Einaudi studied under Luciano Berio at the Conservatory of Milan, graduating with a diploma in composition. In 1982 his talents would win him a scholarship to the Tanglewood Music Festival. The experience opened Einaudi’s ears to new ideas like minimalism, world music influences and aspects of pop music. He spent the next several years composing for the ballet, including Sul Filo d’Orfeo (1984), Time-Out (1988) and The Wild Man (1991).
Einaudi turned a corner in 1996 with the release of his first collection of solo performances, entitled Le Onde. This record started Einaudi down the path towards becoming one of Europe’s best selling pianist/composers. 1999’s Eden Roc and 2001’s I Giorni, both for BMG, captured the solo piano world’s attention, both remaining best-sellers for years to come. While seemingly at the top of the composition world, Einaudi ventured into the world of film composition, a journey punctuated by his Best Film Score award in 2002 for his work on Luce Die Miei Occhi.
Einaudi noted interviews during that period that he missed concertizing, and began performing again regularly. New works blossomed from this effort, including 2004’s Una Mattina and 2006’s Diario Mali. 2007 welcomed Einaudi’s seventh studio album, titled Divenire, where he is accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. The follow-up, 2009’s Nightbook, was much more self-consciously reductionist, featuring solo piano minimally adorned with electronics, and saw Einaudi begin to be appreciated by fans of the “post-classical” school that he had arguably, at least in part, inspired.
A double-disc best-of, Islands, was released in 2011, and at the beginning of 2013 he signed a new deal with Decca and unveiled the long-gestating In a Time Lapse, which had been recorded in a remote monastery near Verona and saw a return to a more “classical”, chamber music sound.
Words: Evan C. Gutierrez