Guido Turchi

(10 November 1916 — 15 September 2010)

Guido Turchi was born in Rome, on November 10, 1916. He studied under Cesare Dobici, Antonio Ferdinandi and Alessandro Bustini at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, where he majored in piano and composition, and graduated in 1940. In 1945 he graduated with honors from the Santa Cecilia National Academy, where he studied advanced composition under Ildebrando Pizzetti. He was appointed professor of counterpoint and fugue at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in 1960.  

Turchi moved on to become director of the Arrigo Boito Conservatory in Parma in 1967, and director of the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory in Florence in 1970. He served as artistic director at several musical institutions in Italy: the Philharmonic Academy of Rome (1963-1966), Bologna’s Teatro Comunale (1968-1970), the Santa Cecilia National Academy, and at the Chigiana Academy in Siena. Over the course of his career, Turchi also made important contributions as an essayist and music critic.

 As far as Turchi’s officially recognized production goes, it began in 1940 and was influenced by the dodecaphonic system, revisited in his own personal style. Particularly successful was his Piccolo concerto notturno (1950); in the title, “piccolo” refers to a certain intimacy reserved for the piece, while “notturno” is a nod to Post-Impressionism, which Turchi never abandoned. Turchi made his theatrical debut at La Scalawith Il buon soldato Švejk (1962), a seminal piece for contemporary music theater, which features a fiercely chromatic language and alternating spoken and sung parts. Turchi mainly wrote for large orchestras, and here of note are his ballet Dedalo (1970), which spawned a pair of suites, Dedalo I and Dedalo II, Adagio (1983), Parabola (1983-1993), Exil for baritone and orchestra (1995), and Parafrasi di un cantico d’autunno (2004), one of the composer’s last orchestral works.

 Guido Turchi died in Venice, on September 15, 2010.