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Program Notes Sequenza No. 1 for Flute Solo

Luciano Berio (b. Omeglia, Italy, 1925)
Adams BSO Performance Date: June 21, 2000

Luciano Berio, who this season celebrates his 75th birthday, is one of the most
important composers and musical thinkers of the second half of the 20th
Benoit century. A major force in the development of new music since 1950, he has
produced a body of works that embrace a wide range of interests, genres and
techniques and reflect his continuing exploration of the human voice, the
virtuoso capabilities of solo instruments, the orchestral idiom, music theater
Brahms and the digital processing of sound.

Berio's early musical education was under the guidance of his grandfather and
father, both organists and composers, with whom he studied harmony,
Britten counterpoint and piano. In 1945 he entered the Milan Conservatory, where he
studied composition with G. C. Paribeni and G. F. Ghedini, graduating in 1951.
The following year, he won a Koussevitzky Foundation scholarship to study
with Luigi Dallapiccola at Tanglewood. After returning to Milan, Berio founded
Carter Incontri Musicali-a series of concerts and a journal dedicated to contemporary
music. From 1955 to 1960, he directed the "Studio di Fonologia Musicale,"
which he and Bruno Maderna had founded at RAI (Italian Radio).

Mozart Beginning in 1962, Mr. Berio spent a decade in the United States where he

Nodaira taught at Mills College, Harvard University and The Juilliard School. During this
ten-year span he also taught at the Summer School in Dartington, England,
and at Darmstadt in Germany. Mr. Berio returned to Europe in 1972, where he
Rohde collaborated with Pierre Boulez in developing IRCAM in Paris, heading its

Saariaho electro-acoustic department until 1980. In 1987 he founded "Centro Tempo

Reale," an institute for music research and production in Florence, where a
team of musicians and computer-science experts explored new composition
Schubert techniques. He held the Charles Eliot Norton Chair in Poetry at Harvard

Sekiya University in 1993-94.

Berio's oeuvre is remarkable for its breadth of genre and idiom. His music
Smith stubbornly resists being lumped in with one or another twentieth-century "
Tanaka ism." One common thread Berio has explored through much of his career is the
milieu of the solo performer, generating musical substance from the unique
potential of a given instrument. In his series of compositions called Sequenza,
Wysocki begun with the work for flute on tonight's program and now numbering over a
DISCOGRAPHIES: dozen, Berio often seizes on seemingly unidiomatic gestures and processes and
bonds them to the technique of the performer, sometimes in very theatrical
2001/2002 Season
fashion. Berio writes: "As well as investigating certain specific technical aspects
in depth, in the Sequenzas I've also tried to develop a musical commentary on
the rapport between virtuoso and instrument, disassociating elements of
performing behavior, so as to then reconstitute them, transformed, as musical
unities." Of Sequenza No. 1 for flute, composed for Severino Gazzelloni in 10/29/2004
Luciano Berio Page 2 of 2

1958, Berio writes:

Sequenza No. 1 has as its starting point a sequence of harmonic fields

that generate, in the most strongly characterized ways, other musical
functions. Within the work an essentially harmonic discourse, in
constant evolution, is developed melodically. It was my intention to
suggest, through the maximum speed of transformation, concentration
and alteration of differing sound characters and differing figures, a
polyphonic type of listening. The codes governing the Baroque era
allowed one to write a fugue in two parts for a solo flute. Nowadays,
when writing for monodic instruments, the relationship between explicit
and implicit, real and virtual polyphony has to be invented anew, and
stands at the crux of musical creativity.

Copyright 2003 Berkeley Symphony Orchestra. All rights reserved. 10/29/2004