(b Milan, 17 March 1956). Italian composer. He studied composition with Corghi at the Milan Conservatory; he later attended Stockhausen's composition courses in Rome and Berio's at Tanglewood, and then collaborated with Berio between 1981 and 1984. His works have received prizes at many international competitions including Gaudeamus (1984), Martin Codax (1985), Guido d'Arezzo (1985) and the New Music Composers' Competition (1987). Additionally, he was awarded the Stipendienpreis (1988) and the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis (1990) at Darmstadt. In 1994 he was awarded the Siemens Prize for his work as a composer as a whole, and in the same year he won the Prix Italia for his Ballata del rovescio del mondo (1994), a radio opera on a text by Umberto Fiori. In 1990 he founded ‘AGON acustica informatica musica’, a centre for electronic music. He has taught as a visiting professor in composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory (1990–91) and at the Strasbourg Conservatory and IRCAM (1995). He was guest composer at Akyh oshiday (Tokyo, 1996), Young Nordic Music (1997), Centro reina Sofia (Madrid, 1998) and the University of Montreal (1997). In addition to being active as a conductor of contemporary music, he teaches composition at Milan Conservatory. His output is marked by a sense of experimental tension and by an awareness of the aesthetic significance of activity. His experience and knowledge of various types of music (including jazz, rock and ethnic music in addition to art music) and his acknowledgement of the expressive and communicative possibilities inherent in the widest range of music has deeply affected the development of his work. His attempts to reconcile influences of different traditions, past and present, is one part of a careful rethinking of the legacy of compositional techniques. He has re-examined the procedures explored by the avant-garde of the 1950s and 60s and has obtained a new musical syntax by synthesizing their various aspects with his broader musical concerns. His Suite 1984 for orchestra, jazz quartet and percussion ensemble from Guinea is the most striking example of this tendency to create a polyphony of mixed idioms, ranging from Machaut to Stravinsky, orchestral writing to jazz or Italian folklore to African percussion. Amidst these stylistic contexts, the function of memory – understood not only as the remains of past experiences but also as a source of creative energy – seeks to create a picture of the complex ways in which reality is perceived. His cycle of Quattro studi sulla memoria, which includes Richiami II for amplified ensemble (1989–91), Memoria for orchestra (1990), Riti neurali for violin and eight instruments (1991) and A fuoco for guitar and ensemble (1995), is an imaginary reconstruction of the workings of memory. Formally, these works follow labyrinthine routes in developing material on multiple levels, material which undergoes a process that organically encapsulates diverse elements within a texture of structural rigour, richness of timbre and instrumental virtuosity. His attention to formal coherence is particularly evident in such works as Plot in fiction (1986) and Terzo Quartetto (Mirrors) (1993), and results in the creation of complex but clearly delineated textures which give the listener unmistakable points of reference. Awareness of the possibilities of sound manipulation offered by information technology gave rise not only to a series of large-scale electroacoustic works such as Etymo (1994) and Sirene/Gespenster (1996–97) but also to works written especially for radio, in which Francesconi attempts to realize his ideal of a ‘theatre of the imagination’ created exclusively by musical means.
Orch: Passacaglia, 1982; Suite 1984, orch, African perc, jazz qt, 1984; Vertige, str, 1985; Trama, sax, orch, 1987; Les barricades mystérieuses, fl, orch, 1989; Memoria, 1990; Mittel, 5 bands in motion, 1991; Secondo concerto, ob, chbr orch, 1991; Risonanze d’Orfeo, suite, wind, 1993 [from Monteverdi: Orfeo]; Vanderer, 1998–9; Due colori dell' Alba, 1999–2000
Vocal: Viaggiatore insonne (S. Penna), S, 5 insts, 1983; Notte (Penna), Mez, 19 insts, 1983–4; Finta-di-nulla (U. Fiori), S, 19 insts, 1985; La voce (folksong, Fiori), S, 13 insts, 1988; Aeuia (J. da Todi), Bar, 12 insts, 1989
Chbr and solo inst: Da capo, 9 insts, 1985–6; Plot in Fiction, ob + eng hn, 11 insts, 1986; Mambo, pf, 1987; Respiro, trbn, 1987; Attesa, wind qnt, 1988; Richiami II ‘1° studio sulla memoria’, amp ens, 1989–92; Charlie Chan, va, 1990; Riti neurali ‘3° studio sulla memoria’, vn, 8 insts, 1991; Islands, pf, 12 insts, 1992; Plot II, sax, 15 insts, 1993; Terzo quartetto ‘Mirrors’, str qt, 1993; A fuoco ‘4° studio sulla memoria’, gui, ens, 1995; Impulse II, cl, vn, pf, 1995; Inquieta limina ‘Un omaggio a Berio’, accdn, ens, 1996
El-ac: Voci, S, vn, elecs, 1992; Trama II, cl, orch, live elecs, 1993; Etymo (C. Baudelaire), S, chbr orch, elecs, 1994; Animus, trbn, live elecs, 1995–6; Striàz (video-op), 4 female choruses, elecs, 1996; Sirene/Gespenster (oratorio pagano, Fiori), 4 female choruses, brass, perc, elecs, 1996–7; Lips, eis Bang, S, ens, real time audio-video elecs, 1998
Radio scores: Ballata del rovescio del mondo (radio-film, Fiori), 1994; Venti Radio-Lied (3 cicli di microfilm radiofonici, Fiori), 1996