Walter Branchi

World premiere

Walter Branchi:
Ecstatic Static

For electronics & solo cello
Madeleine Shapiro, cello

Thursday, October 9, 8pm
New York Friends Meeting House
15 Rutherford Place
(enter on 15th St between 2nd and 3rd Aves)
$15 / $10 students, seniors, and EMF Subscribers

Walter Branchi's approach to environmental music is unique. His music, quiet, calm, often meditative, creates a thoughtful connection to other sounds in the environment. The windows are open at the New York Friends Meeting House to let other sounds come in. As the first event of the festival, Branchi's music is a call to us to be quiet and to listen thoughtfully to the sounds around us.

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Notes by the composer

Electronic sounds. First performance
"The music is so faint that it does not surpass in intensity the sound of a fly and it is so non-invasive and impalpable that it just barely tinges the background noise of the city."

Ora, di terra
Electronic sounds.
"An elaborate counterpoint fabric that enhances the transformation of the individual 'voices', emphasizing their plasticity. "

Shapes of the Wind (Volturnus – Favonius – Aquilo – Auster)
Madeleine Shapiro, cello, and electronic sounds. First performance
"Four of the intermediate points on the wind rose are Volturnus or wind of the Southeast, Favonius wind of the West, Aquilo wind of the Northwest, Auster wind of the south. Even though a wind is always a wind, the direction from which it blows sets the cello strings vibrating in a different way."


Walter Branchi
Walter Branchi, composer, is among the pioneers of electronic music in Italy. He has taught electronic music composition at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Conservatory G. Rossini in Pesaro. He has been in residence at Princeton University, Stanford University, and Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), and worked with Unesco in Italy in publishing theoretical and technical articles and books on electronic music. His music is performed at venues throughout the world.
Madeleine Shapiro
Madeleine Shapiro, cellist, concert producer, educator, and founding director of ModernWorks, performs throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. From 1974-1996, she was cellist and co-director of The New Music Consort, which toured the United States and Europe and presented premiere performances of works by Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Charles Wuorinen, and Mario Davidovsky. She currently directs the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the Mannes College of Music.


Walter Branchi's music creates a soft, calm, and beautiful ambience for thought and awareness in which his sounds become part of the space and the music, in his words, "without beginning or end loses its own borders and becomes part of the world around it."

Branchi writes:

"Ecstatic Static is a composition created expressly for the New York Friends Meeting House. It is a quiet voyage through the silences within this place of worship, the sounds of the surrounding city, and the music that weaves through them.

Walter Branchi speaking a few words

"It is a work in three parts that are seperable but not seperate. It is built out of the silence – the noise that is the ‘silence’ of New York City. The last composition was written specifically for Madeleine Shapiro, cellist. The work begins and ends with a few minutes of silence.

"In general, my music is not about an audience isolated in a concert hall. On the contrary, what I propose is a listening experience, an experience of music that is integrated with the world, that is heard through the complexity of the live existing sounds and noises of the location in which it is played. And vice versa, a music that leads us to hear the sounds of and around the location in which it is played.

"So, in other words, my music is intended not just to be heard. It is actually music that I think of as a means for listening. By this I mean that it is conceived as open, as a collaboration with the sounds of the surrounding environment."