Stefano Giust is an Italian improviser musician, drummer, composer and factotum of the record label Setola di Maiale. His work is focused on the broad spectrum of improvised and experimental music. He considers the practice of improvisation as an important aesthetic form in contemporary music and also an open process compatible with any idiom and musical situation. From over thirty years he works on these subjects into an acoustic, electric and electronic settings as well as in performative acts. He collaborates with musicians, composers, filmmakers, choreographers, dancers, acrobats, actors, poets and visual artists.
As a drummer, his playing is constantly evolving and focuses on rhythmic pulse and its destructuration, embracing a delicate and powerful angularity, asymmetrical rhythms, noise, silence, timbric intensity, tempo versatile, extended techniques. He avoids most clichés, nevertheless he manages to transmit a pulsation that doesn’t derive from a single beat, but by assembling several rhythmic such as “micro events”. In relating with the other musicians of an ensemble, he certainly works on the interplay, but he maintains a clear independence and the music, as a whole, develops itself more freely on different levels. As contrabassist Peter Jacquemyn wrote, “Stefano has a very personal approach on percussion, he hardly gives tempo, it’s all about suggest rhythm, and he has an extraordinary melodic development in his music, exceptional for percussionists. His playing is abstract and melodic, that fact leads a very interesting friction, it made music more adventurous, less predictable.” The description of Gianpaolo Salbego – for forty years first percussionist of the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, composer, musicologist, maestro at the conservatory of Bologna and director of the Octandre ensemble – is stimulating: “Intelligence and refinement of his percussion blend beautifully into the context, sobriety and the search into sound is a percussionist’s index, it seems to me difficult to label him drummer, I think he fits very well the term I normally use in these cases, ‘pure percussionist’, the one capable of investigating the percussive sound.” The only drums workshop he has attended with enthusiasm, was leaded by Han Bennink in Udine (1994). Anyway, his exploration isn’t really as eclectic as it may seem by looking at the discography, rather adheres to a peculiar aesthetic that is expressed and winds in different forms of so-called avant-garde music, such as free improvisation, free jazz, electronic music, graphic and instant composition, contemporary music, experimental rock, electroacoustic, acousmatic music, minimal techno or whatever you want to call it. Until now he has recorded more than one hundred albums with his own main projects or as co-leader.
He was born on March 22nd, 1968 in Unterseen (Interlaken, Switzerland) from Italian parents and raised in Pordenone, Italy, from the age of seven; currently he lives in Bologna and Pordenone. Self-taught musician, he has started recording experimental music when he was fourteen, under the name Opera (1982-1989) with works published in that years by Old Europa Cafe. In the first half of the 1980s, he was into a scene that was becoming what we now know as Cassette Culture or Tape Network. Since then, his approach remained uncompromising, embracing a DIY attitude.
The first group in which he plays drums, was a no-wave band named Red Glass Hearts (1986-87), but it was with Le Bambine (1987-95) which he has grown, playing hundreds of concerts and releasing four albums. When the group broke up, from their ashes borns Orbitale Trio (1995-1998), a tiny ensemble devoted to free improvisation, free jazz and experimentation. It’s starting from this trio – and partly from the solo album Ripercuotere (1994) – that his drumming began to focusing on rhythm (and sound) as a continuous and variable flow, no longer thought in terms of meter and measure.
Trough the years he has given concerts in Italy, England, Scotland, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Brasil and Vietnam.
He has played with Evan Parker, Gianni Gebbia, Tobias Delius, Mick Beck, Luc Ex, Giovanni Maier, Kris Wanders, Herb Robertson, Alessandro Bosetti, Steve Beresford, Tristan Honsinger, Lotte Anker, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Edoardo Marraffa, Guido Mazzon, Ken Hyder, Thollem McDonas, Peter Jacquemyn, Gianni Mimmo, Clayton Thomas, Roy Paci, Liz Allbee, Hélène Labarrière, Wolfgang Reisinger, Eugenio Sanna, Vincenzo Vasi, Marco Eneidi, Burkhard Beins, Massimo Falascone, Martin Mayes, Giorgio Pacorig, Cristiano Calcagnile, Chris Heenan, Patrizia Oliva, Edoardo Ricci, Keiko Higuchi, Carlo Actis Dato, Stéphane Rives, Luca Miti, Nils Gerold, Dominik Gawara, MaryClare Brzytwa, Luigi Lullo Mosso, Bob Marsh, Francesco Guerri, Walter Prati, Alessandra Novaga, Xabier Iriondo, Roberto Zorzi, Maresuke Okamoto, Gianni Lenoci, Jonas Kocher, Luciano Caruso, IoIoI, Marcello Magliocchi, Filippo Monico, Kanoko Nishi, Bart Maris, Nicola Guazzaloca, Domenico Caliri, Claudio Lodati, Vittorino Curci, Roberto Ottaviano, Andy Diagram, Roberto Bellatalla, Jacopo Andreini, Bruno Romani, Hannes Krebs, Tiziana Lo Conte, Guy Strale, Stefano Bartolini, Martin Wichtel, Valeria Merlini aka JD Zazie, Chris Iemulo, Marino José Malagnino, Marco Tabellini, Kilian Schrader, Ivan Pilat, João Pais Filipe, Luca Cartolari, Alessandro Cartolari, Karen O’Brien, Andrej Bako, Andrea Biondello, André Coelho, Fabio Sfregola, Mario Rechtern, Stefan Krist, Sergio Fedele, Vito Maria Laforgia, Giuseppe Mariani, Jeppa K Hall, Vincenzo Ramaglia, Claudio Comandini, poet Federico Tavan, Eric Arn, Michele Brieda, Daniele Pagliero, Mat Pogo, Fred Casadei, Renato Ciunfrini, Shawn Clocchiatti-Oakey, Cristiano Luciani, Marco Maurizi, Enrico Malatesta, Sakis Papadimitriou, Michel Le Maigne, Giorgio Simbola, Daniele Giannotta, Emmanuel Louis, Ak2deru, Luca Bernard, Filippo Giuffrè, Flavio Zanuttini, Dario Fariello, Giorgia Sylleou, Frantz Loriot, Andrea Laino, Tuia Cherici, Maurizio Suppo, Gareth Mitchell, Massimo Ceccarelli, Norontako Bagus Kentus, Alessandro Boscolo, Victor L. P. Young, Federico De Pizzol, Marco Crestani, Bratko Bibič, Claudia Cancellotti, Igor Alban Chevalier, Teho Teardo, Fulvia De Colle, Marco Carcasi, Pat Riské, Lorenzo Commisso, Paul Snowdon, Walter Belloni, Matthias Boss, Patrizio Pica aka Ben Presto, Bartolomeo Sailer aka Wang Inc., Luca Vortex, Sergio Cacherano Staropoli, Mike Goyvaerts, Margarida Guia, Marco Loprieno, Nicole Legros, Davide Lorenzon, Alessandro Fiorin Damiani, Alberto Collodel, Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, Lorenzo Gabriele, Francesco Rosati, Jonny Drury, Andrea Gulli, Paolo Pascolo, Manfred Riolsperger, Lucio Corenzi, Gianluca Varone, Errico De Fabritiis, Stefano Cogolo, Deborah Walker, Silvia Tarozzi, John Cuny, Massimo Miola, Rinus Van Alebeek, Mikaele Pellegrino, Herbert Lacina, Stefano Ferrian, Luca Pissavini, Alexandre Soares, Gustavo Costa, Henrique Fernandes, Beppe Scardino, Hervé Boghossian, Jeff Gburek, Edi Leo, Pino Montecalvo, Silvia Kastel, Ninni Morgia, Alessandro Calbucci, Noel Taylor, Diego Cofone aka Dicofone, Andrea Reali, Paed Conca, Luca Serrapiglio, Carlo Garof, Gian Luigi Diana, Liviano Mos, Roberto Lugli, Angelo Contini, Pat Moonchy, Bassirou Diakhate, Cristina Lodolo, Rudi Fischerlehner, Elisabetta Lanfredini, Francesco Calandrino, Marco Calandrino, Piero la Rocca, Dario De Filippo, Florinda Pecoraro, Gandolfo Pagano, Illi Adato, Camillo Amalfi, Roberto Fega, Paolo Sanna, Elia Casu, Agnes Szelag, Norman Teale aka The Norman Conquest, Paolo Falascone, John Hughes, Mario Arcari, Roberto Del Piano, Alessandra Bossa, Erika Sofia Sollo, Michele Anelli, poet Acg Vianen, Rik van Iersel, Raoul van der Weide, Siem Nozza, Edward Capel, Victor Suy Bio, Timo van Luijk, Marco Cristofolini, Julian Plaickner, Karolina Ossowska, Josh Kopeček, Thanh Thuy, Tra My, Pham Thi Hue, Nguyen Xuan Son aka Sonx, Kim Ngoc, Jakob Riis, Terje Thiwång, Henrik Frisk, Stefan Östersjö, Paolo Monti, Federico Gerini, Nicola Cattaneo, Franco Cortellessa, Giorgio Muresu, Alberto Mandarini, Emanuele Parrini, Paki Gennaro, Pierpaolo Capovilla, Kole Laca, Francesco Lobina, Alberto N. A. Turra, Guglielmo Pagnozzi, Silvia Cignoli, Matteo a Marca, Elisa Ulian, Christina Ruf, Armando Battiston, Dine Doneff aka Kostas Theodorou, Sylvia Bruckner, Andrea Grossi, Luca Calabrese, Alberto Tacchini, Fabio Volpi, Rosarita Crisafi, Fabio Mina, Ferdinando Faraò, Eloisa Manera, Riccardo Luppi, Claudio Lugo, the four poets Asana Ležečki (aka Vid Jeraj), Zarko Jovanovski, Ždral De Fis and Siniša Matasović, Pozsár Máté, Peter Ajtai, Miklós Szilveszter, Emil Gross, Boris Janje, Jošt Drašler, Tomaž Grom, Markus Krispel, Marta Sacchi, Dimitris Havellas, Niki Dolp, Jakob Gnigler, Simon Frick, Tomasz Leś, Erich Schachtner, Kézdy Luca, Chiao-Hua Chang, Yoko Miura, Riccardo Marogna, Gabriele Cancelli, Kei Yoshida, Alessandra Laganà, Tommaso Marletta, Cene Resnik, Angelo Russo, Albert Márkos, Heather Saumer, Ewald Oberleitner, Silvia Bolognesi, Bea Labikova, Massimo De Mattia, Carlo Mascolo, Francesco Partipilo, Steve Buchanan, Alessandro Seravalle, Alberto Novello, Daniele Onori.
With other musicians he gave life to many groups: Camusi, Mahakaruna Quartet (IT/SLO), Neu Musik Projekt, Transition (IT/DE), Nervidi, Magimc (IT/USA), Aghe Clope, One Lip 5, Crash Trio, The Five Roosters (IT/UK), TAI No-Orchestra, Gamra (IT/CH), Papiers Collés, Memento Mari (IT/BE), Carver, NotG, Ògun, Gebbia/Giust/Iriondo, L’Amorth Duo, Squame, Skinstrings, Suonimmagine, Kongrosian Trio, Ipersensity, Babelis Project, Setoladimaiale Unit, Gbur, Margine, Orbitale Trio, Kalte Haut Brennendes Fleisch, Le Bambine, Red Glass Hearts, Crime’o’Nautix, Opera.
He has recorded and/or performed live with Pierpaolo Capovilla (Obtorto Collo Tour 2014, Interiezioni 2016), Noma, Fred Casadei Spiritual Unity, Rediffusion (UK), Roy Paci’s Furious Alchemy Collective (IT/NL), Trio Solzenicyn, DIN-Collective (UK), Strähne Trio (DE), Lendormin, Bruno Romani Trio, Phil Minton’s Feral Choir (UK/IT), Gravida (IT/USA), Maisie, Vonneumann, Retrograde Collective (PL/USA/FR/IT), Larsen Lombriki, Kongrosian Quartet, Sektor 304 (PT), Vincenzo Ramaglia’s Chimera, Gruppo Oreste, Dokuro (USA), Being Together/Hanoi New Music Festival Ensemble (VN/IT/SE/DK/DE), Bologna Improvisers Orchestra, Collectif Inaudible (BE), Collettivo di Resistenza Culturale, Blistrap (UK), Star Pillow, Rik van Iersel’s Senga Etna (NL/BE/IT), Ridmo (AT/DE/SLO/IT/HU).
Throughout the years, he has shared bills and stages with many musicians, and some of them have completely different musical directions, such as Anthony Braxton, Alvin Curren, Primus, John Russell, Fugazi, SISU Percussion Ensemble, Mats Gustafsson, Carlos Giffoni, Negazione, John Edwards, Raphael Gualazzi, Robert Lowe, D.O.A., Manuel Mota, Kerosene, Chris Corsano, Fuzztones, John Wiese, Silverfish, Marta sui Tubi, Paul Rogers, Fishbones, Verbal Assoult, Jozef van Wissem, Seers, Marphy’s Low, Michael Edwards, John Butcher, Karlheinz Essl, Zu, Flashtones, Freak Antoni, Giorgio Nottoli, Joe McPhee, GX Jupitter-Larsen and Gavin Bryars.
He has played at international festivals as Hanoi New Music Festival (Vietnam), Angelica 2018 Festival Internazionale di Musica (Bologna), Angelica 2016 Concert Season (Bologna), Mostra SESC de Artes (São Paulo, Brazil), BRDA Contemporary Music Festival (Smartno, Slovenia), Saturnalia Festival 2017 (Milano), MIBnight Jazz Festival (Bremen, Germany), Defonija (Ljubljana), Interpenetration Festival (Graz ’10, ’13), Chilli Jazz Festival (Heiligenkreuz im Lafnitztal, Austria ’14, ’15, ’16), ImproCON (Kumrovec, Croazia), Axes Beuk Festival (Eindhoven), TAI Fest #2, #3 (Milano ’15, ’16), Drittes Kleines Festival Der Anderen Art (Bern), Italian Jazz Rebels (Bologna), Festival Sons Libérés (Bruxelles), Possible Setting Amirani Festival (Milano), Retrograde In The Dromosphere Festival (Poznań, Poland), Tarcento Jazz Festival (Udine), Fonomanie (Bari), Pre Sonar Event (London), Corde Pizzicate (Torino), Scatole Sonore (Roma ’07, ’08, ’09), Mopomoso (London), Note Non Note / Nuove Partiture e Improvvisazione (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma), Arezzo Wave, Venetian Industries Festival (Venezia), Šinafest (Idrija, Slovenia), Scrusci Festival (Alcamo, Trapani), Asti Musica 2014, Villa Ada – Roma incontra il Mondo, Aeson Festival (Parco Isonzo Fiumicello, Udine); artistic contexts as the 48th Venice Biennale (’99), B.I.G. Biennale Internazionale Arte Giovane (Torino), Hic Et Nunc (Udine ’02, ’03, ’04), Azioni Inclementi (Vicenza), Oltre il Tempo / Arte Open 2017 Itinerari Possibili (Gorizia); art galleries as Fondazione Mudima (Milano), Neon Campobase (Bologna), Italo Chiodi Studio (Bergamo), Villa Manin (Udine ’02, ’05, ’06, ’14), Illuseum (Amsterdam), Galleria Contemporaneo (Venezia), Museolaboratorio (Città Sant’Angelo, Pescara), Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea di Monfalcone (Gorizia); theaters as Hanoi Youth Theater (Vietnam), Teatro Santana (São Paulo, Brazil), Teatro Miela (Trieste ’90, ’04), Passos Manuel (Porto), Teatro Abeliano (Bari), Petit Théâtre Mercelis (Bruxelles), Teatro Verdi (Piacenza), Teatro San Leonardo (Bologna), Spazio Sì (Bologna), Teatro Le Serre (Grugliasco, Torino), Teatro Gustavo Modena (Genova), Sala Piatti (Bergamo Alta), Educatorio della Provvidenza (Torino), Teatro Verdi (Pordenone), Teatro De Micheli (Ferrara), ex Teatro delle Marionette (Milano), Teatro Herberia (Rubiera); clubs as Vortex (London), Area Sismica (Forlì ’11, ’12, ’18), Klub Gromka, Metelkova (Ljubljana), Postgarage (Graz), Klub Gustaf-Pekarna (Maribor), Wendel (Berlin), Spazio Aereo (Marghera), Fluc (Wien), The Klinker (London ’07, ’08), Masada (Milano), Celeste – Neu New York/Vienna Institute Of Improvised Music (Wien), Orion (Roma), TPO (Bologna), Magnolia (Milano), La Centrale (Bordeaux), Druso Circus (Bergamo), Bloom (Milano), Sowieso (Berlin), Hiroshima Mon Amour (Torino), Fuori Orario (Reggio Emilia), Viper Theatre (Firenze), Sounds Food (Cuneo), Blutopia (Roma), Hybrida (Udine), Dobialab (Gorizia), Industrie 9 (Luzern); cultural centers as ZDB / Galeria Zé Dos Bois (Lisboa), Macao / Center for Art, Culture and Research (Milano), Buro-Beukorkest / Temporary Art Centre TAC (Eindhoven), DomDom-The Hub For Experimental Music & Art (Zone 9, Hanoi, Vietnam), Visionario (Udine ’11, ’18), Reitschule (Bern), Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, KUD France Prešeren (Ljubljana), Rialtosantambrogio (Roma), The Foundry (London), Amann Studio (Wien), Centro Stabile di Cultura (Vicenza), Staalplaat (Berlin), Leoncavallo (Milano), Rivolta (Marghera), Italijanski inštitut za kulturo v Sloveniji (Ljubljana), Morion (Venezia), Gängeviertel (Hamburg), The Noise Upstairs (Manchester) WIM (Zürich); ancient or historical sites as St. Zeno Abbey (Pisa), Confraternita dei Battuti (Vicoforte), Villa Capriglio (Torino), ruins of the church of Annunziata (Alcamo, Trapani), Idrija Mercury Mine – Unesco 2012 (Slovenia), Fortezza di Vinadio (Cuneo), Sala Santa Maria (Acqui Terme), Piazza Libertà (Campi Salentina), Castello di Moncalieri / Giardino delle Rose (Moncalieri); Universities as Academy Of Fine Arts of Bologna, DAMS – Discipline of Arts Music and Spectacle of Turin, IUAV – University of Architecture in Venice, IED – Istituto Europeo di Design, Milano; audio-video/multidisciplinary festivals as Danae Festival (Milano), Lago Film Fest (Revine Lago), Torture Garden (Buttrio, Toppo Florio’s park), Festival Teatro e Letteratura (Bardonecchia); live performance at radio broadcasters as Resonance 104.4FM (London Musicians’ Collective, London ’05, ’09), Radio Kairos (Bologna), Radio Onde Furlane (Udine). He has performed live soundtracks for video art and movies by Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Stan Brakhage, Tuia Cherici, Ciprì e Maresco, Mario Bava, Derek Jarman, Roberto Masotti, Gianluca Lo Presti, Fania Palma / Enea Garrapa; light performances with Hybrida Light Show, Max Klein, VJ Hellstone and others.
As composer of acousmatic, electronic and creative music, some of his works have been used by experimental film directors such as Giovanni Andreotta and Fabrizio Personeni; on video-installations by Gorazd Krnc, Toni Mestrovic, Alessandro Amaducci, Sammlerfamilie/Filoart, Tullio De Gennaro, Renzo Cevro-Vukovic, Alan De Cecco aka Soda, Iris Ollschewski, Lorenzo Commisso; he has performed the artistic scores of Fulvia Spizzo. Participation to AD’A-Area D’Azione (Rocca Sforzesca, Imola), Sguardi Sonori 2008 – Festival of Media and Time Based Art (CAM Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, Napoli), Sguardi Sonori 2014 – Stars (Museo Pietro Canonica, Villa Borghese, Roma). Other works have been used for a collective video and theatre piece, performed at the National Theatre of El Salvador (San Salvador). The multimedia project Papiers Collés has been rewarded by Italian Ministry of Instruction – Department of Arts and Research (’05).
In 1999 he was performing at the 48th Venice Biennale, playing two concerts with two different versions of Setoladimaiale Unit, at Chiostro dei Tolentini and in the Italian Pavilion (Giardini).
In 2003, his practice of networking and his musical aesthetic, have been analyzed in the degree thesis cum laude of Ivan Dal Cin, entitled “L’Arte Partecipante”, University of Udine, Italy.
In 2016, at the invitation of art director Massimo Simonini, he is curator of a series of four concerts, one of which present also as a musician, for the Concert Season 2016/2017 of Angelica – Centro di Ricerca Musicale, Teatro San Leonardo (Bologna). Also for the following Concert Season 2017/2018, he is curator of a concert.
The 25th anniversary of Setola di Maiale was celebrated at the Angelica Festival Internazionale di Musica on May 16th 2018, with a sold-out concert of the Setoladimaiale Unit composed of seven musicians, for the occasion together with Evan Parker, with an introduction of gongs played by composer Philip Corner and choreographer Phoebe Neville.
In 2016, he was invited in France at the Cascade (Bourg St Andéol), by choreographer and director Caterina Mochi Sismondi, as a tutor on John Cage’s life and work, for the blucinQue Company (Turin), concerning the theater piece “We 273″ by Mochi Sismondi and dedicated to Cage.
Even in 2017 and 2018, he continues his collaboration with the blucinQue Company, this time for the music of theater piece Il Volo di Giulietta, inspired by the famous tragedy of William Shakespeare. Original music composed along with Patrizia Oliva, with adaptations from Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet of 1935; direction and choreography by Caterina Mochi Sismondi, with Jonnathan Angel Rodriguez, Elisa Mutto, Rio Ballerani, Andrea Paola Martínez, Marta Rizzi, Francesca Netto, Lukas Vaca Medina, Federico Ceragioli and Camilo Jimenez.
His work has been broadcast on a number of radio stations, including Rai Radio Tre, Resonance 104.4FM (London), Radio Televizija Slovenija, Taran’s Free Jazz Hour (Europe), Wave Farm’s WGXC 90.7FM (New York), Radio Popolare, Radio-UAT (México), Radio Onde Furlane, Triple R Radio (Australia), Radio Base 81, 2SER/Curved Radio (Australia), Radio Città Fujiko, KFJC (San Francisco) and Radio Bremen (Germany).
In addition, he runs Setola di Maiale, a record label devoted to creative and experimental music since 1993. The label has released his work as well as the work of many international improvisers and composers: up to now he has produced more than 370 titles involving 600 musicians. Connected to this project, he has organized three festivals (Avanguardia Clandestina 1997, Alterazioni Sonore 1997, Festival Setolare 2003 for the tenth anniversary).
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