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Raffaele d'Alessandro was born March 17, 1911 in St. Gallen, son of an Italian father and a Grisons mother. In Zurich, he studies harmony and counterpoint, first with Paul Müller then later with Willy Schuh. In 1933 he gets his diploma as organist with the mention "good", and shortly thereafter a diploma in piano. In September 1934 he moves to Paris and enters courses in composition with Nadia Boulanger, organ with Marcel Dupré and piano with Paul Roeser. In 1940, back to Switzerland, he settles in Lausanne. Already in 1941 the OSR, conducted by Ernest Ansermet, performs one of his works: the Rumba Sinfonica. In the following years d'Alessandro's compositions are performed by prestigious conductors, among them: Victor Desarzens with the OCL, Paul Kletzki, Günther Wand, and Carl Schuricht. In parallel to composition, d'Alessandro continues his career as a pianist and organist, devoted to concerts, accompaniment, and organ improvisation.
The production of d'Alessandro is quite vast: it includes symphonic music, that reveals the rhythmic soul of d'Alessandro, chamber music (sonatas, quartets, and quintets), but especially music for piano and organ. The words of the great pianist Dinu Lipatti, in his preface to the 12 études, pour piano, op. 66. (Ed. Maurice et Pierre Foetisch, 1950) are particularly revealing of the importance of d'Alessandro as a composer for keyboard instruments: "Je tiens Raffaele d'Alessandro pour un des musiciens les plus complets de cette génération. Il n'est pas seulement un pianiste racé, sensible et vigoureux, un organiste remarquable, mais aussi - et surtout - un créateur d'une puissance et d'une richesse d'inspiration indubitables".
March 17, 1959, at the age of 48, d'Alessandro died in Lausanne.
Archives littéraires suisses: Fonds Raffaele d'Alessandro (fr)
RISM - Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (de, fr, it, en)
Association Raffaele d'Alessandro (de, fr, en)
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