Published: 10 June 2024

Surrey PhD student performs at Carnegie Hall

Department of Music and Media Composition PhD student Giacomo Susani has just returned from New York after performing his own composition, ‘Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra’ at Carnegie Hall, accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of New York, conducted by Salvatore di Vittorio.

The concert in New York was a result of an invitation from the orchestra's artistic director, Salvatore di Vittorio, after Susani won the Respighi Prize in Composition in 2022. The Concerto performed at Carnegie Hall was written before the start of Susani’s PhD, but it laid the ground for the base of his current research work here at the University of Surrey. 

A previous performance of the winning Concerto at Dukes Hall, London, can be viewed here

PhD Composition student Giacomo Susani performs at Carnegie Hall

Susani comments:

"Composing new music for the guitar today means many things: imagining, improvising, notating, listening, arranging, transforming. While the mind and the hands of the composer-performer wander across these different conceptual spaces, the instrument acts as a psychological plane: its pitch matrix and its poetic soundscape trace a web of creative possibilities that arise from the complex dialogue between them and the human mind.”

How this interaction functions and how it can be exploited imaginatively is the primary research question of Susani’s practice-based PhD here at Surrey. His research is building a portfolio of newly composed music for the guitar and for other instruments, searching for a contemporary language of music that naturally emerges from the idiom of the guitar. 

Whilst studying at Surrey, Susani has composed a portfolio of compositions ranging from solo guitar, to chamber music without the guitar and to a new Guitar Concerto for 10-string guitar and orchestra (the first ever for this ensemble). This latest work will be premiered in Colorado on the 21 December 2024, where he will conduct the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, with Nicolò Spera on guitar. 

Learn more about the range of PhDs you can study in the Department of Music and Media. 

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