In 2005, Francesco Prode collaborated with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Kürten, Germany, after which he threw himself into the world of contemporary music with both enthusiasm and discipline. This rich experience prompted him to begin a process of intensive study and research, which would result in him performing a number of contemporary compositions both as a soloist and in chamber music groups. These performances require heightened musical sensitivity and great technical skill.
From 2009 to 2010 he was the pianist for the Parco della Musica Contemporanea, founded by the Music for Rome Association at the Parco della Musica Auditorium.
Francesco Prode was born in Rome in 1969. He began playing piano aged nine and achieved the highest possible marks, with distinction and special commendation as the best graduated at the Santa Cecilia Conservatoire in Rome. He honed his skills still further at the London Royal College of Music under John Barstow, the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Hans Graf, the Russische Schule in Freiburg under Vitalij Margulis and finally in Milan with Vincenzo Balzani and Bruno Canino.
His repertoire covers everything from Bach to Ravel, Berio, Furrer, Haas, Sciarrino and Fedele. Combining music from different and distant time periods has always been a staple of his concerts, which invariably include pieces by both classical and modern composers.
In 2008 he played for Nuova Consonanza, combining music with video media. He inaugurated the first International Electroacoustic Music Festival in Rome with a rendition of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte for piano, percussion and electronic sounds, at the Tor Vergata University Auditorium in Rome and the Santa Cecilia Conservatoire University Hall. Later that year, he formed Eko Ensemble and performed the same piece in a number of Italian cities including Milan, Palermo, Trapani and Latina, to widespread public and critical acclaim.
In 2009 he inaugurated the second edition of the International Electroacoustic Music Festival in Rome with music by Riccardo Bianchini and Giacinto Scelsi and he closed the Nuova Consonanza Contemporary Music Festival with pieces by Beat Furrer, Gyorgy Ligeti and Franco Evangelisti.
In 2010 he performed a global premier of Steve Reich’s 2×5 and City Life in the Sinopoli Hall of the Parco della Musica in Rome. He also performed Rotative for two pianos and percussion by Giacinto Scelsi and in the same year Hommages by Georg Friederick Haas for two pianos tuned a quarter of a tone apart and played by a single musician. This was the first time the piece had been performed in Italy. He performed Piano Sonata and 90+ at the American Academy as a tribute to Elliot Carter. In November 2010 he inaugurated the third edition of the International Electroacoustic Music Festival in Rome with a performance of Transicion II by Mauricio Kagel for piano, percussion and electronic sounds. Recognising his exceptional abilities as a performer, Nuova Consonanza invited him to play for the finalists of the Franco Evangelisti International Composition Contest, involving compositions for piano and electronics.
His other projects include, in 2011, performing Stockhausen’s Hymnen together with the Rome Philharmonic. He delivered a seminar at the Santa Cecilia Conservatoire on musical performance technique for piano and live electronics. During the same year, he was invited to take part in the Brinkhallin Music Festival in Turku, Finland and the Milan Conservatoire Summer Festival in the Puccini Hall. In September 2011 he performed Le Tombeau de Messiaen by Harvey at the 4th Electroacoustic Music Festival in Rome, with Denis Smalley as sound engineer.
In March 2012 his performance of Kontakte by Stockhausen was broadcast live on Italy’s Radio 3, and his concert at the Morricone Auditorium in the Tor Vergata University in Rome was streamed live on Radio Cemat. In October he gave the closing performance of the 5th Emufest (International Electroacoustic Music Festival) playing Traiettoria by Marco Stroppa and Piano Nets by Denis Smalley with the two composers as sound engineers. In 2012, the year of John Cage, he played Winter Music for the Rome Philharmonic which was recorded by Radio 3.
In December 2012 he collaborated with German composer Mark Andre on the De Musica project organised by Nuova Consonanza. The public and critical reactions to the Italian premier of piano composition iv 1 were extremely positive: “As for Prode, he is phenomenal. A virtuoso in technique, highly imaginative, a true re-creator…” (Mario Gamba, il Manifesto).
In 2013, he delivered further performances for Nuova Consonanza, Parco della musica in Rome, the “Barattelli” Concert Society in l’Aquila, and in collaboration with various internationally renowned composers in several Italian and European cities. In Autumn 2013 he will play Nono… sofferte… onde serene with Alvise Vidolin as sound engineer and Ivan Fedele Due notturni con figura with the composer as sound engineer for the Rome Electronic Music Festival at Santa Cecilia. He has been nominated as the official pianist for the 2014 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.