(b Lecce, 6 May 1953). Italian composer. He studied at the Milan Conservatory with Bruno Canino (piano) and Corghi (composition), taking his diplomas in piano and composition in 1972 and 1981 respectively. He subsequently took Donatoni's postgraduate course in composition at the Accademia di S Cecilia in Rome (1981–2). He first came to international attention in 1981 when his First String Quartet (1980) and Chiari for orchestra (1981) were awarded prizes at the Gaudeamus week in Amsterdam. In 1989 he won first prize in the Goffredo Petrassi Competition with Epos for orchestra (1989). He has received important commissions from the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, the Ensemble InterContemporain, Radio-France and IRCAM. He currently teaches composition at the Como Conservatory and at the CNR in Strasbourg.
His large output includes operas, orchestral, chamber and electro-acoustic pieces and works for radio, all marked by painstaking craftsmanship and solid construction. His ability to assimilate different techniques and to judge carefully the expressive potential in the widest range of 20th-century avant-garde developments, has resulted in an independent, personal language which can answer demands for both experimentation and communication. His attention to rigorous construction of forms and materials does not, however, translate into theoretical abstraction, but demonstrates his desire to place perception before intricacy with the goal of re-establishing a closer relationship with the listener. His thinking as a composer has been profoundly influenced by his experience of electro-acoustic music: he was in close contact with the genre while still a student when he attended the courses in electronic music given by Paccagnini at the Milan Conservatory (1974–5) and later worked at the RAI Studio di Fonologia and, from the 1990s, at IRCAM. Apart from resulting in a series of important works for instruments and live electronics such as Richiamo (1993–4), Coram Requiem (1996) and Donacis ambra (1997), his grasp of the possibilities that information technology offers for processing sound has also shaped the development of his orchestral writing. A strain of experimentation has invigorated his orchestral sound; for instance, he has brought various schemes for multi-dimensional treatment of the musical material into play.
The essential elements of Fedele's style were already clearly outlined in some of his earliest works, such as the First String Quartet (composed in 1980 and revised in 1990), Chiari for orchestra (1981) and Chord for ensemble (1986). The title of the latter work alone demonstrates his characteristic tendency to view vertical aspects of music not so much as the result of superimposed linear processes, but more as a point of departure and a primary structural element. In each of the quartet's five movements he develops a musical figure derived from a specific instrumental gesture; he also integrates techniques inherited from the classical tradition with the new performance possibilities introduced by the experiments of the avant garde. Chiari requires a particular layout of the instruments on the platform; they are subdivided into two equal, symmetrical groups, and a trio consisting of harp, piano and marimba at the centre. Here, the composer introduced one of the most characteristic aspects of his later work: the idea of the performance space as a geometrically defined area, essential to the correct realization of the score. The specific distribution of sound sources which distinguishes various works of the 1990s such as Duo en résonance (1991), Richiamo (1993–4) and Flamen (1994) is a reflection of a unitary and inclusive concept of acoustic space. This concept involves every element in the musical process, from the structuring of the basic material to the definition of the overall form, in which one finds an intricate play of resonances and virtual mirrors. It is probably in the resultant clarity and consistency of formal design that the communicative power of Fedele's music lies. The search for an intelligible grammatical structure which can produce a perceptible and clearly-defined narrative results in the frequent use of well-established and effective models, such as the distinction between principal and secondary aspects (Epos of 1989 and Donax of 1992), the definition of opposing poles (Imaginary Skylines of 1990–91) or the introduction of formal echoes in the varied repetition of clearly defined and recognizable elements (Profilo in eco, 1994–5). On the other hand, ideas relating to resonance are extensively and successfully applied in his many solo concertos, in which the orchestra is used as a huge musical kaleidoscope, conducting a multi-dimensional exploration of the potential inherent in the soloist's gestures, continually multiplying and refracting the musical figures. (Cahiers de l’IRCAM: Compositeurs d’aujourd’hui, no.9, 1996 [Fedele issue])
Ops: Oltre narciso (cantata profana, 1, Fedele), 1982, Milan, Piccola Scala, 20 Sept 1982; Ipermnestra (dramma musicale, 1, G. Corti), 1984, Ferrara, Sala Polivalente, 13 June 1984; Orfeo al cinema Orfeo (radio op, Corti), 1994