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Alfredo Casella was born in Turin on 25 July 1883 and studied with Fauré in Paris. In 1912 he began teaching piano at the Paris Conservatory of Music and became director of Concerts Populaires du Trocadéro.
When he returned to Italy in 1915 he was already a sophisticated composer who committed himself to promote contemporary music. As professor at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Casella was one of the leading promoters of modern Italian music which attracted young composers and annoyed the conservative audience. His early works were romantic in style: the orchestra work Italia (1909) gained international success.
Subsequently, he developed an atonal style which in Elegia eroica, written in commemoration of the soldiers who died in war, was his response to provocative protests. Later his work was mainly neoclassical in character by drawing inspiration on the 18th century.
In 1917 he founded the Società Nazionale di Musica, later called Società Italiana di Musica Moderna, which in 1923 became the Italian section of the International Society for New Music. He also wrote a wide range of musicological books and ranks as one of the leading figures of Italy’s young generation of composers. As music correspondent he wrote for French, German and American magazines and toured Europe and America as a pianist, conductor and guest lecturer.
Alfredo Casella died in Rome on 5th March 1947.