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Lorenzo Ferrero
Lorenzo Ferrero (born 1951 in Turinmarker) is a contemporary Italian composer with a predilection for opera, a librettist, author, and book editor. He started composing at an early age and wrote over a hundred compositions thus far, including eleven operas, three ballets, and numerous orchestral, chamber music, solo instrumental, and vocal works. His musical idiom is characterized by eclecticism, stylistic versatility, and a neo-tonal language.


After being initially self-taught, he studied composition from 1969 to 1973 with Massimo Bruni and Enore Zaffiri at Turinmarker Music Conservatory and philosophy with Gianni Vattimo and Massimo Mila at the University of Turin, earning in 1974 a degree in aesthetics with a thesis on John Cage.

His early interest in the psychology of perception and psychoacoustics led him to IMEB, the International Electroacoustic Music Institute of Bourgesmarker, Francemarker where he did research on electronic music between 1972 and 1973, IRCAMmarker in Parismarker, and to the Musik/Dia/Licht/Film Galerie in Munichmarker, Germanymarker in 1974.

Lorenzo Ferrero has received commissions from numerous festivals and institutions, his works being constantly performed throughout Europe and North America, particularly in Italymarker, Germanymarker, Francemarker, Great Britainmarker, Spainmarker, Finlandmarker, Russiamarker, the Czech Republicmarker, and the United Statesmarker. In 1986 he was awarded the Prix Italia for his work La fuga di Foscolo. His most popular compositions include the operas Marilyn, La figlia del mago, Mare nostro, Salvatore Giuliano and La conquista, the Piano Concerto, the Triple Concerto for violin, violoncello and piano, the Capriccio for piano and string orchestra, the set of six symphonic poems La nueva España, the song cycle Canzoni d'amore, Parodia, Ostinato, Glamorama Spies, Tempi di quartetto for string quartet, and the ballet Franca Florio, regina di Palermo.

As an active opera conductor and manager of art events, he has served as artistic director of the Festival Puccini in Torre del Lagomarker (1980-84), Unione Musicale in Turinmarker (1983-87), Arena di Veronamarker (1991-94), and the Musica 2000 fair. In 1999 he co-founded and coordinated the Festa della Musica, a showcase of classical, jazz and world music held in Milanmarker, and four years later he managed the Ravello Festival. In 2007 Lorenzo Ferrero was appointed on the board of directors of SIAE, the Italian Authors and Publishers Association, and published the Manuale di scrittura musicale, a manual which describes the basic rules of correct and elegant music writing from the orthographic as well as the graphic point of view, which is addressed to all composers, musicologists, teachers, students and copy-editors in need of practical advice. In 2008 he translated, edited and published Lo studio dell'orchestrazione, a landmark orchestration manual. His music is published by Casa Ricordi Milanmarker.

He features in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Italian Opera since 1945, and The New Penguin Opera Guide as "a principal exponent of the neo-tonal tendencies common to a number of Italian composers of his generation, who has championed a brand of narrative music-theatre that aims to capture a wider audience than that achieved by the heirs of the modernist tradition."Currently, Lorenzo Ferrero is professor of composition at Milan Conservatory and vice-president of the SIAE.


In addition to the original works listed below, Lorenzo Ferrero completed the orchestration of the third version of the opera La rondine by Giacomo Puccini, which was subsequently premiered at Teatro Regio di Torinomarker on 22 March 1994. Furthermore, he wrote the music for the Sestrieremarker Ski World Championship opening ceremony of 1997 including the official anthem, incidental music for stage productions, and a film score. Several performance videos can be viewed on YouTube.


  • Rimbaud, ou le fils du soleil (1978) Quasi un melodramma in three acts
  • Marilyn (1979) Scenes from the 1950s in two acts
  • La figlia del mago (1981) Giocodramma melodioso in two acts
  • Mare nostro (1985) Comic opera in two acts
  • Night (1985) Opera in one act
  • Salvatore Giuliano (1985) Opera in one act
  • Charlotte Corday (1989) Opera in three acts
  • Le bleu-blanc-rouge et le noir (1989) Marionette opera
  • La nascita di Orfeo (1996) Musical action in one act
  • La conquista (2005) Opera in two acts
  • Le piccole storie - ai margini delle guerre (2007) Chamber opera in one act


  • Invito a nozze (1978)
  • Lotus Eaters (1985)
  • Franca Florio, regina di Palermo (2007)


  • Ellipse IV (Waldmusik) (1974) for folk ensemble ad libitum
  • Romanza seconda (1977) for bassoon and strings
  • Arioso (1977) for orchestra and live electronics
  • Arioso II (1981) for large orchestra
  • Balletto (1981) for orchestra
  • My blues (1982) for string orchestra
  • Thema 44 (ad honorem J. Haydn) (1982) for small orchestra
  • Ombres (1984) for orchestra and live electronics
  • The Miracle (1985) ballet suite
  • Intermezzo notturno from Mare nostro (1985) for small orchestra
  • Intermezzo "Portella della Ginestra" from Salvatore Giuliano (1986) for orchestra
  • Four Modern Dances (1990) for small orchestra
  • Zaubermarsch (1990) for small orchestra
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1991)
  • Paesaggio con figura (1994) for small orchestra
  • Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra (1994-95)
  • Palm Beach Overture (1995) for orchestra
  • Capriccio (1996) for piano and string orchestra
  • Three Baroque Buildings (1997) for bassoon, trumpet and strings
  • Championship Suite (1997) for large orchestra
  • Storie di neve (1997) music for the Ski World Championship opening ceremony
  • La nueva España (1992-99), a set of six symphonic poems
    • La ruta de Cortés (1992)
    • La noche triste (1996)
    • Memoria del fuego (1998)
    • Presagios (1999)
    • El encuentro (1999)
    • La matanza del Templo Mayor (1999)
  • Rastrelli in Saint Petersburg (2000) for oboe and string orchestra
  • Two Cathedrals in the South (2001) for trumpet and string orchestra
  • Five Easy Pieces (2002) transcription for orchestra
  • Guarini, the Master (2004) for violin and strings
  • DEsCH (2006) for oboe, violin, piano and orchestra
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 (2007)
  • Quatro variazioni su un tema di Banchieri: 2 Agosto. Prima variazione (2008) for organ and orchestra
  • Fantasy Suite No. 2 (2009) for violin and orchestra


  • Primavera che non vi rincresca (1971) electronic tape piece
  • Ellipse III (1974) for any 4 players/ensembles
  • Siglied (1975) for chamber orchestra
  • Romanza senza parole (1976) for chamber ensemble
  • Adagio cantabile (1977) for small orchestra
  • Variazioni sulla notte (1980) for guitar
  • Respiri (1982) for flute and piano
  • Soleils (1982) for harp
  • Ellipse (1983) for flute
  • Onde (1983) for guitar
  • My rock (1985) (versions for piano and for big band)
  • Empty Stage (1985) for 4 clarinets and piano
  • My Blues (1986) for flute and piano
  • Passacaglia (1986) for flute, clarinet and string quartet
  • Ostinato (1987) for 6 violoncelli
  • Parodia (1990) for chamber ensemble
  • Discanto sulla musica sull'acqua di Handel (1990) for flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, French horn and percussion
  • Cadenza (1990) for clarinet and marimba
  • Musica per un paesaggio (1990) for small orchestra
  • Movimento americano (1992) for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, string quartet
  • Ostinato (1993) for two violoncelli and strings
  • Portrait (1994) for string quartet
  • Seven Seconds (1995) for clarinet, violin and piano
  • Shadow Lines (1995) for flute and live electronics
  • My Piece of Africa (1996) for violin, viola, violoncello and contrabass
  • Five Easy Pieces (1997) for flute and piano (version of a piano work)
  • Tempi di quartetto (1996-98) for string quartet
  • Glamorama Spies (1999) for flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano
  • Sonata (2000) for viola and piano
  • Moonlight Sonata (2001) for 5 percussion instruments
  • Three Baroque Buildings in a Frame (2002) for flute and string quartet
  • Maciulli Mexihcateteouch - Five Aztec Gods (2005) for string quartet
  • Fantasy Suite (2007) for flute, violoncello and piano
  • Freedom Variations (2008) for trumpet and chamber ensemble
  • Tourists and Oracles (2008) for eleven instruments and piano four-hands
  • Three Simple Songs (2009) for flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano

Piano music

  • Aivlys (1977)
  • My Rag (1982)
  • My Blues (1982)
  • My Rock (1983)
  • Rock my Tango (1990)
  • Five Easy Pieces (1994)
  • Seven Portraits of the Same Person (1996)
  • Op.111 - Bagatella su Beethoven (2009)

Organ and harpsichord

  • A Red Wedding Dress (1998) for organ
  • Ellipse II (1975) for harpsichord/clavichord


  • Ellipse III (1974) for any 4 voices/choruses
  • Ghost Tantra (1975) for voice and synthesizer
  • Missa Brevis (1975) for 5 voices and two synthesizers
  • Le néant où l'on ne peut arriver (1976) for solo voices, chorus and orchestra
  • Non parto, non resto (1987) for mixed chorus
  • Introito, part of the Requiem per le vittime della mafia (1993) for chorus and orchestra

  • Night of the Nite (1979) aria from Marilyn for soprano and piano
  • Canzoni d'amore (1985) for voice and chamber ensemble
  • La fuga di Foscolo (1986) for 4 soloists, speaker and small orchestra
  • Poi andro in America (1986) aria from Salvatore Giuliano for voice and orchestra
  • Ninna-nanna (1986) for tenor and piano
  • La conquista (2006) suite sinfonico-corale

Incidental music

  • Nebbia di latte (1980) for flutes and live electronics
  • La cena delle beffe (1988) stage music for Carmelo Bene
  • Maschere (1993) for Le Massere by C. Goldoni for string quartet

Theatre music

  • Lontano dagli occhi (1999) for one actor, 4 voices, piano trio
  • Mozart a Recanati (2006) for one actress, 1 voice, piano trio

Film soundtrack

  • Anemia (1986)


  • Ferrero, Lorenzo (2007) Manuale di scrittura musicale, Torino: EDT Srl
  • Ferrero, Lorenzo ed. (2008) Lo studio dell'orchestrazione, Torino: EDT Srl


Year Title Genre Label
1991 Lorenzo Ferrero: Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra, Parodia, Ostinato, Canzoni d'amore Classical Nuova Era
1998 Lorenzo Ferrero - Different Views: La ruta de Cortés, La noche triste, Championship Suite, Palm Beach Overture Classical BMG Ricordi
1999 Lorenzo Ferrero: Capriccio per pianoforte e archi, Concerto per violino, violoncello, pianoforte e orchestra, Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra Classical BMG Ricordi
1999 Lorenzo Ferrero: Mare nostro Classical Ricordi
2000 Lorenzo Ferrero: La nueva España Classical Naxos

Year Title Genre Label
1972 Les Saisons: Primavera che non vi rincresca Classical IMEB
1972 Musica Elettronica - Computer Music: Immigrati, Fawn Electronic Compagnia Editoriale Pianeta
1976 Steirischer Herbst - Ferrero-Neuwirth-Rühm: Le néant où l'on ne peut arriver Electronic
1986 Josef Anton Riedl - Klangfelder: Klangsynchronie II, Reaktion auf Komposition für Elektronische Klänge Nr. 2, Epiphyt II (as performer) Classical Loft
1987 Steirischer Herbst - Musikprotokoll 1987: Electronic
1994 Italian Guitar Music: Onde Classical Arc Music
1995 Songs for Seven Centuries: Mi palpita il cuore Classical King Records
2002 Sentieri selvaggi - Bad Blood: Glamorama Spies World music Sensible Records
2003 Saxophone Colours - Italian & French music for saxophone and piano: My Blues Classical Stradivarius
2004 L'arte del funambolo - new Italian music for saxophone & piano: My Blues Classical Stradivarius
2006 Sentieri selvaggi - AC/DC: Glamorama Spies Classical Cantaloupe Music
2009 Ex Novo Ensemble - Ex Novo Ensemble: Three Simple Songs Classical Stradivarius

Year Title Genre Label
1995 Christmas in Vienna III: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Noëls d'autre fois, When A Child is Born, Carol of the Bells, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Kumbayah, and A Very Private Christmas - arrangements by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols Sony Classical
1997 A Tenors Christmas: A Very Private Christmas - arrangement by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols Sony Classical
1997 The Domingo Collection: The Student Prince: I'll walk with God - arrangement by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols Sony Classical
1998 The Best of Christmas in Vienna: Noëls d'autre fois, When a Child is Born, Carol of the Bells, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Kumbayah - arrangements by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols Sony Classical
1998 I'll be Home for Christmas: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, A Very Private Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Kumbayah - arrangements by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols Sony Classical
2000 Christmas All Over The World: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - arrangement by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols Sony Classical
2006 Weihnachtszeit mit Holger Wemhoff: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Patapan, When a Child is Born - arrangements by Lorenzo Ferrero Christmas carols


See also

La rondine

Italian opera



Classical music written in collaboration


Arciuli, Emanuele (2006) Rifugio intermedio - Il pianoforte contemporaneo tra Italia e Stati Uniti,Monfalcone: Teatro Comunale

Baransky, Zygmunt G., West, Rebecca J. (2001) The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture, Cambridge University Press

Boccadoro, Carlo (2007) Lunario della musica, Einaudi

Budden, Julian (2002) Puccini: His Life and Works, Oxford University Press

Bussotti, Sylvano (1982) I miei teatri, Palermo: Edizioni Novecento

Capellini, Lorenzo (1987) La nascita di un'opera: Salvatore Giuliano, Bologna: Nuova alfaeditoriale

Donati, Paolo, Pacetti, Ettore ed. (2002) C'erano una volta nove oscillatori, Roma: ERI

Enciclopedia della musica entry Ferrero: Marilyn, 1996, Torino: UTET

Fearn, Raymond (1998) Italian Opera since 1945, Routledge

Gerhartz, Leo Karl Oper: Aspekte der Gattung, Laaber-Verlag

Girardi, Enrico (2000) Il teatro musicale italiano oggi: La generazione del post-avanguardia, Torino: Paravia

Gruhn, Wilfried ed. (1989) Das Projekt Moderne und die Postmoderne: Die neue Tonalität bei Lorenzo Ferrero (by Theo Hirsbrunner), Kassel

Henck, Herbert ed. (1980-1985) Ansätze zur Musik der Gegenwart: Lorenzo Ferrero "Marilyn" - Anmerkungen zur Oper, Vol. 3, pp 142-146

Henze, Hans Werner (1982) Die englische Katze, ein Arbeitstagebuch 1978-82, Frankfurt: Fischer Verlag

Holden, Amanda ed. (2001) The New Penguin Opera Guide, London: Penguin Books

Killinger, Charles (2005) Culture and Customs of Italy, Greenwood Publishing Group

Larousse de la musique entry Ferrero: Rimbaud, Marilyn, Paris: Larousse

Moliterno, Gino ed. (2000) Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Italian Culture, CRC Press

Nelson, Peter, Montague, Stephen (1992) Live Electronics, CRC Press

Peyser, Joan (2006) The Orchestra: A Collection of 23 Essays on its Origins and Transformations, Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation

Randel, Don Michael (2003) The Harvard Dictionary of Music, Harvard University Press

Russo, Marco (1988) Moderno, post-moderno, neo-romanticismo: orientamenti di teatro musicale contemporaneo, Il Verri, Vol. 2

Sadie, Stanley ed. (1992-2002) The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, London: Macmillan Press

Schreiber, Ulrich (2005) Opernführer für Fortgeschrittene, Bärenreiter-Verlag

Salzman, Eric, Desi, Thomas (2008) The New Music Theatre, Oxford University Press

Stoïanova, Ivanka (2005) Entre détermination et aventure: essais sur la musique de la deuxième moitié du XXème siècle, L'Hartman

Wignall, Harry James (1990) Current Trends in Italian Opera: Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp 312-326

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