Nicola Visalli is a multi-disciplinary artist, composing microtonal music and collaborating with poets, painters, and musicians from many cultures. He was born in 1968 into a musical family. His father, a clarinettist, introduced him early to clarinet and piano. He began composing, self-taught, at 18; and later attended courses in Siena with Franco Donatoni, and in Modena with Adriano Guarnieri and Alvise Vidolin.
Since 2004 he has had a close relationship with the Ukrainian musical establishment, in particular with leading violinist Ostap Shutko, who has performed many of Visalli’s works in contemporary music festivals in Kiev, Odessa and Uzgorod.
Visalli’s field is microtonal music. Initially focusing on western instruments, he has lately extended his interests to eastern instruments, and to new instruments created specifically for microtonal music. He also has an interest in conventional western instruments modified for microtonal music. His activities in this area include musical collaborations with cellist Nicolas Deletaille, one of the few musicians to play a specially-built Arpeggione; and with Turkish guitarist Istanbul Tolgahan Cogulu, who has patented a guitar with movable frets. Since 2017 Visalli has worked with Mexican percussionist Ivan Cipactlii, who plays a microtonal marimba. Visalli has composed several commissioned works for the instrument which have been performed internationally. He has had two commissions for works for the Fokker organ, Amsterdam, which has an octave divided into 31 parts.
Much of his work involves collaborations with performers who play non-western instruments. They include Alison Jin (guzheng); Siddhart (sitar); Lingling Yu (pipa); and Paul Grant (santur/tabla). Visalli approaches these instruments with a view to understanding and interpreting both the technique of the instrument, and the musical theory of the culture to which it belongs. Conversely, he seeks to import elements of non-European forms and techniques into the repertoire of Western instruments. He organizes concerts and projects with the Centro Musica Contemporanea (a collective of composers), often featuring non-western music and rare instruments. For example, in 2011 he organized the project “The Arpeggione and Contempory Music” in which composers wrote works for Nicolas Deletaille to perform on that instrument.
Visalli is ‘transdisciplinary’ artist, composing works fusing multiple art forms – for example ‘Delta’, a work for poetry, music and painting performed in an international festival of contemporary music in Kiev, 2011. He enjoys creative collaborations with many painters and poets.
He has also lectured at the University of Lviv, Uzgorod conservatory (Ukraine), and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Since 2018, Visalli has organized a major clarinet duo competition in the major European conservatoires, in memory of his father.
Visalli’s works are published by Da Vinci editions, Osaka and now by Bergmann Edition.