Vercelli, 1941

Angelo Gilardino

Angelo Gilardino was born in Vercelli in 1941 where he later studied (guitar, violoncello and composition) in the local music schools. His concert career, which lasted from 1958 to 1981, had a great influence on the development of the guitar as an instrument in the ‘limelight’ in the twentieth century. Indeed, he gave premiere performances of hundreds of new compositions dedicated to him by composers from all over the world. In 1967 Edizioni Musicali Bèrben appointed him to supervise what has become the most important collection of music for guitar of the twentieth century and which bears his name.
In 1981 Gilardino retired from concert work to devote his time to composition, teaching and musicological research.
Since 1982 he has published an extensive collection of his own compositions: Studi di virtuosità e di trascendenza, which John W. Duarte hailed as “milestones in the new repertoire of the classical guitar”, sonatas, variations, various pieces such as Colloquio con Andrés Segovia, Sonatine des fleurs et des oiseaux, Tríptico de las visiones, Catskill Pond, La casa del faro, Sonata Mediterranea, Sonata del Guadalquivir etc., four concertos for solo guitar and guitar groups (Concerto d’estate, Concierto de Córdoba, premiered at the Córdoba Festival in 1994, Poema d’inverno, Concerto d’autunno), and seven concertos with chamber orchestra: a Concerto for guitar (Leçons de Ténèbres, 1996), a Concerto for mandolin and guitar (Fiori di novembre, 1997), Concerto Italiano for four guitars (1998), a Concerto for flute and guitar (La casa delle ombre, 1999), Liederkonzert for two guitars (2000), a Concerto for guitar and accordion (En las tierras altas, 2001), a Concerto for violoncello and guitar (Star of The Morning, 2004).
He has also composed chamber music for the guitar. His works are frequently performed in Concert halls all over the world, recorded and included in competitions.
His contribution to teaching began with the Liceo Musicale “G.B. Viotti” in Vercelli where he taught from 1965 to 1981 followed by an appointment as professor at the “Antonio Vivaldi” Conservatory in Alessandria from 1981 to 2004.
From 1984 to 2003 he held post-graduate courses at the “Lorenzo Perosi” Accademia Superiore Internazionale di Musica in Biella. He has also held 200 courses, seminars and master classes in various European countries at the invitation of universities, academies, conservatories, music associations and festivals.
The city of Lagonegro made him an honorary citizen in 1989 in recognition of his teaching at the International Guitar Festival. In 1993 the University of Granada invited him to hold a course in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Andrés Segovia’s birth.
In 1998 he was awarded the “Marengo Music” prize of the Conservatory of Alessandria.
As a musicologist he has made a considerable contribution to the guitar repertoire of the first half of the twentieth century with the discovery and publication of important works which were either unknown or considered as lost, such as Ottorino Respighi’s Variazioni per chitarra, the Sonata para guitarra by Antonio José and a large corpus of guitar works written for Andrés Segovia by Spanish, French and British composers during the Twenties and the Thirties.
Since 2002 he has edited the publication of these works in The Andrés Segovia Archive, published by Edizioni Musicali Bèrben. He has also reconstructed the concerto for guitar and orchestra by the Russian composer Boris Asafiev, published by Editions Orphée. The rescue of these works and their subsequent publication has given new substance to the historical repertoire of the twentieth century.
In 1997 he was appointed as artistic director of the “Andrés Segovia” Foundation of Linares, Spain, a charge which he left at the end of 2005.
The Italian Guitar Congress awarded him the prize “Golden Guitar” three times (1997, 1998, 2000), respectively for his compositions, his teaching and his musicological research.
He has written two books dealing with the principles of guitar technique. He has published a handbook for the benefit of those composers wishing to write for the guitar but who are not familiar with the intricacies of this instrument. He has also published a handbook of guitar history and a considerable number of essays and articles.
The prizes received by his pupils in international competitions, as well as his appointments to serve on juries, are countless.

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