Even if you don’t know the name, chances are you have been exposed to the music of Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi. He has dominated the classical album charts for nigh on 15 years, and that’s just here in the UK. On screen, Einaudi’s music has been effectively used in advertising, film and on television.
Why is Einaudi so popular?
The Turin-born musician has cornered the market in post-classical ambient music, and while he may be best known for his solo piano musings, some of his most popular works in recent years have been for small ensemble, and often feature electronics. It’s a very specific soundworld which Einaudi has crafted, one which is at once immersive, immediate and melodic.
Who influenced Einaudi?
Einaudi’s influences are wide-ranging; for sure, the time he spent studying with Berio and Stockhausen will have had an impact, not to mention a summer or two in the US at Tanglewood. His appreciation of minimalist master Philip Glass and Michael Nyman is certainly apparent in his own music.
Music of other cultures has also been a great influence on the composer and musician, who has consistently worked with talented international soloists and ensembles over the years. His directorship of the Notte della Taranta festival in Italy in 2010 and ’11 impacted his own music-making, too, and many of the musicians he worked with there appeared on subsequent recordings and tours.
When did Einaudi begin releasing albums?
In the 1990s he began releasing albums, such as Stanze, I giorni and Eden Roc, and each was more successful than the last. With tracks appearing in advertising and an increased presence on radio playlists, Einaudi began to attract international attention. Since then, each new album has been something of an event in itself.
Which Einaudi’s album should you listen to first?
Le onde (1996) – Einaudi’s second album, though his first solo release, is quintessential listening
Which is Einaudi’s best album so far?
In a Time Lapse (2013) – This ninth album is one of his most successful to date and features epic, poetic soundscapes, plus Daniel Hope on violin. If you must skip to one track, listen to ‘Newton’s Cradle’.
Is it true Einaudi played on an iceberg?
In 2016 Einaudi premiered his piece Elegy for the Arctic on an iceberg… in the Arctic. The audacious performance, which was a collaboration with Greenpeace, features the sound of the nearby ice breaking up.
What films has Einaudi been in?
Einaudi’s music has most famously been used in This is England (2006) and Untouchable (2011), though he has written original music for Italian films such as Le parole di mio padre (2001) and Sotto falso nome (2004). In 2002 he wrote the music for ITV’s film of Doctor Zhivago, starring Keira Knightley.
In 2021, tracks from several albums by Einaudi were used in the soundtrack to Nomadland, the Academy Award-winning film which told the stories of the van-dwelling community moving around the United States.
How old is Einaudi?
Einaudi was born on 23 November 1955 in Turin, Italy
Top image by Getty Images