International Artist in Residence: Luciano Chessa

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We are pleased to announce our 2018 International Artist in Residence, Luciano Chessa.


Luciano Chessa is a renowned musicologist whose scholarly writings on Modern and Medieval European music, as well as the artistic legacies of Futurism and Fluxism have been published widely. He is a performer, composer and conductor who has worked with a number of top orchestras and chamber groups throughout the world, as well as with an array of prominent avant-gardists including Blixa Bargeld, Tony Conrad, Ellen Fullman, Carla Kihlstedt+Matthias Bossi, Pauline Oliveros, Mike Patton, Jennifer Walshe, and Theresa Wong.

During his time in Aotearoa, Chessa will travel throughout the country, presenting concerts, talks and other events on a variety of topics including Futurism and its relation to Italian fascism, legacies of Fluxism in art and music, as well as its influence on modern composition.

Whilst in residence at the Audio Foundation, he will collaborate with renowned New Zealand artist Judy Darragh, producing new sound works which will be exhibited at the Audio Foundation in July.

Luciano Chessa will be in New Zealand from May 28 – June 29.


Luciano Chessa biography:
Chessa studied organ with renowned Italian master Andrea Macinanti at Bologna’s Conservatory and with organist and composer Pellegrino Santucci. Throughout the years, Chessa has performed on organs among the finest in Italy and the United States, including two of Italy’s best Tamburini: the Grande Organo in the Sala Bossi, and Grande Organo in the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi, as well as the magnificent 7466 pipes Aeolian-Skinner instrument in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.

Chessa has been commissioned multiple times by PERFORMA, and in 2014 he presented three events at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the exhibition “Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe”. Chessa’s work has been featured in Artforum, Flash Art Internationalt, Art in America, and frieze; and has been featured in Marie Claire and Vogue Italia. Chessa is also a music historian specializing in 20th-century Italian and 21st-century American repertoire.

His compositions include the opera Cena oltranzista nel castelletto al lago—a work merging experimental theater with reality TV which required from the cast over 55 hours of fasting—and A Heavenly Act, an opera commissioned by the SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with original video by Kalup Linzy.

In 2009, his Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners (OFNI) was hailed by The New York Times as one of the best events in the arts; it continues to tour internationally. Currently an Artist in Residence at the Steel House in Rockland, ME, here he developed the show on view while also preparing the edition of Julius Eastman’s Second Symphony, the world premier of which he will conduct in NYC in September 2018.

Chessa’s Futurist expertise resulted in an invitation to direct the first reconstruction project of Russolo’s earliest intonarumori orchestra, and to curate concerts of music specifically commissioned for this orchestra. This production presented an impressive array of world premieres written by such composers and ensembles as Blixa Bargeld, John Butcher, Tony Conrad, James Fei, Ellen Fullman, Ghostdigital with Finboggi Petusson and Caspar Electronics, Nick Hallett, Carla Kihlstedt + Matthias Bossi, Ulrich Krieger, Joan La Barbara, Pauline Oliveros, Pablo Ortiz, Mike Patton, Anat Pick, Elliott Sharp, Jennifer Walshe, Theresa Wong and Text of Light.