DAAD Scholarship 1968–1972, Guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme 1998–1999
It was in Cologne that my life actually started to take shape, as a composer and as a person. My artistic interests became more precise, and I entered a new stage in life.
Luca Lombardi’s ties with Germany started in his childhood. His father, an eminent philosopher, and his Jewish mother both believed in German culture and a new Europe. All four children were therefore sent to the German School in Rome, where the young Luca not only gained his Abitur school-leaving certificate but also performed his first compositions for his classmates. Born in Rome in 1945, he has since published around 150 compositions, many of which are played in opera houses and concert halls all over Europe, America, and Japan. Two of his three operas received world premieres in Germany, including, most recently, Prospero, performed in Nuremburg in 2006. After studying in Vienna and Rome, Luca Lombardi went to Cologne in 1968, where he spent nearly four years and experienced first-hand how the so-called Neue Musik (atonality) began to unfold. “Thanks to the DAAD Scholarship, I was truly independent for the first time in my life. I can say that it was in Cologne that my life actually started to take shape, as a composer and as a person. My artistic interests became more precise, and I entered a new stage in life.”
Classes with composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bernd-Alois Zimmermann, Vinko Globokar and the founder of the first studio of electronic music, Herbert Eimert, inspired Luca, but also made him aware that “you have to find your own path, something no teacher can help you with. And you have to be brave to be able to swim against the tide.” Luca Lombardi was and still is a courageous man. A staunch Marxist at the time, Lombardi wrote his dissertation on the German composer Hanns Eisler and in 1973 took master classes with Paul Dessau in East Berlin.
Even before his time in Cologne, Luca began to follow his own concept of plural music, a concept that went against the dogmatic ideas of the purity of atonality. He calls it inclusive music, i.e. music that incorporates various styles, musical procedures and musical dialects. Hence the use of major/minor harmonies and twelve-tone music in his operas, symphonies, oratorios, cantatas and chamber and piano music.
Since 1993, the Italian has dedicated himself fully to composing. He gave up his position at the Milan Conservatory, where he had been teaching since 1978 – and prior to that at the Conservatory of Pesaro. Luca Lombardi has received several German scholarships and was a guest of the DAAD’s Artists-in-Berlin programme in 1998. Lombardi is a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 2015, aged 70, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.