It is fitting that composer and pianist Fabrizio Paterlini was born and lives in the ancient northern Italian city of Mantua, Lombardy. A romantic and historically significant centre of musical and artistic excellence, the city’s elegance and cultural depth permeate Paterlini’s exquisite original solo piano compositions. Yet despite Mantua’s unavoidable influence in informing the composer’s work, his cinematic music is far from localized, or even recognizably Italian, instead tapping directly into universal human emotions.
Listeners and critics alike are torn as to how best label Paterlini’s beautiful sound. Neo-classical, Ambient, Minimalist and New Age have all been considered, but it is more pertinent to note some of the adjectives regularly used in appreciation of his sonic palette. Ethereal, soulful, lush, emotive, dreamy, delicate and, tellingly, passionate, all appear with unerring frequency. The composer himself describes his work as “like a glass of red wine on a summer evening,” in awareness of the calming effect of his reflective melodies on the listener.
Paterlini began playing piano at six-years-old. From the first moment he stroked the keys his life irrevocably changed, music becoming “a choice made every day…explored in all its aspects.” And so music and his life’s path became, and remain, inextricably linked; while he progresses as a musician and composer, so his development as a human being runs parallel. Formal study in his chosen artistic endeavour came with five years at Campiani’s Academy, Mantua’s Academy of Arts, from where he graduated in Music Theory.
The 1990s saw Paterlini extensively cutting his teeth as a gigging musician by performing rock classics, pop and jazz in local bands. While playing with these outfits he began to compose music, at this stage principally material of a progressive rock persuasion. As the decade and century drew to a close Paterlini reached an important decision, being to concentrate exclusively on the piano – the instrument that, in his own words, “best expresses his inner world.” Yet it was not until 2006 that he began composing music for solo piano.
In the following year his life’s musical journey took a momentous step with the release of his debut CD, Viaggi in Aeromobile (Travel in Aircraft) on the Music Center label. A collection of beautifully structured, graceful mood pieces displaying Paterlini’s natural touch and seemingly effortless talents, the release was warmly received in Italian specialist press. Performances of the album in its entirety followed at Feltrinelli bookstore and Ludas Club in Mantua, as well as in the pastorally apposite outdoor setting of Parco Giardino Sigurtà in Verona.
2008 saw the issue of an EP previewing Paterlini’s sophomore full-length, Viandanze, which was to follow on his new Fabrizio Paterlini Records imprint in December, 2009. In the interim the 8-track Remixed collection, now offered as a free download on his website, presented the composer’s material as subtly reworked soundscapes, comfortably easing them into cogent chillout territory. Viandanze was partially funded by donations from Paterlini’s burgeoning fanbase, and performed in 2010 at Teatro Verdi in Buscoldo, Mantua.
Further exploration of the pop potential in Paterlini’s contemplative music came in cahoots with the critically acclaimed British musician/producer, Thom Carter. The resultant Viandanze Re-imagined EP (Test Tube, 2010) enhanced Paterlini’s growing reputation as an artist with the ability to meld musical sensibilities spanning centuries. Prestige festival appearances then preceded the 2010 release of the flawless Fragments Found CD, again on Paterlini’s own label, drawing comparisons with luminaries such as Ludovico Einaudi, Erik Satie and George Winston.