Robert Lombardo (born March 5, 1932) is the son of Sicilian immigrants. He received his BM & MM in composition from the Hartt School of Music and was awarded the PhD from the State University of Iowa. His principal composition teacher was Arnold Franchetti.
Lombardo is a prolific composer who has written more than
200 works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, as well
as four chamber operas and a number of song cycles. His wife Kathleen
[shown with the composer in the photo above] has written texts
for several of his compositions. Among them: Johnny Sequel (a
companion opera to Gianni Schicchi), Against Forgetting,
a cantata dedicated to the Holocaust children and Aria Variata,
a solo cantata for mezzo soprano and string orchestra recorded by the Czech
National Symphony Orchestra, directed by Paul Freeman. The work
has been issued on an Albany Records CD.
Six works of his featuring the mandolin have been performed by the mandolinist, Dimitris Marinos, including a concerto conducted by Cliff Colnot, which is also on the Albany label. He has recently completed Last Letters Home for mezzo soprano, piano and cello. He also has two other versions of this work, for mezzo soprano, string orchestra & percussion, and mezzo soprano and string quartet. Other recent works include: Concertino for piano and chamber ensemble, Snapshots & Reflections for string quartet, Largo Doloroso for string orchestra, Fantasy Variations #7&8 for Solo flute and solo viola respectively, Largo for string trio and Piccolo Concertino for mandolin & mandolin orchestra.
Lombardo has garnered many honors for his compositions.
Among them: a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions form the Serge Koussevitzky
Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Foundation, and Chicago
radio stations WNIB and WFMT. He is the recipient of grants from the
Illinois Arts Council, the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment
for the Arts. His compositions have been performed by numerous ensembles
including the Chicago, Cincinnati and Memphis Symphony orchestras, the
Fine Arts Quartet, the Chicago String Ensemble, CUBE, Ars Viva, the Pacifica
Quartet, the Hilversum Radio Kamerorkest in the Netherlands, and St. Christopher’s
Chamber Orchestra in Lithuania.
Lombardo holds the title of Professor Emeritus from Roosevelt
University where he was Professor of Theory & Composition and Composer-in-residence
from 1965 until 1999. He and his wife Kathleen have two children, Adreana
== From the composer's website
|Alberto Franchetti (September 18,
1860 - August 4, 1942) was born in Turin, a Jewish nobleman of independent
means. He studied first in Venice, then at the Munich Conservatory under
Josef Rheinberger, and finally in Dresden under Felix Draeseke. His first
major success occurred in 1888 with his opera Asrael. His operatic
style combined Wagnerianism and the traits of Meyerbeer with Italian verismo.
During his life, critics sometimes referred to him as the "Meyerbeer of
Grove considers Cristoforo Colombo (1892) Franchetti's best work. The American premiere in 1913 had Titta Ruffo in the title role, and he recorded two of the arias. However, his most popular opera was Germania (1902; libretto by Luigi Illica). It clung to the general operatic repertoire until the First World War; it was performed worldwide, and Arturo Toscanini (who conducted the work at La Scala) and Enrico Caruso held it high regard. Caruso included a few of the arias in his very first commercial recording session in 1902 and repeated one piece the following year for the Zonophone company, and two pieces with orchestra in 1910 when he appeared in a revival of the work in New York.
Among the reasons for Franchetti's descent into obscurity is the fact that, after the promulgation of the Fascist Racial Laws of 1938, which largely disenfranchised Italy's Jewish population, Franchetti's works were banned from performance. This was despite a plea for tolerance on his behalf from Pietro Mascagni to Benito Mussolini, which was rejected, just before Franchetti's death.
His son Arnold Franchetti [photo shown at right] (1911 – March 7, 1993) became a composer after emigrating to the United States in 1949. Before coming to the US, he studied physics at the University of Florence, music at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and then moved to Munich where he studied composition and orchestration with Richard Strauss for three years. He was a member of the World War Two Italian Resistance Underground movement from 1946 to 1948.
Arnold was Professor of Composition at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, Connecticut from 1950 until his retirement in 1979.
In his early work Arnold experimented with late Romantic and neoclassical styles, but he then developed what Imanuel Willheim called "a non-serial, 12-note compositional language featuring primarily diatonic motivic material". He composed music in all genres including orchestral, symphonic, chamber and solo music (including five piano sonatas, significant works that have been analyzed in multiple doctoral dissertations).
Arnold composed numerous theater works including the opera, Married Men Go to Hell (1974) and the genre-bending Dracula 1979. Another important Franchetti theatrical work is Lazarus (for narrator and symphonic wind ensemble) based on the book Soul on Ice by 1960's Black Panther activist Eldridge Cleaver.
© 1992 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago in January of 1992. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following March. This transcription was made in 2020, and posted on this website at that time.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.