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Niccolò Castiglioni

Niccolò Castiglioni (1932-1996) studied at the Conservatorio “Giuseppe Verdi” – first with Giorgio Federico Ghedini, then with Franco Margola – and qualified in both piano and composition in 1953. For obtaining the best diploma in composition he was awarded a trip to the Salzburg Festival at the expense of the Ministry. His interests in this period included not only art, nature and the mountains, but also philosophical readings. He had a particular affection for the books of Eugenio Garin and his studies of medieval Platonism.

After cultivating a passion for Stravinsky during his years at the conservatory, his interests shifted first to twelve-tone composition, then to post-Webernian positions. Thus the courses with Gulda, Zecchi and Blacher at the Mozarteum of Salzburg were duly followed by the Ferienkurse für neue Musik of Darmstadt between 1958 and 1965.

Apart from a short period in the Fifties as a concert pianist, Castiglioni devoted himself exclusively to composition and teaching. From 1966 to 1970 he lived in the United States, teaching counterpoint at the Rockefeller Foundation of Buffalo and composition as a visiting professor at the Universities of Washington (Seattle), Michigan (Ann Arbor) and California (San Diego). From his return to Italy until his death he taught at the conservatories of Trento and, from 1977, Milan. He lived in both his home city and Bressanone, a town in the Dolomites. He died in Milan on 7 September 1996.

Photo: renzocresti.it
Recommendation
“The succinctness of his work will first become fully apparent when it becomes possible to view the second half of the twentieth century from something more like a bird’s-eye view.” (Alessandro Solbiati) 
An enchanting piano world: the music of this sensual aphorist encompasses a range from a naively childlike tone to sharp-edged expressiveness. 
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