RESONANT CITY: VENICE
Madrigals for cello, choir, and city
by Andrea Liberovici
Aaron Wolff, cello; Fractio Modi, vocal quartet
This work for solo cello, vocal ensemble, and ambient sound digitally recorded in Venice by Liberovici, brought to Columbia by Yale University's noted musicologist Professor Ellen Rosand, evokes that mysterious, fragile city.
Andrea Liberovici (b. 1962) was raised in a musical family. His father, Sergio Liberovici (1930-1991), was a composer who, among other things, worked with Italo Calvino on a collection of traditional songs. His mother, Margot Galante Garrone (1941-2017), was a singer and founder of "Gran teatrino la fede delle femmine." He grew up in Venice with his mother and her partner, the musicologist Giovanni Morelli (1942-2011). Since his earliest youth he studied composition, violin, and viola at the conservatories of Venice and Turin and also studied singing with Cathy Berberian. As a teenager he composed and recorded two rock LPs. The experience with rock music proved vital to an understanding of what he did not want: "to shut myself away in the cage of a musical genre to feed my vanity. Even today I would not know, in any case, which cage to choose." At 20, he began studying composition with a new approach: through theatre. "A theatrical approach is an excellent remedy for a composer. You must take your eyes off your navel and make clear what you want to say and to whom. One becomes aware that if you have nothing to say, no genre will protect you."
In 1996, thanks to a fortuitous encounter with the poet and dramatist Edoardo Sanguineti (Berio's librettist), he and Liberovici founded "teatrodelsuono" (sound theatre) to explore new ideas and approaches to the relationships of music-poetry-stage and new technologies for sound and image processing. Liberovici has been referred to often as a “transdisciplinary composer” (composer, author, and director of his works). A recent work, "Faust’s Box," is the peak of his exploration of different languages, which come to be woven together. "I believe the composer of the future will increasingly be an audio-visual artist, in that order: prima la musica!"
Aaron Wolff received a B.A. in comparative literature and B.M. in cello performance from Oberlin College & Conservatory, and an M.M. at Juilliard under Joel Krosnick. As a high school student, Aaron won First Prize in the Boston Symphony Concerto Competition, as well as competitions that have led to performances with A Far Cry and the Boston Trio. As a student of Darrett Adkins, he received the 2014 Agnew Bach Prize from the Cleveland Cello Society and was a winner of the Oberlin Concerto Competition in 2016. He has participated in musical exchanges in Brazil, India, and China, and has spent summers at Greenwood Music Camp, Perlman Chamber Music Workshop, Yellow Barn and Lucerne. Outside of music performance, Aaron has found creative outlets in acting — most notably in a lead role in the Coen brothers’ film A Serious Man — and in writing about music. He was a fellow at the 2014 Rubin Institute for Music Criticism and covers New York City’s new music scene for I Care If You Listen.
Fractio Modi is a New York City-based quartet that specializes in the performance of early music and modern works. Founded in 2018, they combine scholarship and musicality to present nuanced performances of music from past and present in settings both scholarly and public. Fractio Modi is: Anne Levitsky, soprano; MaryBeth Alexander, alto; Lindsay Elliott, tenor; Patrick Rutan, bass.