Buonomo, Aldo

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Antonio Buonomo


Born: June 21, 1928

Country: Napoli, Italy

Studies: Conservatorio S. Pietro a Maiella, Concervatorio B. Marcello(Venezia)


In the preface to his biography Antonio Buonomo says that “Being born into a family of musicians doesn't give you much choice”. The fifth of ten children, he began studying music before he even knew how to read or write. He was already performing at the age of 12 (as a conservatory student), playing the trumpet and drums with his father in many nightclubs in Naples in front of an audience of American soldiers from the Allied Forces. A career that was built on “coming up through the ranks” and playing just about any musical genre, from popular music and marching bands to jazz and contemporary music.

“His career is immense and he has come a long way” as Il Centro (Abruzzo's newspaper) wrote. He was director of one of the first contemporary rhythmic music bands and professor at the conservatories N.Piccinni in Bari, S.Pietro a Majella in Naples, Luisa D'Annunzio in Pescara and Santa Cecilia in Rome. His didactic works were used as exams in national and international competitions and were adopted by high musical culture institutions in Italy and abroad. He has held seminars and specialization courses on an international level, training an entire generation of musicians with his method that are now featured soloists in illustrious orchestras and conservatory professors.

Antonio Buonomo has to be given the credit of being the first one in Italy ever to prove that percussion instruments had a life of their own, since they include all parameters of the triple music root: rhythm, melody and harmony. So, these instruments were not (as many people used to think) a rhythm section to accompany other instruments or to simulate weather phenomena such as thunders or storms. He continued his cultural operation until percussion courses were established inside Italian conservatories. He carried it out by writing ad-hoc compositions and participating in radio and TV programs, as well as by playing pieces for percussion, that had never been performed in Italy, during the concerts he conducted. Having achieved great success among young people through daily concerts that were even held in schools (from middle schools to universities), in 1975 he recorded the first classical, pop and contemporary all-percussion Italian music record in which he gathered the outcome of his studies and ideas. He became much more popular as his artistic commitment grew, of course. Italy's most influential newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, printed the following in November 1987: “He is a real authority on rhythm: as an internationally known percussionist and virtuoso, Antonio Buonomo is a versatile and passionate teacher who has published many works on his favorite subject, from pure percussion technique and rhythm perspectives.” The most significant steps of his career, during which he has known and has collaborated with music legends like Stravinsky, Hindemith and others, can be summarized as follows:

  • he has participated in major European festivals, like the International Contemporary Music Festival at the Venice Biennial (1960/61) and the Edinburgh International Festival (1963);
  • he participated in the Italy on Stage in New York City with Irene Papas (1986);
  • solo performances of contemporary music premiered in Italy;
  • tours outside of Europe.

In 1983, the Minister of Public Education invited him to be part of the commission that drafted the program for percussion and solfège study for percussionists; he was called by the Opera Theatre in Rome during the Jubilee year to act as assistant conductor and music consultant, contributing to the creation of the Missa Solemnis pro Jubileo, by Franco Mannino, which had its world premiere at the Colosseum. His debut as author, together with his brother Aldo, dates back to 1965 with L’arte della percussione (The art of the percussion): the first European treatise, in three volumes (with guiding records) on classical, jazz and African-Latin-American percussion. It was a huge international success and probably the first time that an American publisher (Leeds Music Corporation in New York) showed an interest for Italian didactic books, requesting editor Suvini-Zerboni they be translated into English.[1]

Works for Percussion

50 Nuovi Studi - mallets
Adagio-Minuetto-Finale - Percussion Quintet
Assolo - Vibraphone
Fantasia per percussione e piano - Multiple Percussion; Piano
Five Danze Sud-Americane - Percussion Quintet
Marching Together - Percussion Duo
Parade (Buonomo) - Multiple Percussion; Piano
Percussion Holiday - Percussion Quintet
Percussion Time - Percussion Quintet
Rhythmic Mood - Percussion Duo
Suonando Solo - Multiple Percussion
Tema Ostinato - Multiple Percussion
Trio (Buonomo) - Percussion Trio
Twelve Pieces for Solo Timpani - Timpani
Venti Studi Per Timpani - Timpani