Luigi Nono


Luigi Nono (1924-1990) began taking lessons in composition from Gian Francesco Malipiero in 1941. Central to these lessons were works from the 16th and 17th century, which left him with a lifelong fascination for polyphony, and for the music of the Second Viennese School, which was banned in Fascist Italy. In acquiescence to the wishes of his family, he went to Padua to study law, graduating in 1946. Meeting Bruno Maderna and the conductor Hermann Scherchen only increased his fascination for the music of Webern and Schönberg, and in 1950 he participated for the first time in the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music. In the 1950s, he attended the courses in Darmstadt regularly, and between 1957 and 1960 also as a teacher; a number of his compositions had their premiere there. At a performance of Schönberg’s opera Moses und Aron in Hamburg, he met Schönberg’s daughter Nuria, whom he married in 1953. Nono joined the Communist Party in 1952 and a great many of his works have a political charge. As of 1960, he taught in Poland and the Soviet Union, among other places. As his career progressed, he became increasingly interested in electronic music. Along with Boulez and Stockhausen, Nono is considered one of the most important representatives of the Darmstadt School, but unlike his two colleagues, he always took a great deal of freedom in applying the principles of serialism.