Stacey Mastrian

Stefan Litwin
La Lontananza
Program note by Richard Teitelbaum


Electronic Music Foundation
in collaboration with
NYU Interactive Arts

Music by
Luigi Nono

Four Compositions

Monday, February 27, 8pm

Frederick Loewe Theater
35 West 4th Street
New York, New York

Admission is free but reservations by email to events[at] are strongly advised.

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Series overview



Alvise Vidolin, artistic director
Thomas Beyer, technical director

La Fabbrica Illuminata / The Illuminated Factory (1964)
    Voice and recorded sounds
    Stacey Mastrian, voice

Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz / Remember what they did to you in Auschwitz (1965)
    Fixed media

... sofferte onde serene ... / ... suffering quiet waves ... (1977)
    Piano and recorded piano sounds
    Stefan Litwin, piano

Con Luigi Dallapiccola / With Luigi Dallapiccola (1979)
    Six percussionists and live electronics
    NYU Percussion Ensemble, David Fein conducting, Jonathan Haas director
    Alvise Vidolin, electronics


Luigi Nono
The most important of Italian composers in the late 20th century, Luigi Nono is known as a successor to the spare pointalistic style of Webern's earlier music and for his use of space in later works, as in Prometeo. He is also known for the political strength of his music, as in the anti-facism of Il Canto Sospeso, based on letters by resistance workers during WWII, and the anti-capitalism of La Fabbrica Illuminata.

Alvise Vidolin
Audio director and researcher, Alvise Vidolin has worked with Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, and many other composers on electronic realisations on their works at The Venice Biennale, IRCAM, and many other venues. He is co-founder of CSC at the University of Padova, where he conducts research in computer-assisted composition, and he is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Luigi Nono Archive.

Stacey Mastrian
Stacey Mastrian's vocal repertoire ranges from Bach to Luigi Nono. Her performance of Nono's Canti di vita e d'amore ... at the Konzerthaus in Berlin was hailed in the Berliner Zeitung as ‘very impressive’. She has sung at the Fondazione Cini in Venice, Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur in Montreal, with the Konzerthaus Orchestra in Berlin, the Nova Amadeus Orchestra in Rome, and from coast to coast in the US.

Stefan Litwin
Stefan Litwin, pianist, has performed as soloist with orchestras and chamber groups throughout the world. He has worked with Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, and other leading composers. He is George C. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina, and the Akademie der Künste Berlin recently established a Stefan-Litwin-Archive for his compositions, recordings, and writings.

David Fein
David Fein, percussionist and conductor, has conducted the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Merrick Symphony, Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Contemporary Dance System, Doctors Orchestral Society, New York Youth Symphony, New Jersey Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Northeastern Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra.

Jonathan Haas
Jonathan Haas, timpanist, has championed new music by adventurous programming such as showcasing the music of Edgard Varèse under the auspices of Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series. He is principal timpanist of the Aspen Chamber Orchestra and principal percussionist of the American Symphony Orchestra. He performs with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony. He is the Director of Percussion Studies at NYU Steinhardt.


Luigi Nono, in general, through the 1950s and 1960s, equated musical revolution with social revolution. His music often portrayed the brutalities of capitalism and facism, as in the following two compositions.

La Fabbrica Iluminata

The occasion for La Fabbrica Iluminata came when Nono was asked to create a new composition for the inaugural concert of the Italy Prize 1964. Since the concert was to take place in Genoa, he went to Italsider di Cornigliano, a steel mill near Genoa, to record factory sounds. He wrote, "Once in the tumultuous and incandescent reality of Cornigliano, I was pained, not so much for the spectacular sounds and fantastic visions of the hot and cold mill machines, and not for the implacable ritual of controlling the furnace, but in fact, not remaining abstractly fascinated, I was disturbed instead for the violence that was manifest in the conditions of work. As a consequence, the material and the text for La Fabbrica Illuminata became clear for me. At Cornigliano, I recorded acoustic material in the hot and cold mills and the furnaces; and more, the voices of the workers." After recording, Nono composed the piece at the electronic music studio in Milan, using the recordings from Cornigliano, electronically-generated sounds, and recordings of the chorus of the RAI Milan, with Carla Henius, mezzosoprano. The text for La Fabbrica Illuminata was written by Giuliano Scabia with four verses by Cesare Pavese for the finale.

Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz

In Nono's words, "That which neither words nor theater can explain or represent, the millions of deaths in nazi concentration camps, music is necessary ... " For Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz (Remember what they did to you at Auschwitz), Nono recorded the sounds of children (from the chorus of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano), sounds and phonemes performed by the soprano Stefania Woytowitz, and instrumental and electronic sounds. Nono wrote: "The preparation and choice of material was followed by sound processing using the instruments of the electronic music studio, then research and experimentation, and finally creating the composition."

In the 1970s, his thoughts were more on relating the performed sounds of acoustic instruments with electronic transformations, time displacements, and synthesized sounds.

... sofferte onde serene ...

About ... sofferte onde serene ... (... suffering quiet waves ... ), Nono wrote, "At my home, in the Giudecca in Venezia, one hears the sounds of various bells, in repetitive variation, with varying accents, in the day and the night, through the fog and with the sun. They're a signal of life on the lagoon, on the sea. They come invited to our work, to meditation, as a warning. And life continues in the suffering and serenity necessary for the 'equilibrium of the profound inside,' as Kafka said." ... sofferte onde serene ... was written for the well-known pianist Maurizio Pollini. The pianist plays with recordings of the piano (recorded by Pollini), as Nono wrote, "resulting in two acoustic pianos that often confound, often annul the mechanical peculiarity of the recording."

Con Luigi Dallopiccola

About Con Luigi Dallopiccola, Nono writes: “This is not an homage ... nor a simple act of veneration. Con Luigi Dallopiccola is an attempt to re-present as in these words the multiplicity of spaces in his musical thought and in the concreteness of his scores, performances, and critical studies. “A space of immense and infinite worlds,” as Giordano Bruno wrote in 1584, that informs the knowledge of Luigi Dallapiccola ... What does it mean to point to an Italian lyricism in Luigi Dallapiccola without realizing that the statement is a banality, incapable of explaining the detailed articulations in the musical structures of Luigi Dallapiccola? ... What I want to do, together with the great friendship that ties me to him, is re-present the loved MAESTRO ...”