Giorgio Federico Ghedini

(11 July 1892 — 25 March 1965)

Giorgio Federico Ghedini began studying piano and organ in Cuneo. He moved to Torino in 1905, where he studied cello, harmony and counterpoint at the local high school of music. He went on to study privately with Maestro Giovanni Cravero, and later under Marco Enrico Bossi at the high school of music in Bologna, where he received his diploma 1911.

He worked as a conductor and mixed with the leading exponents of Torino’s music world. He taught at the public school for choir singing in Torino, and at the conservatories of Parma and Milano.

He did not begin publishing his own compositions until 1920. In 1921 he composed the spiritual cantata Il pianto della Madonna and Doppio quintetto, inspired by Baroque concertante. In 1926 he wrote Partita, and declared his rejection of 19th-century symphonic music.

Ghedini also composed many religious works, taking his cue from the Bible, the Roman Catholic liturgy and medieval poetry. Examples include Missa monodica in honorem S. Gregori Magni (1932), Concerto spirituale “De l’incarnazione del verbo divino” (1943) and Credo di Perugia (1962).

Ghedini’s first opera was Maria d’Alessandria, which premiered on September 9, 1937, at the Teatro delle Novità in Bergamo. Architetture (1940) gained him worldwide fame. Its modernist approach was inspired by Stravinsky and Bartòk, as was his Concerto dell’albatro (1945).

Giorgio Federico Ghedini was promoted by Casa Ricordi and Rai, and was a central figure in Italian music. The postwar period proved fecund for him, when he composed concerti like Il Belprato (1947), L’Alderina (1950), Il Rosero (1950) and L’Olmeneta (1951). In his latter compositions, a dialogue with 19th-century symphony culture ensues, as in Concerto per orchestra (1955).

In 1952 Ghedini received the Rai’s Premio Italia award for his radio opera Lord Inferno, with libretto by Franco Antonicelli.

Ghedini died in Nervi, on March 25, 1965.