Francesco D'Avalos

Biography

Born: April 11, 1930; Naples, Italy  
Francesco d'Avalos is probably better known as a conductor than as a composer, though he has been active throughout his career both with a baton and in composition. His fame came later on and is largely due to his recordings of orchestral music by Wagner, Muzio Clementi, and the lesser-known Giuseppe Martucci, all on smaller labels.

He did not show unusual talent at an early age, though he divulged a strong interest in music, listening
Read more often to the family's recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 by Ormandy and the Minneapolis Symphony. He credited Italian composer Antonio Favasta with convincing his parents to arrange for his musical instruction. At 12, d'Avalos began study on the piano with Vincenzo Vitale. Three years later, he enrolled at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in Naples. There, however, he could satisfy his needs only in the study of composition, not in conducting, his second ambition. He has acknowledged that Renato Parodi, who instructed him in composition and orchestration, was the teacher having the greatest influence on him. After receiving a diploma in composition from the San Pietro Conservatory in 1955, d'Avalos began studying conducting at Siena's Chigiana Academy with Paul van Kempen. After dropping out for a few years owing to the death of van Kempen in the first year, he returned to the academy to work with Celibidache and Ferrara. His first important works appeared during his Siena years, including the Symphony No. 1, for (wordless) soprano and orchestra (1955), and Hymme an die Nacht for orchestra (1958). He made his conducting debut in 1964, leading the Rome RAI Orchestra, and thereafter made numerous guest-conducting appearances throughout Europe. In 1979, he was engaged to teach composition at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella. He continued conducting and his first recordings began to appear in the 1980s. His most active period in the recording studio, however, has been the last decade of the twentieth century, during which he compiled a dozen or so releases. He composed his Symphony No. 2 for Soprano and Orchestra (on texts by Lenau and Shelley) in 1995. In the late 1990s, d'Avalos announced plans to record all five symphonies of Mendelssohn, as well as Liszt's complete orchestral works. He is still an active composer. Read less

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