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Casella, Alfredo

piano conductor italian composer

outstanding Italian composer and teacher; b. Turin, July 25, 1883; d. Rome, March 5, 1947. He began to play the piano at the age of four and received his early instruction from his mother. In 1896 he went to Paris, and studied with Diémer and Fauré at the Cons. He won the premier prix in piano in 1899. He made concert tours as a pianist in Europe, and appeared as a guest conductor with European orchs. He taught piano classes at the Paris Cons, from 1912 to 1915. Returning to Rome, he was appointed a prof, of piano at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. In 1917 he founded the Società Nazionale di Musica (later the Società Italiana di Musica Moderna; from 1923 the Corporazione delle Musiche Nuove, Italian section of the ISCM). On Oct. 28, 1921, Casella made his American debut with the Philadelphia Orch. in the triple capacity of composer, conductor, and piano soloist; he also appeared as a guest conductor in Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Los Angeles; was conductor of the Boston Pops from 1927 to 1929, introducing a number of modern works, but failing to please the public. In 1928 he was awarded the first prize of $3, 000 from the Musical Fund Soc. in Philadelphia; in 1934 he won the Coolidge Prize. In 1938 he returned to Italy. Apart from his activities as pianist, conductor, teacher, and composer, Casella was a prolific writer on music, and contributed numerous articles to various publications in Italy, France, Russia, Germany, and America; he possessed an enlightened cosmopolitan mind, which enabled him to penetrate the musical cultures of various nations; at the same time, he steadfastly proclaimed his adherence to the ideals of Italian art. In his music, he applied modernistic techniques to earlier forms; his style may be termed neo-Classical, but in his early years he cultivated extreme modernism.

Casey, Al(bert Aloysius) [next] [back] Case, Steve - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Steve Case, Social and Economic Impact

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