That, in a nutshell, is Ludovico Einaudi: a composer of unusual skill, gifted with the ability to breathe new life into classical instruments, whose works verge on the minimalist, but whom people often describe as 'ambient and introspective'. With a musical career spanning over thirty years, he is today among the foremost composers of Europe, and has made, in his own time, forays into film and theater composition, alongside several major stand-alone works. To this day, he has won several major awards (listed below), and the Youtube videos of his work continue to enchant, if not millions, then at least several thousands all over the world.
Born in Turin, Italy, on November 23, 1955, Ludovico's biographical details are frustratingly incomplete: little is known about him except that he is the grandson of Luigi Einaudi, ex-President of Italy; that his mother played the piano to him when he was a child; that he trained at the Conservatario Verdi in Milan under Luciano Berio; and that, sometime in the early eighties, he began to experiment with elements of contemporary popular culture in his works, generating a unique flavour to his creations. His own official website is devoid of details beyond the perfunctory; most publications that cover him cover him but scantly; and it is remarkably difficult to find details of the man not related to his music. If anything, it appears Ludovico Einaudi is defined most easily and most strongly by his music: the man himself is simply a walking vassal of musical perfection, forgotten by the very audience his music so readily inspires.
And inspirational it is: Greg James, a BBC Radio 1 presenter, was reportedly so moved by the hours he spent listening to Einaudi's 'I Giorni' in university (he found the piece 'therapeutic') that he started a campaign in June 2011 to get the piece into the top 40 singles chart (he succeeded: the song made it to number 32 on the singles chart on June 12th, 2011). A simple sampling of some of his better works - Nuvole Bianche, Reverie, Andare, Primavera and many others - is sufficient to convince an ordinary listener of its power, expressed through tunes of unnerving simplicity. Indeed, Einaudi himself claims that his music is highly introspective:
For me to compose, it must be a situation that I am very deeply focused on, and to be completely connected to my feelings. I could write any kind of music and it wouldn’t change my perspective. When I write a specific piece of music at any moment, it tends to be something special even to me, because whatever it is, it expresses something of the deepest desires within me... It has to move me emotionally or spiritually, as well as the intended audience.
- Ludovico Einaudi, www.examiner.com, 8th October 2010
His filmscore for This Is England earned him a nomination at the British Independent Film Awards, while his work on the Italian films Sotto Falso Nome and Luce Dei Mei Occhi bagged him Best Filmscore at the Avignon Festival and the Italian Awards of 2002 respectively. Fuori dal Mondo got him the Echo Klassic Preis, also in 2002, and he received the Grolla d'Ora Award for the film Acquario. He was also composer for the film Doctor Zhivago, and his other filmscores include a variety of Italian films. His recorded albums include Time Out, Stanze, Le Onde, Ultimi Fuochi, Eden Roc, La Scala Concert and Diario Mali. He continues composing to this day, and goes on numerous tours around Europe and, more recently, the United States of America.
In my own opinion, Einaudi's essential works include Primavera, Nuvole Bianche, I Giorni, Reverie and Fly. Enjoy them just as much as I did when I first discovered them.