Pietro Grossi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pietro Grossi (15 April 1917 in Venice – 2002 in Florence) was an Italian composer pioneer of computer music, visual artist and hacker ahead of his time. He began experimenting with electronic techniques in Italy in the early sixties.[1]

Pietro Grossi and HomeArt, 2001


Pietro Grossi was born in Venice, and he studied in Bologna eventually taking a diploma in composition and violoncello. In the sixties Grossi taught at the Conservatory of Florence and began to research and experiment with electroacoustic music.[2] From 1936 to 1966 was the first cellist of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra. Grossi began to experiment with electroacoustic music in the 1950s. By 1962, he had become the first Italian to carry out successful research in the field of computer music.

In 1963, he turned his interest to electronic music and founded the S 2F M (Studio di Fonologia Musicale di Firenze) which made its headquarters in Florence at the Conservatorio, and he also became a lecturer in this subject.

In 1964 he organized events with the association Contemporary Musical Life that introduced in Italy the work of John Cage. In 1965 he obtained the institution of the first professorship of Electronic Music in Italy.

In 1967 he made the first experiences in computer music.[3]

In 1970 he made his first approaches to musical telematics organizing a performance with a link between Rimini (Pio Manzù Foundation) and Pisa (CNUCE). By invitation of lannis Xenakis, he presented another telematic concert between Pisa and Paris in 1974. His contributions to the development of new technological musical instruments and to the creation of software packages for music-processing design have been fundamental.

He has not limited his work to the musical world, but also engaged in contemporary art. In the eighties he was working on new forms of artistic production oriented toward the use of personal computers in the visual arts. Grossi started to develop visual elaborations created on a personal computer with programs provided with "self-decision making" and that works out the concept of HomeArt (1986), by way of the personal computer, raises the artistic aspirations and potential latent in each one of us to the highest level of autonomous decision making conceivable today, and the idea of personal artistic expression: “a piece is not only a work (of art), but also one of the many “works” one can freely transform: everything is temporary, everything can change at any time, ideas are not personal anymore, they are open to every solution, everybody could use them”.[4] Grossi has always been interested in every form of artistic expression. The last step of his HomeArt, is the creation of a series of unicum books, electronically produced and symbolically called HomeBooks (1991): each work is completely different from the others, thanks to the strong flexibility of the digital means. Sergio Maltagliati will continue this project creating autom@tedVisuaL software in 2012, which generates always different graphical variations. It is based on HomeArt’s Q.Basic source code. This first release autom@tedVisuaL 1.0 has produced 45 graphical single samples, which have been sammled and published.

He collaborated in order to experiment with electronic sound and composition with the computer music division of "CNUCE" (Institute of the National Research Council of Pisa).[5]

Grossi’s latest multimedia experiments were with interactive sound and graphics. His later works involved automated and generative visual music software, autom@tedVisualMusiC 1.0 which he extended beyond the realms of music into the interactive work for the Internet, conceiving and collaborating with Sergio Maltagliati [6] in 1997 of the first Italian interactive work for the web netOper@,[7] entertaining in his own house study the first on-line performance.

Selected works[edit]

  • 1961 Progretto 2-3 this piece consisting of several different high monotones that follow one another, is extremely minimal and ambient, controlled by a computer algorithm.
  • 1965 Battimenti an electronic work composed and realized from “working material” for the electronic Studio di Fonologia Musicale (S 2F M), made by the 94 combinations of near frequencies.
  • 1969 Collage where the concepts of music being an open process where no work of music is a finished piece but rather something to be manipulated.
  • 1980 Computer Music transcription and elaborations (with Soft TAUMUS synthesizer TAU2, IBM 370/168 Institutes of CNR CNUCE and IEI) from the following authors: Bach, Scarlatti, Paganini, Brahms, Chopin, Strawinskij, Debussy, Joplin, Satie, Webern, Hindemith, Stockhausen.
  • 1985-90 Mixed Unicum another ambient drone piece, similar to Progretto 2-3 and yet far more varied and rewarding, as the shifting tones create an alien topography of sound.
  • 1986 HomeArt Grossi has developed the concept of HomeArt. It consists of completely automated and generative visual processes, based on simple Qbasic computer programs .


  • Girolamo De Simone, Il dito nella marmellata, Musica d'arte a Firenze, 2005, ed. Nardini - ISBN 9788840427041
  • Francesco Giomi ; Marco Ligabue, L' istante zero. Conversazioni e riflessioni con Pietro Grossi, 1999, ed. Sismel - ISBN 88-87027-65-X
  • Lelio Camilleri, Pietro Grossi. Musica senza musicisti, scritti 1966-1996, ed. CNUCE CNR Pisa
  • Lelio Camilleri, Computational Musicology in Italy, Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST), The MIT Press, Cambridge, U.S.A., vol. 21 n. 4, 1988, pp. 454-456.
  • Francesco Giomi, The Italian Artist Pietro Grossi. From Early Electronic Music to Computer Art, in Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST), The MIT Press, Cambridge, U.S.A., vol. 28 n. 1, 1995, pp. 35-39.


  • Visioni di vita spaziale (Edizioni Leonardi Srl under licence to Pirames International Srl, 1967)
  • Elettrogreca (Edizioni Leonardi Srl under licence to Pirames International Srl, 1967)
  • GE-115 Computer Concerto (General Electrics, 1968)
  • Elettro musica N.1 (Edizioni Leonardi Srl under licence to Pirames International Srl, 1971)
  • Elettro musica N.2 (Edizioni Leonardi Srl under licence to Pirames International Srl, 1971)
  • Computer Music (CNUCE/CNR, 1972)
  • Atmosfera & elettronica (Edizioni Leonardi Srl under licence to Pirames International Srl, 1972)
  • Computer Music - Bach/Grossi (LP, Ayma, 1980)
  • Paganini al computer (LP, Edipan, 1982)
  • Computer Music - Satie/Joplin/Grossi (LP, Edipan, 1983)
  • Sound Life (LP, Edipan, 1985)
  • Battimenti (CD, ants records, 2003)
  • Suono Segno Gesto Visione a Firenze 2 -Grossi, Chiari, Cardini, Mayr, Lombardi, Aitiani, Maltagliati (Atopos 2005)
  • Musicautomatica (CD, Die Schachtel, 2008) [1]
  • BATTIMENTI 2.5 audio Cd - numbered copy of limited edition / Cd

DVD video[edit]

  • CIRCUS_8 DVD video Quantum Bit Limited Edition / (2008) QuBIT 005
  • CIRCUS_5.1 DVD (digital edition) Quantum Bit Netlabel /QuBIT 013


  1. ^ Girolamo De Simone (2002-02-23). "Goodbye (Addio) Pietro Grossi". il manifesto.
  2. ^ MartLab. "The Music Academy "Luigi Cherubini"". Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2000. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Gaburo, Kenneth (1985). "Reflections on Pietro Grossi's Paganini Al Computer". Computer Music Journal. 9 (1): 39-44.
  4. ^ Pietro Grossi. "HomeArt". Archived from the original on 2001-06-29. Retrieved 1996. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Roberto Doati. "Homage to Pietro Grossi". Retrieved 1997. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Luca Cartolari. "Pietro Grossi and Sergio Maltagliati". Retrieved 2008. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ FYLKINGEN'S NET JOURNAL. "netOper@ Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi". Retrieved 10-03-2003. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]