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Bussotti, Sylvano

director artistic age composer

Bussotti, Sylvano, important Italian composer, opera director, and stage designer; b. Florence, Oct. 1, 1931. He began violin lessons at a very early age and also took up painting while still a youth. At the age of 9, he entered the Florence Cons., where he was a student in harmony and counterpoint of Roberto Lupi and in piano of Dallapiccola. His training there was soon interrupted by World War II. After the War, he pursued composition study on his own (1949–56) before continuing his training in Paris with Max Deutsch (1956–58). He also attended courses in new music at Darmstadt (summers, 1958-61). In 1964-65 he was active in the U.S. on a Rockefeller Foundation grant. In 1972 he studied in Berlin under the auspices of the Deutscher Akademis-cher Austauschdienst. He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in L’Aquila (1971–74), and then served as artistic director of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice (1975). He was artistic consultant to the Puccini Festival in Torre delLago (1979–81), and later its artistic director. From 1980 he taught at the Fiesole School of Music. He publ. I miei teatri: Diario segreto, diario pubblico, alcuni saggi (Palermo, 1981). Bussotti’s early interest in painting continued later in life; his visual works have been exhibited around the globe. As a composer, he found his exploration of serialism, indeterminacy, and other modern means of expression too restrictive. He thus charted a revolutionary course which led him to embrace an anarchistic aestheticism. In 1976 he established his own production company, “Bussottioperaballet,” which, from 1984 to 1992, operated asa festival in Genazzano. From his Lorenzaccio (1972), much of Bussotti’s energies have gone into operas, both his own (which often draw heavily upon earlier compositions) and the standard repertory, which he has explored as a director and stage designer in most luxurious terms. He has also continued to create films and to write poetry, and has elevated himself to Italian celebrity status through his flamboyant direction of the musical section of the Venice Biennale, of which his last, highly controversial term was 1991.

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