Giovanni Piacentini is a composer whose body of work is as diverse as his cultural background. Born in Mexico City to an Italian doctor, an opera lover, and a Mexican figurative painter, he was exposed to a wide array of artistic expressions that helped shape his musical vision.
As a 9 year old, he picked up his aunt’s beat up guitar and played it until his fingertips were raw. He developed an immediate and intense love for the instrument and it remains his main vehicle for discovering his sound. As a teenager, Giovanni was exposed to a myriad of musical genres ranging from his father’s opera and Italian song collection to Mexican folk music, Brazilian bossa-‐nova, and, of course, Rock and Roll. Having mastered some of the standard guitar repertoire, he began exploring the more contemporary guitar language of works by composers like Leo Brouwer, Toru Takemitsu and Benjamin Britten.
A chance encounter in Rome with guitar great Eliot Fisk led to Giovanni's invitation to study first at his seminar and eventually as Fisk's full time student. At this time, Giovanni was already writing a few short pieces for other instruments and decided to devote his time entirely to writing music rather than becoming a concert guitarist.
He graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music with a B.A. in composition and music synthesis. He went on to write his first instrumental compositions, “Chaotic Transformations” for two marimbas which premiered at the Boston Public Library as well as “Tryptic” for piano trio. He also wrote his first solo guitar piece “Suite Lacanja”, a programmatic work inspired by the landscape of the Lacanja river in southern Mexico.
Giovanni dove deeper into the more conceptual sounds of Berio, Ligeti and Xenakis while also exploring the late medieval and renaissance polyphonic creations. In a seminar with Mexican composer Victor Rasgado, he realized he needed to expand his knowledge and experience and decided to further his studies abroad. He sent samples of his work to a handful of established composers, including Dr. Richard Danielpour, who later invited him to study privately at his studio in NYC. Danielpour was instrumental in Giovanni’s discovery of his own compositional voice. Noticing a strong will, discipline and a voracious appetite for learning, he encouraged Giovanni to apply to the Masters in Composition program at the Manhattan School of Music.
After an immersive two years in school and in the New York City composition circle, Giovanni earned his M.A. in Composition graduating with honors. He edited works for guitar commissioned by Sharon Isbin and David Starobin. He assisted his mentor, Dr. Danielpour, with premieres including a piano concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic and a large scale Oratorio with the Pacific Symphony. During this time, Giovanni wrote his first symphonic work, “Animus”, which was performed under the baton of Dr. David Gilbert. Performing with the school’s choir at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C was a highlight of his time at MSM.
Since then, Giovanni has been very active as a composer receiving commissions from a variety of ensembles including the harp duo, “Duo Scorpio” in NYC, the Irish violin and viola duet “Collailm Duo”, the concert series “Music of Reality” in Boston, MA, and the “Mexiam” festival in San Francisco, CA.
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