Fine Arts of Bavaria and Academician of the Arts (Berlin), he has won numerous prizes, the most recent ones being the Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003) and the prestigious Premio Internazionale Feltrinelli (2003). He is also the first winner of the new Musikpreis Salzburg (2006).
La Malinconia, for violin and viola
There is a second element that we immediately notice: the incredible consistency and at the same time the extraordinary virtuosity with which Salvatore Sciarrino concentrates on silence. It is necessary for us to lend our ears to his music, we must listen attentively to it, indeed we must immerse ourselves in listening – and that means: becoming silent ourselves and turning our attention to the music. It hasn’t been written for quick consumption or conceived as a well deserved rest after work.