Skip to content

Maderna Bruno

Bruno Maderna was born in Venice on April 21, 1920. Having taken a degree in composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome under the guidance of Alessandro Bustini (1940), he went on to pursue advanced studies in Venice with Gianfrancesco Malipiero (1942-43). For conducting, he attended the courses taught by Antonio Guarnieri (Siena, 1941) and Hermann Scherchen (Venice, 1948).
From 1948 to 1952 Maderna taught at the Conservatory of Venice. In 1949, with B.A.C.H. Variationen for two pianos, he took part for the first time in the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik at Darmstadt, where he began to teach in 1956. In 1950 he conducted his first concerts abroad, in Paris (January 25) and in Munich (February 28), at the invitatio of Karl Amadeus Hartmann.
This marked the beginning of an incessant and labor-intensive career that saw him active in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Austria, as well as in Italy. In 1955 he collaborated with Luciano Berio in founding the RAI Studio of Musical Phonology in Milan and from 1956 to 1960 he organized "Incontri Musicali", a series of events aiming to spread knowledge and understanding of contemporary music. In 1957-58, at the invitation of Giogio Federico Ghedini, he taught an open course in twelve-tone technique at the Milan Conservatory. From 1960 to 1962, Maderna taught and conducted at the Summer School of Music at Dartigton College in Devon (England). From 1961 to 1966, he and Pierre Boulez were permanent directors of the internationales Kranichsteiner Kammerensemble, he also conducted in Tokio (1961) and Buenos Aires (1964).
During the Sixsties Maderna pursued a highly active concert career in Holland and in 1967 was invited to teach at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He taught courses in conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1967, '68,'69) as well as at Darmstadt (1969), and his students include Lucas Vis, Yves Prin, and Gustav Kuhn. In the Seventies he was frequently invited to the United States, where he conducted the Juilliard Ensemble and the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, New York, Cleveland, Washington and Detroit. In the summer season of 1971 and '72 he conducted at the Berkshire Music Center of Tanglewood and in 1971 he became permanent conductor of the RAI Symphony Orchestra of Milan. In 1972 his "radio invention" Ages was awared the "Premio Italia".
In April 1973, while rehearsing his opera Satyricon in Amsterdam, Maderna was diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite his illness he continued to compose and conduct until just a few days before his death. Bruno Maderna died in Darmstadt on November 13, 1973.