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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » B » Berio, Luciano



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Luciano Berio (10/24/1925 - 5/27/2003)

The Italian composer Luciano Berio was born in Oneglia into a musical family. His father and grandfather were organists and composers and he studied music with them both. Although he developed an interest in the piano, the idea of any possible career as a pianist was ended by an injury to his hand sustained during military service in the army, for which he had enrolled in 1944. From 1946 to 1951 he was a student at the Milan Conservatory where he studied counterpoint with Giulio Cesare Paribeni, composition with Giorgio Ghedini, and conducting with Antonino Votto and Carlo Maria Giulini. In addition he worked as an accompanist and subsequently as a conductor in several provincial opera houses. In 1950 he met and married the singer Cathy Berberian, whose vocal virtuosity was to inspire several of his early works.

In 1952 Berio was awarded a Koussevitzky Foundation Scholarship that enabled him to study serialism with Dallapiccola at Tanglewood. While in the USA he also attended the first American concert of electronic music, given in New York by Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky. Between 1953 and 1960 Berio worked for the Italian Broadcasting Corporation (RAI) in Milan. Here in 1955 he established an electronic music studio with Bruno Maderna, acting as its director until 1959. In addition he and Maderna also founded a journal, Incontri Musicali, and a series of concerts devoted to contemporary music, both of which Berio directed between 1956 and 1959.

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