Bruno Maderna (21 April 1920 – 13 November 1973) was an Italian conductor and composer. For the last ten years of his life he lived in Germany and eventually became a citizen of that country.


Maderna was born in Venice. At the age of four he was taught violin in Chioggia, and his grandfather recognised the child's brilliance. He was known in Italy and abroad as "Brunetto" (Italian for Little Bruno).[1]

He continued his studies in Milan (1935), Venice (1939) and in Rome (1940), where he finally took his degree in composition and musicology at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. At Rome he was instructed by Alessandro Bustini, but he also took a course of instruction from Antonio Guarnieri in Siena in 1941, and he then studied composition with Gian Francesco Malipiero in Venice in 1942/43.[2]

During World War II he was drafted into the army, but soon after he voluntarily joined the antifascist Partisan Resistance.[3] After the War, 1947–1950, he taught composition at the Venice Conservatory at the invitation of Malipiero. In those years he taught a large class which included Luigi Nono, who had previously studied law.[4]

In 1948 (through Malipiero[5]) he met Hermann Scherchen, and Maderna and Luigi Nono both attended a course of instruction with him at Venice.[6]Scherchen set Maderna'sDIRECTION towards dodecaphonic method.[7] He was invited to conduct at the (1951) Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musikin Darmstadt, where he took a founding initiative in the Internationales Kranichsteiner Kammer-Ensemble, a chamber-group which was newly re-convened every year as an ad-hoc-Ensemble.[8] Here he met (among others) BoulezMessiaenStockhausenCagePousseur and the most important performers of theNeue Musik, who inspired him to compose new pieces.

Maderna was a versatile conductor, capable of switching between different musical styles. HeDIRECTED Purcell's Dido and AeneasWagner's Parsifal, many works by Debussy and Ravel, classical and romantic symphonies. Together with Luciano Berio, he founded the Studio di fonologia musicale di Radio Milano in 1954:[9] they also organized the Incontri Musicali ('Musical Encounters') music review[10] and concert series.[citation needed]

In 1957/58 he taught dodecaphonic technique at the Milan Conservatory: in this period he also taught composition seminars at the Dartington International Summer School. From 1967 to 1970 he taught conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum and also at the Rotterdam Conservatory. In 1963 he relocated to Darmstadt in the then West Germany and afterward became a German citizen.[11][12]

He died in 1973 at Darmstadt, when he was about to rehearse Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.[citation needed], and during rehearsals for his own opera, Satyricon.[13]Pierre Boulez wrote his Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna the following year, Luciano Berio wrote Calmo for voice and orchestra in homage to his friend, and Earle Brown dedicated his work Centering to the memory of Bruno Maderna, which ends with a quotation from Maderna's First Oboe Concerto.[citation needed]His notable students include Norma Beecroft and Rocco Di Pietro.


Among the early works is the Concerto per due pianoforti e strumenti (1947–48), influenced by the music of Bartók, which has a special approach towards difficult sonorities. In 1948 he composed his first serial work, the Tre liriche greche.[14] The Quartetto per archi in due tempi (of 1955) is an even more intensively serial piece.[15]

The flautist Severino Gazzelloni inspired Maderna during the Darmstadt experience.[citation needed] In 1961 he composed Honeyreves for flute and piano: this piece was built on complex flute melodies and on unusual piano sound effects (clusters, playing on the strings, etc.). In the Studio di Fonologia Musicale, with the help of sound technician Marino Zuccheri, he wrote some electroacoustic works: Musica su due dimensioni (Music in two dimensions, 1952, rev. 1957 and 1963) for flute and magnetic tape, Notturno (1956) and Continuo (1958) both for magnetic tape.

In 1962/63 Maderna wrote his first oboe concerto (Concerto for Oboe and Chamber Ensemble). In 1967 he wrote his second oboe concerto, and in 1973 his third.

One of his works is Quadrivium for four percussionists and four orchestral groups (played for the first time at the Royan Festival in 1969). A recording of this work, coupled with the composer's Aura and Biogramma, was made by the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra under Giuseppe Sinopoli in 1979 and issued by Deutsche Grammophon.[16] Among various other compositions are an electro-acoustic divertimento Le Rire (1964), a "work in progress" calledHyperion, and an opera SatyriconAusstrahlung for female voice, flute, oboe and pre-recorded tape, based on annonymous Persian poetry was commissioned by the Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of Arts and premiered there in 1971 with Maderna conducting the Hague Residence Orchestra and Cathy Berberian, Koos Verheul and Lothar Faber soloists.

Versatile as Maderna was, he also produced scores for five Italian movies released between 1946 and 1968. The most famous of these being the revolutionary soundtrack for La morte ha fatto l'uovo (Death Laid an Egg), a 1968 psychedelic thriller by Giulio Questi.[citation needed]

In 1971 Maderna wrote "Pièce pour Ivry", for solo violin, an aleatory work dedicated to Ivry Gitlis. This was Maderna's last composition, making use of pre-written material prepared for his "Juilliard Serenade", composed some years before.

Selected works (as a conductor)Edit

A selection from his recordings, but actually quite comprehensive.

  • Luna AlcalayUna strofa di Dante (Radio Sinfonie Orchester Wien; ORF Chor; AKM Orf; 1967)
  • Béla BartókPiano Concerto No. 1 (Alfred Brendel; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Stradivarius; 1973)
  • Alban BergOrchesterlieder nach Ansichtskartentexten von Peter Altenberg, Op. 4 (Halina LukomskaConcertgebouw Orchestra; RCO Live; 1968)
  • Alban Berg: Drei Orchesterstücke, Op. 6 (Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks; Arkadia, 1969)
  • Alban Berg: Wozzeck (Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper; Orchester der Hamburgischen Staatsoper; Toni Blankenheim, Richard Cassilly, Peter Haage, Gerhard Unger; Art Haus Musik, 1970)
  • Alban Berg: Lulu (Orchestra della RAI di Roma; Ilona Steingruber, Eugenia Zareska, Luisa Ribacchi, Maria Teresa, Massa Ferrero; Live 1959; Stradivarius, 1959)
  • Alban Berg: Lulu Suite (Mary Lindsay, soprano; Süddeutsches Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester; Arkadia, 1969)
  • Konrad BoehmerPosition (WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, BVHaast, 1963)
  • Pierre BoulezLe Marteau Sans Maître (Carla Henius, alto; Severino Gazzelloni, flute; Dino Asciolla, viola; Leonida Torrebruno, percussion. Stradivarius, 1961)
  • Pierre Boulez: Figures, Doubles, Prismes (Residentie Orkest, Stradivarius, 1968)
  • Pierre Boulez: Polyphonie X (OrchestraDELLE RAI, Stradivarius, 1953)
  • Earle BrownAvailable Forms I on Panorama della musica nuova (RCA MLDS 61005, 1964)
  • Åke Hermanson: In Nuce, Op. 7[full citation needed]
  • Günter Kahowez: Plejaden No. 2 (Radio Sinfonie Orchester Wien; AKM Orf; 1966)
  • Włodzimierz KotońskiCanto (Internationales Kranichsteiner Kammerensemble; Wergo, ? )
  • György LigetiAventures/Nouvelles Aventures (Internationales Kammerensemble Darmstadt, Wergo, 1968)
  • Witold LutosławskiJeux Vénitiens (Concertgebouworkest, RCO Live, 1967)
  • Gustav MahlerSymphonie No. 7 (Wiener Symphoniker, Hunt, 1967)
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphonie No. 9 (BBC Symph. Orch., BBC, 1970)
  • Gian Francesco MalipieroSinfonia della Zodiaco (Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Torino; Ricordi, ? )
  • Felix Mendelssohn-BartholdySymphonie No. 3 (Schottische) (Concertgebouworkest, RCO Live, 1965)
  • Claudio MonteverdiL'Orfeo (Oralia Dominguez, mezzosoprano; Barry McDaniel, baritone; Koor van de Nederlandse Opera; Utrechts Symfonieorkest.Holland Festival, 1966)
  • MozartSymphonie No. 18, KV 130 (Orchestra della RAI di Milano, Stradivarius, ? )
  • Bo NilssonSzene No. 3, 1961 (Internationales Kranichsteiner Kammerensemble, Wergo)
  • Luigi NonoIl Canto Sospeso (Chor und Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks, Stradivarius, 1960)
  • Krzysztof PendereckiTren Ofiarom Hirozimy (Orchestra della RAI di Roma; Stradivarius, 1963)
  • Goffredo PetrassiNoche Oscura (Chor und Orchester des Hessischen Rundfunks; Stradivarius, 1952)
  • Henri PousseurRimes pour différentes sources sonores [for ensemble and pre-recorded sound on magnetic tape] on Panorama della musica nuova RCA MLDS 61005, 1964
  • Maurice RavelL'Heure Espagnole (Suzanne Danco; Michel Hamel; John Cameron; André Vessières; Jean Giraudeau; BBC Symphony Orchestra. Stradivarius, 1960)
  • Arnold SchoenbergVerklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Wiener Symphoniker, Arkadia, 1969)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 (Sinfonie Orchester des Südwestfunks, Arkadia, 1960)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: 5 Orchesterstücke, Op. 16 (Orchestra della RAI di Torino, Stradivarius, ? )
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Serenade, Op. 24/Suite, Op. 29 (Melos Ensemble of London, Decca, 1962)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Variations for Orchestra, Op.31 (Sinfonie Orchester des Westdeutschen Rundfunks, Arkadia, 1961)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Violin Concerto, Op. 36 (Christiane Edinger, Sinfonie Orchester des Saarlandischen Rundfunks, Arkadia, 1971)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38 (Sinfonie Orchester des Saarlandischen Rundfunks, Arkadia, 1970)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Piano Concerto, Op. 42 (Alfred Brendel, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Stradivarius, 1973)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: Genesis, Op. 44 (Coro e Orchestra della RAI di Roma, Stradivarius, 1960)
  • Arnold Schoenberg: A Survivor From Warsaw, Op. 46 (Goren Kubitzki, Orchestra della RAI di Torino, Stradivarius, ? )
  • Robert Schollum (de)Symphonie No. 4, Op. 74 (Radio Sinfonie Orchester Wien, AKM Orf, 1966/7)
  • Karlheinz StockhausenGruppen für drei Orchester (Sinfonie Orchester des Westdeutschen Rundfunks, with Stockhausen and Michael Gielen; Deutsche Grammophon, 1968)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Kontra-Punkte on Panorama della musica nuova (RCA MLDS 61005, 1964)
  • Igor StravinskyLe Sacre du Printemps (Orchestra della RAI di Milano, Stradivarius, ? )
  • Edgard VarèseDéserts (Concertgebouworkest, RCO Live, 1968)
  • Edgard Varèse: Ionisation (Concertgebouworkest, RCO Live, 1966)
  • Anton WebernSechs Stücke für Orchester, Op. 6 (OrchestreDELLE RAI di Torino, Stradivarius, 1961)
  • Anton Webern: Vier Lieder, Op. 13 (Halina Lukomska, Concertgebouw Orkest, RCO Live, 1968)
  • Anton Webern: Sechs Lieder, Op. 14 (Dorothy Dorow, Melos Ensemble, Stradivarius, 1961)
  • Anton Webern: Concerto, Op. 24 (Melos Ensemble, Stradivarius, 1961)

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