Guitarist and composer Giovanni Piacentini is debuting his first album of solo compositions, CHIAROSCURO, on Navona Records. Piacentini, a summa cum laude graduate of Berklee, is today’s next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see what Piacentini can’t live without in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?
Such a difficult question! I remember my grandmother had a Laserdisc (remember those things?) of Andres Segovia playing at the palace of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I must have watched it a million times and I went on to learn almost every piece on that album. She also had one of Vladimir Horowitz live in St Petersburg playing Mozart that I absolutely loved. Then there were the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa (Tinseltown rebellion in particular).
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/creator?
The closest memory of a “decision” to devote myself to music was the night before I had to start pre-med school. My father was a doctor and I loved psychology so I thought it would be a logical profession for me. That night I had an epiphany and couldn’t bear the thought of having to give up the guitar or making music and decided to not study medicine.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?
A toothbrush (and toothpaste), a good book, and my guitar (obviously).
Was there a piece on the album that you found more difficult to compose than the others?
“Miniatures” without a doubt. The unusual orchestration had all kinds of balance challenges that I had to overcome (and hopefully did!). Rhythmically, it is the most complex and ambiguous as well.
What does this album mean to you personally?
It means a brief pause on my musical journey to look at the landscape and decide what works and what doesn’t. It is a huge stepping stone in terms of finding my own voice and learning my strengths and weaknesses as an artist. It is my attempt at getting my name out there and setting the bar high for myself.
Is there a specific feeling you want your listeners to tune into while hearing your work?
No. It’s the “tuning into” that I’m most interested in. The feeling that results from that are a mixture of genetics, personal history, and current circumstance and so it is impossible to control. I never think of that while creating.