Luciano Berio's success as a theorist, conductor, composer, and teacher has placed him among the leading representatives of the musical avant-garde.

His style is notable for combining lyric and expressive musical qualities with the most advanced techniques of electronic and aleatoric music. Berio's logical and clear constructions are considered highly imaginative and poetic, drawing elements of style from such composers as Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern. Berio's early studies were with his grandfather Adolfo and father Ernesto, both of whom were organists and composers. His nascent career as a pianist was cut short in 1944 by a hand injury suffered during World War II. After the war, he studied counterpoint with Giulio Cesare Paribeni and composition with Giorgio Federico Ghedini at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. In 1952 he received a Koussevitzky Foundation scholarship to study at Tanglewood under composer Luigi Dallapiccola. That same year he attended the first American concert of electronic music, given in New York by Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky. Soon thereafter, with composer Bruno Maderna, he founded the Studio di Fonologia Musicale at Milan Radio. Under Berio's direction until 1959, it became one of the leading electronic music studios in Europe. There he attacked the problem of reconciling electronic music with musique concrète (i.e., composition using as raw material recorded sounds such as storms or street noises rather than laboratory-created sounds). Berio and Maderna also founded the journal Incontri Musicali (1956-60; "Musical Encounters"), a review of avant-garde music.

Berio taught at Tanglewood in 1960, at Dartington in 1961-62, at Mills College from 1962-64, and at the Juilliard School from 1965-71, where in 1967, he founded the Juilliard Ensemble. In 1972, he returned to Italy, and worked in collaboration with Pierre Boulez at IRCAM from 1974-80, as director of the electroacoustic department. In 1993-94, he was Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard University and in 1999, he took over as interim director of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome (and was elected its President and Artistic Director in 2000).He has received numerous awards, including Honorary Doctorates from universities in London (1980), Siena (1995) and Edinburgh and Turin (1999). He has also received the Ernst von Siemens-Musikpreis (Munich, 1989), the Prize of the Wolf Foundation (Jerusalem, 1991), the Leone d'oro from the Venice Biennale (1995), and the Praemium Imperiale (a Japanese arts and culture prize, 1996). Most recently, he received the Premio Internazionale Luigi Vanvitelli (Caserta, 2001). His works have been performed across the world by many leading ensembles, including l'Ensemble InterContemporain, l'Ensemble Musique Vivante, the Juilliard Ensemble, the King's Singers, the London Voices, the Pierrot Players, the Raschèr Saxophonquartett, and the Swingle Singers. Conductors of his music include Daniel Barenboim, Bruno Bartoletti, Pierre Boulez, Ernest Bour, Marcello Bufalini, Riccardo Chailly, Michael Gielen, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Diego Masson, Eduardo Mata, Hans Rosbaud, Paul Sacher, Leif Segerstam, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Ward Swingle, Edo de Waart, and David Zinman.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 27, 2012
Moonshine Room at Club Café | April 7, 2009
Moonshine Room at Club Café | February 5, 2008
Moonshine Room at Club Café | February 10, 2004
John Knowles Paine Hall at Harvard University | March 21, 2003
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 20, 2001

News and Press

[Concert Review] Mandolin Power! And other Unexpected Delights

On Friday, January 27, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (a.k.a. BMOP) presented Strange Bedfellows: Unexpected Concertos, showcasing instruments don't get to be concerto soloists as often as their ubiquitous cousins, like violin or piano. Here, the spotlight was on viola, electric guitar, mandolin, theremin and French horn. All but one of the pieces were written in the last six years, and together they showed that contemporary classical music is thriving — don't let anyone tell you different!

Miss Music Nerd Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP five concertos cover some brave, new frontiers

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project called its program of five "unexpected concertos" at Jordan Hall Friday "Strange Bedfellows." None (well, almost none) of the music induced slumber, however. Created for an odd array of solo instruments (viola, electric guitar, theremin, mandolin, French horn) accompanied by instrumental ensembles of various size and composition, the works prodded at the frontiers of traditional concerto form. Electronic and acoustic sounds engaged in conversation - sometimes in rancorous argument - across the centuries, forcing us to rethink this venerable genre.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP Revitalizes the Concept of a Concerto Concert

Leave it to the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) to completely revitalize the concept of a concerto concert. This past Friday night at Jordan Hall, the orchestra, conducted by music director Gil Rose, presented a thoroughly energizing and invigorating concert of five concerti written by composers born between 1923 and 1979.

Billed as Strange Bedfellows: Unexpected Concertos, the program featured concertos for, respectively, viola, electric guitar, mandolin, theremin, and horn.

The Arts Fuse Full review
[Concert Review] Oooh-weee-oooh: BMOP unveils a concerto for theremin, among works for other offbeat instruments

If you're one of those concertgoers who look forward most to the concerto, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, led by its artistic director Gil Rose, had a concert for you Friday night at Jordan Hall.

Boston Classical Review Full review
[Press Release] BMOP Unites Five Varying Composers and Concertos for One Night

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the nation's premier orchestra dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording new orchestral music, presents "Strange Bedfellows: Unexpected Concertos" – a program of five incongruous concertos by five different composers featuring five of today's most revered solo artists. Spearheading the evening is the world premiere of Eric Chasalow's Horn Concerto with horn soloist Bruno Schneider.

Full review