SANDRO FUGA (1906 - 1994)
Born in 1906 in Mogliano Veneto (in the province of Treviso), Sandro Fuga spent most of his life in Turin, where he studied piano with Luigi Gallino, organ with Ulisse Matthey and composition with Luigi Perrachio, Franco Alfano and Giorgio Federico Ghedini. An elegant, highly cultured and affable man, with the aristocratic reserve characteristic of the Piedmontese, Fuga was a sophisticated and sensitive pianist and a uniquely gifted teacher. From 1933 onwards he taught at the Turin Conservatory, serving as its director between 1966 and 1977. Although he had successes in the opera house (with Otto Schnaffs, Confessione and L’imperatore Jones) as well as in the world of orchestral music (two highlights being the Passacaglia and, in particular, the moving Ultime lettere da Stalingrado for speaker and orchestra), he dedicated the greater part of his time and talent to chamber (instrumental and vocal) and piano music, continuing to compose into his old age without his powers waning. His works for piano include the Toccata (1932), Sonatina (1935) and Serenata (1940) as well as sets of preludes and variations, all informed by a conscious revisiting of tradition; and there is a special place reserved in his catalogue for his chamber works, notably three sonatas for violin and piano (1938, 1972 and 1989), a piano trio, six string quartets (1943–88), a viola sonata (1974) and a piano quintet, among others.