I grew up in a small village in the mountains in Trentino. Running through the woods by bicycle or writing on top of a tree in a hunting lodge that I converted into a thinking place, and many other beautiful things of childhood. Stefano Fogliardi gave me the first piano lessons, in Trento, a place that back then seemed to me to be a huge city – you had to be careful to cross the street. Then, again in Trento, I entered the conservatory where I studied in the class of Antonella Costa, a passionate teacher and very patient with a student who in certain phases was more interested in fugues than in preludes. Particularly significant were the encounters with two of the many other teachers who contributed to my formation. Franco Scala was key and inhibiting only up to a certain point had been the words "you are a poet, but here are the mastiffs...". A long time later came the meeting with Paul Badura-Skoda: it seemed to me to have next to me, at the other piano, Mozart or Beethoven or Schubert or Chopin in person, a particle accelerator.
My path has been multidisciplinary, to become interdisciplinary. At about twenty years old a voice inside me had erupted "you cannot spend your life playing for white hair - with all due respect", besides a certain perplexity about the conventional understanding of what a concert is. And so, while my colleagues were trying their hand at international piano competitions, I enrolled, as a working student, at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Bologna, graduating magna cum laude; right afterwards, I won an important scholarship that allowed me to continue my studies in Political Theory at the famous London School of Economics. From the plateau in Trentino, I wanted to descend into the world, live it, try to understand it. A lot of studying, and a lot of “placet experiri”, as Settembrini would have chastised. After London, I got into a doctoral program (first in the ranking) at the University of Trento, where I received my PhD in International Studies, and consequently was "Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher" at Cambridge (2005-6), in the UK, and "Fulbright Visiting Researcher" at Princeton (2007), in the USA. The piano somewhat niched. But the education and formation I was acquiring were refracted through music. It was thanks to the suggestion of a decisive figure for me, Professor Maurizio Viroli, that I brought together the "human sciences" to recall a novel by Thomas Bernhard and the world of sounds, firstly during a Post-Doc again at Princeton ("2009-10 Olin-Lehrman Postdoctoral Fellow") where this time I applied my theories on patriotism to the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. After that first rapprochement, various musicological publications followed, further exploring the humanities: today, my output includes four books, three edited volumes, translations, and many papers. One of the volumes, written together with the distinguished musicologist and composer Lawrence Kramer, carries the significant title Classical Music in a Changing World: Crisis and Vital Signs. The academic, musical and human journey is ongoing for me, and, now that I too have white hair, I have realized that classical music is not necessarily an elitist art that exists under mothballs. Classical music can be an expansive and redirective influence under (Hegelian) Spirit where the arrangement of emotion, understanding and knowledge merge, co-create and teach. All this has brought me full-circle to give concerts and conferences in Italy, France (invited specialist at the Doctoral Congress on Music and Musicology of IReMus, Sorbonne University, plus several other venues), Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Switzerland, the UK, the USA, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Nigeria, the UAE, Kuwait… Interesting places. “Alberto Nones is a remarkable man who leads a double life”, someone wrote in an American music magazine. Two lives? Nay, many more.
Music contains everything, politics and philosophy included. Even in a mazurka by Chopin. In two days of a torrid summer refreshed with some almond granita, I recorded at the foot of Mount Etna the Complete Mazurkas by Chopin, a recording which, released by the Roman label Continuo Records of the late Massimo Galli, was hailed as a revelation by some highly respected music critics. Most recently, the London-based Convivium Records has acquired this recording and also released a new work of mine dedicated to Chopin, this time the Fantasies, and my reading of what a Fantasy is in Chopin. This album, recorded at the Fazioli Concert Hall, has come out together with something that could hardly be more different, an album with music by the Russian Rachmaninov and the Ukrainian Silvestrov recorded in a church of Montecassiano on an old Bohemian piano: the idea was that the sound, for once scabrous instead of polished as typical in most classical music albums (mine included), would take on its shoulders a little of the sorrow of the world we are feeling, and transform it into something else. With only Peace in mind. All my revenues from this album are entirely devolved to an activist who helps refugees of all wars.
I'm not on social media. If you email me, I will gladly read you. I can be contacted also at the "Giacomo Puccini" Conservatory of Music of Gallarate, where I am Full Professor with tenure in the History of Music and Lecturer in Chamber Music. My teaching experience started back in 1999 and is at this point quite broad. I have taught at the University of Lugano, the University of Trento, the Free University of Bolzano/Bozen, the University of the United Arab Emirates, the International High School of Rovereto, and the Conservatories of Gallarate, Perugia, Como and Matera - various disciplines ranging from music (Piano and History of Music) to the social sciences, and in different languages, never sparing myself and always learning as much as I was teaching. I am also proud to have been appointed Honorary Visiting Teacher at the “E. Said” National Conservatory of Music, in Palestine, where I give Piano masterclasses to extraordinary youth.
I stop here in this short presentation, very personal but which has also carefully avoided disclosing details of what, in my life, is even more important. Listen to my music if you want to know more... about me, or maybe even about yourself, about the collective. In the music, there is everything.