I grew up in a small plateau 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 had been a little eccentric. At about twenty years old a voice inside me had erupted "you cannot spend your life playing for white hair - with all due respect – at thermal baths". 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; then I won a 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 reprehended. At first, in London. Then came a PhD in International Studies at the University of Trento, and then positions as "Marie Curie" at Cambridge and "Fulbright" at Princeton, overseas. The piano niched. But a keyboard different from that of a pc continued to play within me, reverberating the education and formation I was acquiring. It was thanks to the suggestion of a decisive figure that I brought together my "human sciences", to quote Thomas Bernhard, and my music, firstly during a Post-Doc at Princeton where I turned my theories on patriotism to the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. After that first rapprochement, various musicological publications followed, which today include four books and three edited works. One of these, written together with the distinguished American musicologist and composer Lawrence Kramer, carries a significant title: Classical Music in a Changing World: Crisis and Vital Signs. It has taken me a while, but in the end, I have realized that classical music is not necessarily under mothballs – it can also be under Spirit (Hegelian). All this has brought me to give concerts and conferences to-day in Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Switzerland, the UK, the USA, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Nigeria, the UAE, Kuwait… Interesting places. I also created, among other things, the AEMC (European Association of Music and Communication), which organizes an international academic conference on Music, Communication and Performance that has become a reference point for many scholars and artists from various corners of the world. “Alberto Nones is a remarkable man who leads a double life”, someone wrote in a 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, 2015, 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 unexpectedly hailed as a revelation by some highly respected music critics. Most recently, the London-based Convivium Records has 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 whose revenues I entirely devolve to an activist who helps refugees of all wars. On this occasion I played 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.
I'm not on social media. If you email me, I will gladly read you. Or come and visit. I teach at the Conservatory of Matera and there I can easily be spotted during the terms, almost invariably walled up alive though in my lessons of Piano, History of Music, Historiography of Music. Teaching is vital for me. I have taught, among other places, at the University of Lugano, the University of Trento, the University of the United Arab Emirates, the International High School of Rovereto, the Conservatory of Gallarate - different disciplines in different languages, never sparing myself and always learning as much as I was teaching. I am also proud to have recently been appointed Honorary Visiting Teacher at the “E.Said” National Conservatory of Music, in Palestine, where I hold masterclasses in which I meet extraordinary youth.
I stop here. This short text has been very personal, but has also carefully avoided talking about what, in my life, is most important. Listen to my music if you want to know more. In there, there is everything.