Composer, researcher and teacher, Marco Stroppa (Verona, 1959) studied music in Italy (piano, choral music and direction, composition and electronic music) and pursued further studies at the MIT’s Media Laboratory (computer science, cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence). Between 1980 and 1984 he worked at the Centre for Computational Sonology in Padua, where he wrote Traiettoria, a work, which immediately met with considerable success and continues to be performed regularly.
In 1982 Pierre Boulez invited him by to join Ircam (Paris). His uninterrupted association with it has been crucial for his musical growth. A highly respected educator, Stroppa founded the composition course at the Bartók Festival (Hungary), where he taught for 13 years. In 1999 he was appointed full professor of composition at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart, where he succeeded to Helmut Lachenmann. He also taught at the Parisian Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique.
Often assembled in the form of thematic cycles, his works draw inspiration from a wide range of experiences: his reading of poetic and mythological texts, a deep engagement in ecological and socio-political issues – in the tradition of Dallapiccola, Nono and the Italian Resistance – the study of ethnomusicology and his personal contact with the performers for whom he writes, including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Mario Caroli, Claude Delangle, Christophe Desjardins, Thierry Miroglio, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Florent Jodelet, Hae-Sun Kang, Benny Sluchin.
He approaches chamber and choral music relatively late. His keen interest in sound and space has often led him to rethinking the placement of the instruments on stage so as to achieve a spatial dramaturgy that will be revealed and highlighted by the unfolding of the music and is impossible to perceive in a CD recording. In this way, the concert remains a unique and irreplaceable experience when listening to this music.
Among his major works, one should mention: Traiettoria (1982-84) for piano and computer, Hiranyaloka (1993-4) and Ritratti senza volto (2007) for orchestra, Zwielicht (1998) for double bass, two percussion players and electronics, Perché non riusciamo a vederla? (2008) for 24-part choir and alto, the trios Hommage à Gy. K. and Osja, Seven Strophes for a literary drone, and as a series of concerti for instrument and spatialised orchestra or ensemble inspired by poems of W.B. Yeats (Upon a Blade of Grass, From Needle’s Eye, Let Me Sing into your Ear).
He currently working on three concerti: Come play with me for solo electronics and orchestra, And one by one we drop away for cello and small orchestra and accordion, Like Milk Spilt for two shadow accordions and three orchestral groups. His first opera (Re Orso), based on a text by Arrigo Boito, was premiered with great success in May 2012 at the Opéra Comique (Paris).
Photo by Roberto Masotti, © Casa Ricordi, Milano