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Vittorio Nocenzi 1952Vittorio Nocenzi is one of the most unique and charismatic figure within the international musical and cultural panorama. Exceptionally talented and with a strong sensitivity for composition he started very soon to approach classical music. He studied piano and philosophy, modern history and clarinet, Church organ and ethnomusicology . He was very young when he joined in theatre and radio with the play “100 minutes” by Leone Mancini. That was in 1966, the same year in which he started his collaboration with Gabriella Ferri for whom he composed 7 tracks published on the LP Gabriella Ferri, RCA Editions.

Composer and coauthor of the lyrics as well as piano and keyboard player, in 1969 he created the band Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, one of the most important example of global contamination: classical music melt with rock and jazz, following the suggestion of experimentation into the art language territories. Among the most significant moments of this melting pot, DI TERRA is one of the first Italian experience in melting rock with symphonic music.

In a continuous research of experimentation in a large variety of esthetical and semantic territories, the Banco, under the leadership of Nocenzi, is able to give us moments of absolute suggestion both in the versatile and light form of concept albums (in the compressed metric terms of the songs) and in the opera’s style composition. In this experience Nocenzi exalts his classical roots without forcing himself in a predefined scheme, opposite to that, he explores, with rare expressive coherence and esthetic eclecticism, every possibility to create music. In 1972 DARWIN is acclaimed as the best Italian rock progressive album and, unusually enough, in total agreement between audience and critics. At the early age of 21, Vittorio Nocenzi is already considered one of the most important and inspired musician of the European musical panorama.

In 1971, the eponymous album BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO later renamed IL SALVADANAIO, gave birth to a wave of opinions on the roman band, but DARWIN, with unanimous approval, leads Nocenzi and his fellows toward a career of prominent position. Position in which he intersected his artistic destiny and his live performances with musicians such as Keith Emerson, Gentle Giant, Curved Air, Rory Gallagher, Billy Preston, Sam Moore and Astor Piazzolla.

After a while the Banco’s project, with its IO SONO NATO LIBERO, is hallowed as one of the most original, complex and fascinating album, the manifesto of a progressive esthetic that for the first time is combined with songwriting’s suggestions and socio-political meanings.

After the first three albums (including their first beat style DONNA PLAUTILLA) which are said to have visibly changed the italian point of view as far as music is concerned, the Banco began an expressive wandering which exploration handled with several stiles going far beyond musical style limits. From the bucolic to the avant-garde, from electronic to the world music, from progressive to jazz, from opera to minimalism.

In the meantime, Nocenzi commits himself into a parallel solo itinerary writing music for dance, theatre, poetry and cinema. He wrote the music for several contemporary ballets: Etruria, Boheme, Bocca della Verità, E' nata una stella (with R. Greco and M.T. Dal Medico). He also wrote music for theatre plays like Rossetto sull’ostia, E il matto illuminò la notte, Dialoghi con Leucò (by R. Sicco), he wrote soundtracks for cinema and television: Nudo di Donna by Nino Manfredi, Colomba by Giacomo Battiato, Greggio è pericoloso by T. Torquati, L'occhio di Giuda and Turno di Notte by Paolo Poeti, Nella città perduta di Sarzana by Luigi Faccini.

MOVIMENTI, a CD/Book published in 2001 contains 13 tracks. All the lyrics were especially written by the poet Alda Merini. The final effect is a kaleidoscope that exalts the “visual” nature of the musical compositions.

In 2002 he is responsible for the Dante Alighieri Italian Music project. Particularly relevant here is the sound of the word and the Bel Canto language. The Manifesto is signed by Nocenzi, Battiato, Branduardi, Finardi and Guccini, and it intends to renew the interest of young people toward Italian language.

From 2005 and 2007 Nocenzi created the experimental project Musicorienta and he became responsible of the scientific committee made up by Enrico Ghezzi, Franco Battiato, Vincenzo Cerami, Walter Mauro and Ennio Morricone. In those years he gave birth to the Roman Electric Orchestra, a musical ensemble born from the selection of 400 young talents living in roman suburbs. From 2008 and 2009 he was art director of the project “Format@zione – the language territories” with more then 10.000 participants among students and professors.

In 2009 he edited ESTREMO OCCIDENTE, a CD/DVD with 9 composition for piano solo, inspired by the 9 hexagram of I Ching. Here Nocenzi keeps a watchful eye on the most recent requests of the western post-minimalism which he distilled through a constant connection with the traditional classicism.

It is dated 2010 the recording of a new soundtrack for the masterpiece of silent film The Phantom of Opera (1925), starring Lon Chaney and directed by Rupert Julian.

Vittorio Nocenzi - Premio per la paceIn september 2010 in Assisi, Vittorio Nocenzi received a Peace Prize as ARTIST FOR PEACE, due to his social commitment which he pursued in his entire career. With Estremo Occidente concerts for piano, he supported the Healthcare Development in sub-saharan Africa managed by Prof. Aldo Morrone.

In 2011 the book SGUARDI DALL'ESTREMO OCCIDENTE was edited. Here Nocenzi not only is bound in telling the story of the style and the repertory of Banco but, through the conversations with Gianfranco Salvatore, he also faces some of the biggest philosophical and musicological issues.

The 2012 is the 40th Banco’s bithday. Forty years of unique career and success . In this occasion and for the very first time, the band accepts to tell its personal story largely and in a charming way, with the returning of the ‘Salvadanaio’ in a new edition, a cd box set edited by Sony Music. In this box there is a booklet which includes the story (never told before) of the Banco and some interesting inedited photos of the band.

At the beginning of 2013 Nocenzi starts thinking on Darwin! He thinks about it as a research and production laboratory. In May, Darwin the evolution? directed by the Oscar Prize Gianni Quaranta, is on stage as a research in setting techniques, a concept opera inspired by prehistory. Written on the music and lyrics of the BMS, Darwin the evolution? is a collective work, realized by young Italian artists and it includes theatre synthesis, video art, dance and music, expressed in bookend effects of musical sets . A multi-ciphers show.

In the meantime, a new edition of the original Darwin opera from 1972 is published in a double CD and a 3 vinyl records. For this special occasion Nocenzi wrote the music of IMAGO MUNDI, performed by Banco and Franco Battiato. The track is ideally the conclusive event of the great rock-opera, which legitimated the roman band into the international music universe.

In july 2013, with a wide web consent (classikrock.blogspot.it), Vittorio Nocenzi is indicated as THE BEST ITALIAN PROG KEYBOARD PLAYER, price due to the relationship between his work as a musician and the long period of time he went through as a witness. With his 26 records and in more than 4.000 concerts all over the world (from Austria to Japan, from Cuba to France, Brazil, Canada, U.S.A., Germany, England , etc), Nocenzi always received great favor from the audience and the specialized critics. He is still considered one of the most important contemporary composer and keyboard player.

Francesco Villari

 Banco del Mutuo Soccorso website  Darwin l'evoluzione?