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Bruno Maderna (21 April 1920 – 13 November 1973) was an Italian conductor and composer.


Maderna was born in Venicemarker. At the age of four he was taught violin in Chioggiamarker, and his grandfather recognized the child's brilliance. So began his career as a child prodigy. He was known in Italy and abroad as "Brunetto" (Italian for Little Bruno).

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 Sienamarker in 1941, and he then studied composition with Gian Francesco Malipiero in Venice in 1942-43.

During World War II he joined the army, the Partisan Resistance. 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.

In 1948 (through Malipiero) he met Hermann Scherchen, and Maderna and Luigi Nono both attended a course of instruction with him at Venice. Scherchen set Maderna's direction towards dodecaphonic method. He was invited to conduct at the (1951) Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in 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. Here he met (among others) Boulez, Messiaen, Stockhausen, Cage, Pousseur and the most important performers of the neue Musik, who inspired him to compose new pieces.

Maderna was a versatile director, capable of switching between different musical styles. He directed Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Wagner's Parsifal, many works by Debussy and Ravel, classical and romantic symphonies. Together with Luciano Berio, he founded the Studio di Fonologia Musicale of the RAImarker (Radiotelevisione Italianamarker) in 1955: they also organized the Incontri Musicali ('Musical Encounters') music review and concert series.

In 1957-58 he taught dodecaphonic technique at the Milan Conservatory: in this period he also taught composition seminars at the Dartingtonmarker's Summer School of Music (UK). From 1967 to 1970 he taught conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteummarker and also at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He become established at Darmstadt in 1963.

He died in 1973 at Darmstadtmarker, when he was about to rehearse Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Pierre Boulez wrote his Rituel in Memoriam Bruno Maderna the following year and Luciano Berio wrote "Calmo" for voice and orchestra in homage to his friend. His notable students include Rocco Di Pietro.


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

The flautist Severino Gazzelloni inspired Maderna during the Darmstadtmarker experience. 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 on two dimensions, 1958) 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. Among various other compositions are an electro-acoustic divertimento Le Rire (1964), a "work in progress" called Hyperion, and an opera Satyricon.

Maderna was versatile: he also produced scores for five Italian movies released between 1946 and 1968.


  1. Dalmonte 2001.
  2. The thread of information in this article appears to be derived from the article in Italian Wikipedia.
  3. Dalmonte 2001 (New Grove).
  4. IRCAM (Centre Pompidou) Biographie of Maderna (external link): Short Biography in Madeleine Shapiro's Modernworks website (external links).
  5. Stated in the Bach-cantatas Biography (external link).
  6. Ircam Biographie of Luigi Nono (External links).
  7. Sitsky 2002, 329.
  8. Ircam Biographie of Luigi Nono (external links).
  9. Britannica Online Encyclopedia, see [1]: Sitsky 2002, at p. 329: Ircam Biographie of Maderna (external links).
  10. Hans Zender, in Interview with Roland Diry and Suzanne Laurentius, 'Neue Musik erwartet Selbstandigkeit,' Ensemble Modern Newsletter no. 24 (01/2007), see external link.
  11. Ircam Biographie (external link), according to which it was in 1954.
  12. Britannica Online Encyclopedia article.
  13. Ircam Biographie of Maderna, external link.
  14. Dalmonte 2001.
  15. Dalmonte 2001.
  16. (CD catalogue number 423 246-2 GC).


  • Baroni, Mario (2003). "The Macroform in Post-tonal Music: Listening and Analysis". Musicæ Scientiæ: The Journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music 7, no. 2 (Fall): 219–40.
  • Dalmonte, Rossana (2001). "Maderna [Grossato], Bruno [Brunetto]". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.
  • Dalmonte, Rossana, and Mario Baroni (1985). "Bruno Maderna, Documenti". Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni.
  • Dalmonte, Rossana, and Mario Baroni (1989). Studi su Bruno Maderna. Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni.
  • Dalmonte, Rossana, and Marco Russo (2004). Bruno Maderna Studi e Testimonianze. Lucca: LIM.
  • Drees, Stefan (2003). "Renaissance-Musik als Inspirationsquelle für das Komponieren Bruno Madernas und Luigi Nonos". In The Past in the Present: Papers Read at the IMS Intercongressional Symposium and the 10th Meeting of the Cantus Planus, Budapest & Visegrád, 2000, 2 vols., edited by László Dobszay, 1: 545-558. Budapest: Liszt Ferenc Zeneművészeti Egyetem. ISBN 963-7181-34-2
  • Fearn, Raymond (1990). "Bruno Maderna". [Chur]: Harwood Academic Publishers.
  • Fearn, Raymond (2003). "'Luft von anderem Planeten...': The presence of the Epitaph of Seikilos in Bruno Maderna's Composizione no. 2 (1950)". In The Past in the Present: Papers Read at the IMS Intercongressional Symposium and the 10th Meeting of the Cantus Planus, Budapest & Visegrád, 2000, 2 vols., edited by László Dobszay, 1:559–68. Budapest: Liszt Ferenc Zeneművészeti Egyetem. ISBN 963-7181-34-2
  • Luzio, Claudia di (2006). "Traumnahe Welten—weltnahe Träume: Zum Verhältnis von Traum und Wirklichkeit im Musiktheater von Luciano Berio und Bruno Maderna". In Traum und Wirklichkeit in Theater und Musiktheater: Vorträge und Gespräche des Salzburger Symposions 2004, edited by Peter Csobádi, Gernot Gruber, and Jürgen Kühnel, 342-356. Wort und Musik: Salzburger akademische Beiträge 62. Salzburg: Mueller-Speiser. ISBN 3-85145-099-X
  • Mathon, Geneviève (2003). "À propos du Satyricon de Bruno Moderna". In Musique et dramaturgie: Esthétique de la représentation au XXème siècle, edited by Laurent Feneyrou, 571–93. Esthétique 7. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne. ISBN 2-85944-472-6
  • Mila, Massimo (1999). Maderna musicista europeo, nuova edizione. Piccola biblioteca Einaudi, nuova serie 17. Turin: Einaudi Editore. ISBN 8806150596
  • Neidhofer, Christoph (2005a). "'Blues' through the Serial Lens: Transformational Process in a Fragment by Bruno Maderna". Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung, no. 18 (March): 14–20.
  • Neidhofer, Christoph (2005b). "Bruno Madernas flexibler Materialbegriff: Eine Analyse des Divertimento in due tempi (1953)". Musik & Ästhetik 9, no. 33 (January): 30-47.
  • Neidhofer, Christoph (2007). " Bruno Maderna's Serial Arrays". Music Theory Online 13, no. 1 (March).
  • Poel, Piet Hein van de (2003). "Bruno Maderna sur le Satyricon: Pop art en musique". In Musique et dramaturgie: Esthétique de la représentation au XXème siècle, edited by Laurent Feneyrou, 599–601. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.
  • Sitsky, Larry (Ed.) (2002). Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biographical Sourcebook (Greenwood Press, Westport Connecticut and London).
  • Suvini-Hand, Vivienne (2006). 'Bruno Maderna's Ausstrahlung,' in Sweet thunder: music and libretti in 1960s Italy Legenda Italian Perspectives Vol. 16 (Modern Humanities Research Association and Maney Publishing, London), p. 151-178. ISBN 1904350607, 9781904350606 (See extracts at [86050])
  • Verzina, Nicola (2003). Bruno Maderna: Etude historique et critique. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 2747544095

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