Interview by Piano & Coffee Co.
By Amanda Nordqvist
There are few artists who manage to stay current within their respective musical scenes for so many years without losing originality and quality in their work. Such is the case of Bruno Sanfilippo, who with each new release gives us magisterial lessons of sonorous exquisiteness and compositional resources. It does not matter if the pieces were composed yesterday or if they are works that have been buried for several years – like the four pieces of their most recent release, Lost & Found – their works endure over time, go beyond any barrier, and never, but never, leave to surprise us. Here is our interview with Bruno Sanfilippo.
Hi Bruno. First of all, tell us a little about yourself. Where you come from? What do you do when you are not composing?
I was born on a rainy night in Buenos Aires in 1965. I grew up studying piano at the conservatory until I graduated in 1988. In the ’90s I composed several works of chamber music and works for piano and other instruments. I also presented my first albums on CD, (some of them currently discontinued) such as Sons of the Light, The New Kingdom, Solemnis, and later Suite Patagonia. I have offered several concerts in Argentina presenting these works, until my final departure to Barcelona, Spain, in the year 2000.
When I’m not composing, I might be giving some concerts, working in my studio on recordings for third parties, or managing issues in our ad21 office. I also like to travel with my wife Ximena, play with my dogs or walk around the house in the mountain where I live, near Barcelona.
How was your approach to music? When did you start composing?
Well, there was an old vertical piano in my parents’ house when I was born, and this became my first toy. When I was a child I used to improvise for hours and hours on it, and since then I loved it. I grew up with it the piano, I even put objects inside it to change its sonority, I also get to put tacks on the hammers … Then later I was attracted by the electronic sound, and then I started to study synthesizer and samplers programming. Little by little I was enriching my home-studio. I had a Roland Juno 106, then a Kawai K5 additive synthesis, then I got some of the first rack samplers; the Mirage (which loaded the rudimentary library of sounds with a Diskette!), used to use a cassette portastudios, reel to reel machines … very nice memories.
Could you describe your creative process for us?
When I start a composition I do not think of anything particular, I do not have a conscious preconceived idea, I try to be unprejudiced and daring, like when I was a child … sometimes improvising on the piano, and then I stop when I notice that there is something to develop there. Then it ends its development just when I want to abandon it, then I proceed to record it. However, sometimes an idea that is born, for example, on the piano, is transferred to strings or other instruments. I also believe that inner silence has a powerful creative source, as long as the inertia of having certainties does not interpose its fluidity. In any case, each artist must discover his own paths that lead him to create.
What or who is your greatest inspiration at the time of writing?
Possibly, part of the music comes from dreams, that inexhaustible and shameless source, but also from everything that I have lived and experience every day. Also, great artists emanate that breath of inspiration, their unique art and personality inspire me and surely anyone.
What can you tell me about Lost & Found? How did you decide to reinvent these ancient compositions? What was the selection process?
Lost & Found is an album where I present piano-based pieces that were scattered in different previous recordings, which for different reasons were no longer exposed. In addition, there is a piece «What I Dreamed» that was also added as a Bonus Track in the CD version, and that was abandoned on the hard drive of my computer. I just thought that it might be interesting to rescue those lost pieces and that is why we have presented it as a release through our ad21 personal stamp.
Is there any advice that you have been given that you always keep in mind?
Yes, there is, I remember that my teacher used to tell me: «When you’re in front of a microphone or on stage; connect fully with your instrument or you will not connect with your listeners «Art is like that, it has that mystery that technique alone cannot offer, if it does not excite in some way, it does not make any sense