Lorenzo Ferrero

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Lorenzo Ferrero
Birth date 17 November 1951
Birth place Turin (Italy)
Music studies Turin Music Conservatory, University of Turin
Profession(s) Composer, Librettist, Author, Book editor
Period(s) 20th-century and 21st-century classical music
Music genre(s) Classical music
Musical form(s) Opera, Ballet, Chamber music, Piano music, Symphonic, Vocal music, Incidental music, Film score
Career since 1970

Lorenzo Ferrero (born 1951) is a contemporary Italian composer with a predilection for opera, a librettist, author, and book editor. He started composing at an early age and wrote over a hundred compositions thus far, including twelve operas, three ballets, and numerous orchestral, chamber music, solo instrumental, and vocal works. His musical idiom is characterized by eclecticism, stylistic versatility, and a neo-tonal language. Born in Turin, he was initially self-taught, then studied composition from 1969 to 1973 with Massimo Bruni and Enore Zaffiri at Turin Music Conservatory, and philosophy with Gianni Vattimo and Massimo Mila at the University of Turin, earning a degree in aesthetics with a thesis on John Cage in 1974. His early interest in the psychology of perception and psychoacoustics led him to IMEB, the International Electroacoustic Music Institute of Bourges, France where he did research on electronic music between 1972 and 1973, IRCAM in Paris, and to the Musik/Dia/Licht/Film Galerie in Munich, Germany.

Lorenzo Ferrero has received commissions from numerous festivals and institutions, his works being constantly performed throughout Europe and North America, particularly in Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and the United States. His most popular compositions include the operas Marilyn, La figlia del mago, Mare nostro, Salvatore Giuliano, and La conquista, the first Piano Concerto, the Triple Concerto for violin, violoncello and piano, the set of six symphonic poems La nueva España, the song cycle Canzoni d'amore, Parodia, Ostinato, Glamorama Spies, Capriccio for piano and string orchestra, Tempi di quartetto for string quartet, and the ballet Franca Florio, regina di Palermo. In addition to the original works, he completed the orchestration of the third version of the opera La rondine by Giacomo Puccini, which was subsequently premiered at Teatro Regio di Torino on 22 March, 1994. With a group of six other Italian composers he wrote the Requiem per le vittime della mafia, a collaborative composition for soloists, choir and orchestra on an Italian text by Vincenzo Consolo. The requiem was first performed in the Palermo Cathedral on 27 March, 1993. Furthermore, he wrote the music for the Sestriere Alpine World Ski Championships opening ceremony of 1997 including the official anthem, incidental music for stage productions, and a film score. In 1986 he participated in the Prix Italia with his work La fuga di Foscolo.

As an active opera conductor and manager of art events, he has served as artistic director of the Festival Puccini in Torre del Lago (1980-84), Unione Musicale in Turin (1983-87), Arena di Verona (1991-94), and the Musica 2000 fair. In 1999 he co-founded and coordinated the Festa della Musica, a showcase of classical, jazz and world music held in Milan, and four years later he managed the Ravello Festival. In 2007 Lorenzo Ferrero was appointed on the board of directors and elected vice-president of SIAE, the Italian Authors and Publishers Association. That same year he published the Manuale di scrittura musicale, a manual which describes the basic rules of correct and elegant music writing from the orthographic as well as the graphic point of view, which is addressed to all composers, musicologists, teachers, students and copy-editors in need of practical advice. In 2008 he translated, edited and published Lo studio dell'orchestrazione, a landmark orchestration manual. His music is published by Casa Ricordi Milan.

Lorenzo Ferrero is professor of composition at Milan Conservatory since 1980. His teaching appointments further include positions at St. Mary's College of Maryland and LUISS Business School, a division of LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome.

He features in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera as "the most successful opera composer of his generation in Italy," and in The New Penguin Opera Guide as "a principal exponent of the neo-tonal tendencies common to a number of Italian composers of his generation, who has championed a brand of narrative music-theatre that aims to capture a wider audience than that achieved by the heirs of the modernist tradition."


  • Sadie, Stanley, ed. (1992-2002). The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Holden, Amanda, ed. (2001). The New Penguin Opera Guide. London: Penguin Books.
  • Schreiber, Ulrich (2005). Opernführer für Fortgeschrittene. Bärenreiter-Verlag.
  • Randel, Don Michael (2003). The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Harvard University Press.
  • Larousse Dictionnaire de la musique entries: Lorenzo Ferrero, Italie, Opéra, Live electronic music. Paris: Larousse.
  • Gelli, Piero, ed. (2007). Dizionario dell'Opera 2008 entries: Lorenzo Ferrero, La conquista, Marilyn, Salvatore Giuliano. Milano: Baldini Castoldi Dalai editore.

Recordings in the media archives

  • Mare nostro (1991) Agorà Musica (I) - 1st recording