Maurizio Colonna

Maurizio Colonna was born in Turin in 1959, and is universally considered to be one of the greatest classical guitar players of our day. He began playing the guitar at the age of five and at the age of seven, he made his debut in the theatre as a soloist, playing soloist guitar in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (a concert for guitar and orchestra) accompained by the Angelicum Chamber Orchestra of Milan in the presence of the Concierto’s composer Joaquin Rodrigo.

One of today’s most representative and eclectic guitar players and composers, he is the author of numerous books on music history and guitar technique (F. Muzzio Editore), that can be found in the libraries of the most important European and American universities, and of compositions for guitar (published by Bèrben, Kramer-Emi, Panarecord, Playgame-Carisch) and for guitar and piano, composed together with pianist and composer Luciana Bigazzi (Bèrben). He has numerous discs and film soundtracks to his name, as composer and principal interpreter, produced in Rome, Turin, Milan, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Hollywood (Panarecord, Palladium-Ricordi, Sarx-Ducale, Playgame-Carisch, Nìccolò-Stradivarius), accompanied both by orchestras and by international soloists such as Alex Acuña, formerly of Weather Report, Paulinho Da Costa, Abraham Laboriel and the wind section of Heart, Wind & Fire.

He is co-editorial manager of the Christmas Songs Collection (Ed. Bèrben), a collection of Christmas carols from all over the world, proposed by well-known musicians in highly personal versions.

He has also recorded a number of CDs and videos, both as a soloist and together with Australian guitarist Frank Gambale (Playgame-Carisch, Libera-Egea, Libera-Edel), creating a significant niche for himself in the field of education and new guitar languages. He has been a guest several times on television programmes broadcast by RAI, the Italian broadcasting authority (even on Eurovision, playing the Adagio from the Concierto de Aranjez for guitar and orchestra, at the Venice Festival of 1981) and on other television networks, and at numerous international festivals. He has won several prizes, including the Special Prize from the Ente Nazionale dello Spettacolo, at the 9th Soundtrack Festival (Rome, July 23, 1991) and the International Show Business Prize – Fiuggi 1991 (Music section) at the Fiuggi Platea Europa Festival.

His unique role in the contemporary music scene is confirmed by a number of performances that have become real cultural events:

– he played the classical guitar in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, performing his own Nocturne arranged for guitar and orchestra, accompanied by members of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Santa Cecilia, on the occasion of the First Christmas Concert in the Vatican, (December 13, 1992);

– in 1995 he played for the President of Italy in the Council Room of the Quirinale Palace in Rome;

– on June 21 of the same year, in Piazza del Quirinale, he was a soloist at the Concerto per un Amico, a concert for humanitarian causes transmitted by Rai Due, which drew together international artists accompanied by the AMIT Symphony Orchestra of Rome, conducted by Renato Serio;

– he was the first classical guitarist to be a guest of the San Remo Festival on February 19, 1996, introducing his spectacular guitar playing to millions of viewers (performing Panarea, a virtuoso piece he composed for solo guitar);

– In September 1997 he was invited to take part in the celebrations for the 23rd Eucharistic Congress, and he performed in the Municipal Stadium in Bologna (broadcast live on Rai Uno);

On January 5, 2000, he performed in a duo with Luciana Bigazzi at the Monastery of Santa Chiara in Naples, at the Concert of the Epiphany (televised on January 6, 2000 on Rai Uno and Rai International), performing two pieces for guitar, piano and orchestra. He returned to the same event the following year, playing in a duo with Frank Gambale.

In 1997 BMG-Recordi published a book on him and his work, in which author Lorenza Cristina Sianesi not only tackled musical topics, but also explored Colonna’s views on contemporary classical music from a sociological viewpoint.

Since 2000 he has increased significantly his composing, and he also teaches specialist master classes at prestigious Italian academies.

In March 2005, he was invited again to the San Remo Festival, this time with singer Antonella Ruggiero and Frank Gambale.

The CD “Colonna & Gambale live” (Libera-Egea) was released in May 2005, and was presented during the 2005 Summer Tour at well-known international festivals.

In 2006, he contributed to found the NCM-New Classic Music label, which brought out an anthology of his work, “Guardando il mare” (Egea Distribution), and produced the CDs “Lacoste-Works for Piano” (2006) and “Passages-Works for Piano” (2008) by Luciana Bigazzi (Egea Distribution).

The CD “Bon Voyage”, recorded in duo with Frank Gambale, was released in May 2007 as part of the “Colonna & Gambale” artistic project (Libera/Edel).The “Colonna & Gambale” project was presented in India, in a series of concerts and on the television, in October 2007.

In December 2008 he published the live album “Rock Waves-Electric Dreams of a Classical Guitar Player” (NCM – PKP Music inc.) in which he reinterprets his own version of some of the most famous pieces of world rock music.

Il CD “The Secrets Of The Soul” (NCM–EGEA Distribution), issued in 2011, the guitar is the principal instrument in the recording accompained by an acoustic and electric ensemble, is the result of a long period of creative research, marked also by reflections which transcend the musical dimension.

He is the official ambassador of both the American La Bella brand (with a set of strings known as the “Maurizio Colonna Professional Series”), and the Spanish guitar-maker Ramirez.

On June 2, 2012 he was a guest at the event television broadcast worldwide (RAI Uno), “One World, One Family, One Love”, with the presence of Pope Benedict XVI, on the World Meeting of Families. On December 2012 he released the live CD Christmas for guitar and piano – Live (NCM New Classic Music / EGEA Distribution) with Luciana Bigazzi, 2011 in Papal Basilica St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori in Pagani, near Salerno. On March 30, 2013 he played at an event broadcast on television worldwide (RAI Uno), the Extraordinary exposition of the Holy Shroud for television (Turin Cathedral).

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