Rosita Piritore, composer

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?

When I was a child, I used to enjoy reproducing the music I heard on TV or radio and creating new music. My father Lillo and my sister Alessia play the guitar and sing, and I always heard a lot of music in my house so this atmosphere inspired me to start studying music. The fact that I’ve pursued this path has been a natural consequence of my growth. I started to play the piano, but composition and piano have always been intertwined for me, still today. I started composing because of my playing, and I started playing because of my composing. I think it’s like: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

As a composer, some of my teachers have influenced my artistic development. Among these there are surely the composer Fabrizio Puglisi and my current composition teacher, Luigi Abbate. I was also very inspired by meetings with Sonia Bo, Bernhard Renzikowski and Bruno Canino. Undoubtedly, I’ve absorbed a lot from the music of the greatest composers past and present, just to name a few: Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Berg and the Second Viennese School in general, Stravinsky, Casella, Pärt, Neuwirth, Lim. I’ve also practiced popular music, jazz, and prog.; this has certainly contributed to my education and I still consider these musical genres as one of the most significant influences.

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

I realized that one of the biggest challenges for me is working in a team. Even if it’s very stimulating, I have to “force” myself to do that, because I have the natural tendency to do everything on my own. At the moment, I’m working on two major projects in a team, one is about musical theater and the other one is about a chamber composition based on the sketches of Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony. Frustration… Perhaps in seeing how music and art in general are perceived in today’s social and cultural climate of my country.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

It’s curious because you have to consider so many things. Often, especially at the beginning, you think you’ve no limit in creation. In practice, you realize you’ve to deal with several things: human resources, timings, contingencies. I think that the keyword is compromise. The composer must produce what he/she has in his/her mind, pursuing his/her own musical language, but also taking into account particularities of the commission and exploiting them to his/her advantage.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?

When you have the opportunity to know and collaborate with musicians of extraordinary talent and sensitivity it’s like if you’ve more incentives to write music. Sometimes you’re inspired by the sound that a musician can get, or the togetherness of that ensemble. I happened to write for an instrument thinking: “oh, this could be amazing played by him/her!”… But it’s important to remember that not all musicians are the same!

Of which works are you most proud?

I’m still quite young so I think I’m in a stage of learning and deepening my language, but I’ve my own ideas about music and I’m very confident about them. We have to assume that every work has its particular significance. That said, I’m certainly proud of my latest works, I can mention Grovigli for piano and Doppelquartettstück for ensemble. The achievements that these works have had in a way confirm that I’m moving in the right direction, that is my “right direction”, of nobody else. I’m looking forward to hearing the whole performance of my musical fairy tale on the book Alice in Wonderland ‘mPalermu by Gino Pantaleone, which will be recorded soon. This work points out my interest in music for children and has a style that I had already largely exploited in my work of 2017 Piccoli pezzi per piccole mani, characterized by short and connoted “paintings” with specific purposes. For now, I also think I’m satisfied with the compositions I’m currently working on, which will be performed for the first time in 2020 and 2021. Of course, I consider that every composition you write is always an “educational work”.

How would you characterise your compositional language?

During my compositional process I try to create as if everything is managed on a basic idea-suggestion, with various ingredients, but in a single large container. It’s just like a dish with different flavors but in harmony with each other. Often I also like to include an “ironic” aspect in my language. At this time I’m rediscovering the power of quotation/ reminiscence: if this is well connected to the diegetic idea and absorbed in the writing style, it can really enrich a composition.

How do you work?

I don’t have a precise pattern and I don’t think I’ll ever have it. I usually try to collect different elements: sometimes I can start from ideas that come from my long sessions of piano improvisation, I can start from timbrical ideas or various kinds of suggestions. Then there is a more intense work on those ingredients to “orchestrate” them and make them functional to the composition. Most of the time I work on the piano, other times in silence at the table.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

I’ve already mentioned the composers who most influenced me, among those I love the most I could include Schuloff, Gershwin, Shostakovich, Crumb and Saunders. I also love Grigory Sokolov, Martin Fröst, Martha Argerich, Bill Evans, Claudio Abbado, Louis Armstrong, Frank Zappa, Keith Jarrett and Earl Wilde.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Nowadays, I think that the definition of success for youngsters can be a little distorted. For me success is not vainglory or to be super-rich and famous, success is not flaunting; success is to be satisfied with your work, to be recognized for your work, success is a perception of balance between “the parts and the whole”.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

In short: dramaturgy and mission. Dramaturgy to create connections in the creative or performative process. Mission because the artwork has no longer just aesthetic value, but through that, in our small way we should communicate something that can be useful, which can improve the people’s existence, from the smallest to the biggest things. In this sense, the artist has an important task because he can convey important messages through something beautifully creative.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

After some achievement, someone asks me: “and now, what are you going to do?”. My answer is that I’ll continue to do what I’m doing, but always trying to do it better. I think this might be the answer to that question too. About “where” in the material sense, I don’t think I’m able to answer. I love Italy and I like to see how my work is evolving, but I’m getting to know interesting foreign realities. I already have a couple of ideas, but, I’ll go where art will take me.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Few things give me a greater sense of fulfilment than these three actions, two of which are playing and composing, the third is… Cooking. Especially Italian food!

Rosita Piritore (b. 1996) is an Italian pianist and composer. She achieved the piano master’s degree with top marks, honors and honorable mention at the Conservatory A. Boito in Parma, where she also studies composition with Luigi Abbate. She performs a heterogeneous artistic activity as a soloist and with many ensembles in Europe. She was awarded several times in national and international piano and composition competitions. Her works have been performed and broadcast on radios in Italy and America. Some of her compositions are published by Studiomusicalicata Edizioni Musicali and EROM.

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