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Francesco D'Orazio

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The violinist on his hero, the composer Luciano Berio

Working with him also helped me learn to find the structure of a piece before attempting to play it

My hero is the Italian composer Luciano Berio. I worked with him many times, particularly on Sequenza VIII, which I first played for him in 1989. Every time we worked together I played the piece in a different way. He always focused on small details, such as changing the amount of spiccato in one short section, or adding a longer breath. It helped me learn how to approach new repertoire in general – each time it felt as though I was getting a masterclass in modern music.

Berio considered all forms of music to be equally important, from medieval works to the popular music of today. He drew inspiration from every genre, and loved to delve into the origins and languages of music, although he was a very non-academic composer. Working with him also helped me learn to find the structure of a piece before attempting to play it: we live in a time in which every composer is different from all the others, and when you understand the structure of their writing, you know how to approach it. Berio helped me discover that.

Francesco D’Orazio gives the UK premiere of Brett Dean’s Electric Preludes, a concerto for electric violin, at the BBC Proms on 7 August

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