agostino di scipio home page
[photo Kai Bienart, 2005]
Biographical note (2015)
Agostino Di Scipio (born in Naples, Italy, 1962) approached sound and music as a self-taught musician in his late teenage years, then moved quickly into more adventurous electronics and computer programming, also developing an interest for experimental theatre while a student at Istituto Universitario Orientale, in Naples. He graduated in 'Composition' as well as in 'Electronic Music' from the Conservatory of L’Aquila (teachers included M.Lupone, G.Bizzi, M.Cardi). At the time, he also studied Computer Music at the CSC (Centro di Sonologia Computazionale), University of Padova.
Composer, sound artist, and scholar, Di Scipio explores original methods in the generation and transmission of sound, often experimenting with phenomena of emergence and chaotic dynamics. His best-known works include solo live-electronics concert works and sound installations where cybernetic principles and "man-machine-environonment" networks of sonic interactions are implemented and creatively elaborated (e.g. the Audible Ecosystemics series of pieces, and the more recent Modes of Interference series). In 2001, together with poet Giuliano Mesa, he wrote Tiresia, a mix of poetry reading and electroacoustics (earlier on, he had already explored this medium with Sound & Fury, a stage work based on a collaboration with photographer Manilio Prignano and poet Eugenio Tescione, bearing on elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and fragments of Auden’s Commentary). Monograph CD portraits are available through RZ_Edition (Berlin) and Chrysopeé Electronique (Parigi/Bourges). More recordings of his works are included in collective CDs and DVDs by labels such as Wergo, Neuma, Capstone, ecc. With pianist Ciro Longobardi, he prepared and published an extended realization of John Cage’s Electronic Music for Piano Cage (Stradivarius). With saxophonist Mario Gabola he run a duo project in radical electroacoustic improvisation, mostly based on recycled analog circuitry (Upset, Viande Records). Since 2014, together with Dario Sanfilippo, he has developed the Machine Milieu project (networks of autonomous and semi-autonomous sound-generating agents). In Spring 2011, the Berlin-based sound art gallery 'Galerie Mario Mazzoli' hosted a personal exhibit of Di Scipio’s installation works, Sound. Self. Other.
Di Scipio mainly works in his own studio in L’Aquila (a small, medieval town in the Appenines mountains, not far from Rome). In 2004 and 2005 he lived and worked in Berlin as artist-in-residence of the DAAD Künstlerprogramm. Guest composer of institutions such as CSC in Padova (1987-1991), ZKM (Karlsruhe, 2005-06) and IMEB (Bourges 2003 and 2005). Professor of Electronic Music at the Conservatory of Naples (2001-2013), today he holds the same position in L’Aquila. In Winter 2007-08, Di Scipio served as Edgar Varèse Professor at Technische Universität (Berlin). Lecturer in live-electronics composition ai CCMIX (Paris, 2001-2007), guest professor in several institutions, a.o. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2004), Universitv of Paris 8 (2013), IRCAM (2013), Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz (2004), Simon Fraser University (Burnaby-Vancouver, 1993), Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, 1995), University of Calgary (2015), University of Edinburgh (2015). He lectured in many institutions worldwide, and delivered opening keynote speeches at the International Computer Music Conference 2013, in Perth (Australia), as well as in international meetings such as 'Musique et écologie du son' (Paris, 2013), 'Beyond Soundscape' (Belfast, 2013), etc. In 2014 a special issue of Contemporary Music Review has been published (edited by Makis Solomos), with papers on Di Scipio’s work by musicologists and electroacoustic music practitioners, partly the outcome of earlier international scholarly gatherings (Université Paul Valery-Montpellier 2010, Universitat des Kunste-Berlin 2011, Université Paris 8 2013). A book + CD publication appeared in 2015 (edited by Andrea Semerano), Agostino Di Scipio. Polvere di suono: una prospettiva ecosistemica della composizione (La Camera Verde, Rome).
Di Scipio has published numerous research papers, and is the author of internationally published essays often devoted to the issues of music and sound technologies, and related socio-cultural, cognitive and political implications. Some of his writings on the latter subject have been translated and collected in the Italian volume, Pensare le archeologie del suono e della musica (‘thinking the technologies of sound and music’, Editorale Scientifica, Naples, 2013). In 2004 he served as guest editor for a monograph issue of the Journal of New Music Research on Iannis Xenakis. Di Scipio served as editor of the anthology Teoria e prassi della musica nell’era dell’informatica (Laterza, Bari, 1995) and curated the Italian translation of volumes of various authors, a.o. Iannis Xenakis (Universi del suono, LIM/Ricordi, Milano 2003), Michael Eldred (Heidegger, Holderlin & John Cage, Semar, Rome, 2000), G.M.Koenig and Tom DeLio. In 2009, with some his students in Naples, started an independent scholarly review, Le Arti del Suono.
[photo Manilio Prignano, 2003]