Sunday, August 4, 2013

Remembering Egisto Macchi

Egisto Macchi was born in Gorsseto, Tuscany, Italy on August 4, 1928. He moved to Rome to study composition, piano, violin and singing with Roman Vlad from 1946-1951 and Hermann Scherchen from 1949-1954, among others. It was around this period that he also studied literature and human physiology at La Sapienza University.
From the late fifties, he began his collaboration with a group of musicians (Franco Evangelisti, Domenico Guaccero and Daniele Paris), to whom he was bound by intense friendship. Together with Domenico Guaccero, Daniele Paris and Antonino Titone, he was one of the editors of the magazine Orders, which first appeared in 1959. With Bertoncini, Bortolotti, Clementi, De Blasio, Evangelisti, Guaccero, Paris, Pennisi, and Franco Norris, he founded the Association of New Consonance in 1960. He took a frequent hand at directing the association, and he held the office of President from 1980 to 1982, and then again in 1989.
From the day of its conception, he followed the activity of the International Week of New Music in Palermo. After creating the Musical Theatre of Rome with Guaccero, he founded Studio R7, an experimental, electronic music laboratory founded in 1967. It is in the same year that he joined Franco Evangelisti's ‘Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza’, an avant garde improvisation group which, perhaps most famously, also recruited Macchi's close friend and collaborator Ennio Morricone.
In 1978 he was part of the Italian commission for the music of UNICEF, together with Luis Bacalov, Franco Evangelisti, Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota.
In 1983 he created, together with Guaccero, ‘The Institute of Voice’, seeking to deal with problems related to vocal work in the field of classical music and folk music of all continents. The institute made use of new technologies in the field of electronics and cybernetics. He took over the direction of the institute after the death of his friend in 1984.
Further initiatives followed. In 1984 he became one of the founders of I.R.T.E.M (Institute of Research for Musical Theatre), together with Paola Bernardi, Carlo Marinelli and Ennio Morricone. In this context he also founded ‘The Sound Archive for Contemporary Music’, of which he was the director until his death. It is with the Sound Archive that he created a series of conferences, meetings and seminars for the knowledge and diffusion of contemporary music.
In his last years, he had been working with Ennio Morricone to promote the 'New Opera'. In November of 1991 he completed La Bohème, a transcription for sixteen instruments and four synthesizers, and Morricone similarly adapted Tosca. Both works were ready to be staged when Macchi died on August 8, 1992.
Macchi composed the soundtrack for one Euro-western, “Bandidos” (1967).
Today we remember Egisto Macchi on what would have been his 85th birthday.

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