Nono, Luigi (1924–90) By Nielinger-Vakil, Carola
Luigi Nono stands out as one of the most uncompromising modernist composers of the Italian avant-garde. Together with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, Nono was one of the leading representatives of integral serialism in Europe after 1945. Nono is further known for his political music theater, his innovative spatial use of electronic music and live-electronics, avant-garde and microtonal instrumental writing, and an exceptionally lyric and communicative application of complex compositional procedures. Luigi Nono was born into a wealthy Venetian family just after Mussolini came to power. Toward the end of World War II, Nono began to study composition with G Fr Malipiero at the Venice conservatoire (1943–5) while completing a law degree at Padova University (1942–7). At the conservatoire, Bruno Maderna’s influential composition tutorials sparked a life-long interest in Renaissance polyphony and the works of the Second Viennese School. Equally fundamental was Hermann Scherchen’s conducting course (Venice, 1948). Luigi Dallapiccola’s lyric serialism was another formative influence at this time. Nono’s first major work, the Variazioni canoniche sulla serie dell’op.41 di Arnold Schönberg, was premiered under Scherchen at the Darmstadt New Music Courses in 1950. Together with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, Nono subsequently established himself as one of the leading composers of integral serialism.