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Giancarlo Aquilanti

View Music by Giancarlo Aquilanti

Choral  |  Instrumental  |  Orchestra  |  Vocal  |  New Releases

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Giancarlo Aquilanti was born in Jesi, a small town in central Italy where he took his first musical steps. He studied at the Conservatory of Music in Pesaro, Italy, where he received diplomas in Trumpet Performance, Choral Music, and Composition. In 1985, he moved to the United States, where he studied with Glenn Glasow at California State University, Hayward, receiving a Master's degree in Composition cum laude in 1988. He continued his studies in composition at Stanford University, completing a Doctoral degree in Composition in 1996.

This was a very productive period in his life, which saw the composition of his first opera, Lot's Woman, and which was premiered under his direction at Stanford University in 1996. At Stanford he started his teaching career in music theory, composition and conducting; a highlight of his teaching career came in 2004, when he was awarded the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching—Stanford University's highest teaching honor. He is currently director of the Music Theory Program at Stanford University. His responsibilities include directing the undergraduate theory program, developing the curriculum, and training and supervising the graduate teaching assistants. Besides teaching of harmony, theory, and counterpoint, he pursued rigorous studies in modern composition, and worked on computer based technology applied to music and acoustics.

In his music one can hear the profound inspiration of the Italian operatic tradition born of early cultural experiences. Nevertheless, his compositions are much influenced by his American education, revealing a unique and exotic combination of popular melodies of his native region, jazz rhythms and classical traditions. He is a prolific composer and has written compositions for all kinds of combinations of instruments: orchestral, choral and band pieces, three string quartets, concertos and sonatas for cello, violin, flute, clarinet, tuba, woodwind quintets, piano trios, piano quartets and quintets. He has also written commissioned works for the Philharmonic Symphony of the Marche (Introitus); the Stanford Chamber Chorale (Magnificat); the Elfenworks Foundation (La Povertà); the Stanford University Woodwind Quintet, and for The University of California, Berkeley Wind Ensemble (Berkeley Pictures).

He is currently working on several musical projects among which a new CD in collaboration with Paolo Ugoletti and Domenico Clapasson. The musical pieces of this new recording are based on Gianni Rodari's literary texts – nursery rhymes and poems – conceived and written for a young public. But the heart of his current efforts converges in the composition of a new opera entitled Oxford Companions to a libretto by D.S. Neil Van Leeuwen. The libretto brings back to memory a tragic chapter in European history—World War II and the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Giancarlo Aquilanti is professionally active as a conductor, composer and educator. He is often called to direct concerts outside the academic arena, to give lectures explaining the theory and development of his compositions, and to hold workshops for American Bands and Wind Ensembles. His music has been performed in many European cities, as well as in the United States. He is also in demand both as a pianist and as a conductor, and has performed in international tours in China, Italy, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Portugal and Morocco with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and with the Stanford Wind Ensemble, which he has directed since 1996.


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