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Sylvano Bussotti (born 1 October 1931) is an Italianmarker composer of contemporary music whose work is unusually notated and often brings up special problems in interpretation.

Born in Florencemarker, Bussotti learned to play the violin as a child, becoming a prodigy. Later he studied at the Florence Conservatory (where he developed an opposition to modernism), with Luigi Dallapiccola and with Max Deutsch in Parismarker. As a composer he was influenced by the twelve-tone music of Webern and later John Cage. Examples of his use of graphic notation in his pieces, often reflecting his personal life, include Lorenzaccio and La passion selon Sade. He participated in other academic disciplines including painting, graphic art, and journalism.

He has served as the artistic director of La Fenicemarker, Venicemarker. As a personality he is noted as flamboyant and occasionally shocking. He staged a flashy resignation from Venice Biennale in 1991, by bringing in a famous prostitute to give the keynote speech. Openly gay, Bussotti expressed his sexuality in his music as early as 1958. His outspokenness on the topic was unsettling to even some, then closeted, homosexual composers of the era.

Bussotti is also a well known film director, an actor, and singer. His uncle Tono Zancanaro and his older brother Renzo Bussotti strongly influenced his style in painting. He wrote the most of the librettos of his Operas. As a writer, his style is considered one of the most refined among the Italian poets and novelists of XX century. The French culture fascinated him since he was a boy. His great friend Cathy Berberian (Luciano Berio's wife) was one of his most famous interpreters. He was, or is, in good acquaintance with the writers and film directors Aldo Palazzeschi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Derek Jarman, Elsa Morante, Alberto Moravia, Aldo Braibanti, Mario Zanzotto, Fabio Casadei Turroni, Dacia Maraini, Umberto Eco. Derek Jarman was to be the director of his opera L'Ispirazione, first on stage in Florence 1988. Rara Film was his most celebrated underground film. The film, according to the author's will, is to be performed together with the score, which includes from seven to eleven players. The music of Rara Film is not a strict counterpoint of the film: it flows without any contact to the images.



  • La Passion selon Sade (1966)
  • 5 Piano Pieces for David Tudor (1959)
  • Torso (1963)
  • Rara Requiem (1969)
  • Poesia di De Pisis (1975)
  • Lorenzaccio (1972)
  • Nottetempo (1976)
  • La Racine (1980)
  • L'Ispirazione (1988)
  • Fedra (1988)
  • Mozartiane I (2006)
  • Mozartiane II (2007)
  • SilvanoSylvano (2007)
  • Rara Film (1964, revised 2008)

Novels and poems

  • I miei teatri, Il Novecento edition, Palermomarker, 1982.
  • Letterati Ignoranti, poesie per musica, Quaderni di Barbabl├╣, Sienamarker, 1986.
  • Sylvano Bussotti, nudi ritratti e disegnini, sketches with poems by Romani Brizzi, Trucchi e Bussotti, Il polittico edition, Roma, 1991.
  • Non fare il minimo rumore, Girasole Edition, Ravennamarker, 1997.
  • Disordine alfabetico, Spirali Edition, Milano, 2002.
  • La calligrafia di un romanzo uno e due, novel in Peccati veniali, a cura di A. Veneziani, Coniglio editore, Roma, 2004.
  • L'acuto, in Angelo d'Edimburgo by Fabio Casadei Turroni, Le Mondine Edition, Molinella, 2006.
  • I Mozart vanno vanno, interludio in La notte delle dissonanze, by Sandro Cappelletto, EDT, Torinomarker, 2007.


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