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CAMILLO TOGNI  

(1922 - 1993)

Camillo Togni stands as one of the most representative figures of twentieth-century Italian music. His patient and distilled creative development—essential and uncompromisingly independent from both aleatoric music and the integralism of the Darmstadt school, where he attended the Ferienkurse from 1950 to 1955—could be defined as a quest to strike a balance between exacting formal coherence and the broadest imaginative freedom, while composing with rare and extraordinary craftsmanship.

While reading philosophy at Pavia University, Togni studied piano under Giovanni Anfossi and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and composition with Franco Margola and Alfredo Casella. He soon became aware of his distance from neoclassicism, feeling more affinity with late-romantic tradition, chromaticism and the difficult and inner expressivity of Schoenberg’s dodecaphonic technique. His firm belief in the ethical value of artistic endeavours led him to in-depth studies of literary and poetic texts by Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles d’Orléans, T. S. Eliot and ultimately his beloved Georg Trakl, who inspired some of his chamber works (Helian and Gesang zur Nacht) and his two operas Blaubart (1977) and Barrabas (1985). In 1965 he won the SIMC prize for chamber music with Rondeaux per dieci for soprano and nine instruments. Between 1978 and 1988 he taught at the Conservatory of Parma and from 1989 he held advanced courses at the Fiesole music school.

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