Filippo Zapponi (Milan, 1976) wrote his first piece of music at the age of 12. In 1994 he began studying composition with Ivan Fedele and Giorgio Colombo Taccani at the Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano and at the Sezione di Musica Contemporanea, in Milan (Italy). After, he entered the class of Ivan Fedele at the Como Conservatory of Music “Giuseppe Verdi” and he graduated with honours, in 2000. Since 1997, he was also a student of Fedele at the Conservatoire National de Région de Strasbourg, in France, where he graduated in 2001. In 1999-2000 he was Fedele’s assistant and, in 2000-01, he worked at Luciano Berio’s Centro Tempo Reale, in Florence.

Filippo Zapponi moved to Strasbourg in 2001. The same year he studied with Brian Ferneyhough, Brice Pauset and Stefano Gervasoni at the Session de composition du programme “Voix nouvelles” at the Fondation Royaumont (Asnières-sur-Oise, near Paris). In 2002, he was again Ferneyhough’s student at the Centre Acanthes, in Avignon (France). Selected twice by the Ircam Reading Panel, he attended the Stage d’été (2006) and the Cursus I (2008-09) at Ircam (Paris) where he specialised in new technologies for music with Yan Maresz, Philippe Hurel, Philippe Manoury and Marco Stroppa.

From 2004 to 2007, he studied composition and analysis with Karlheinz Stockhausen (Stockhausen Courses Kürten) in Kürten, near Cologne (Germany). At the Stockhausen Foundation for Music, he also organised a yearly gathering of participating composers. In 2007, he graduated with honours in Musicology from the University of Strasbourg with a dissertation on Stockhausen’s opera Freitag aus Licht.

In France, Filippo Zapponi has realised many musical projects with pedagogical purposes, such as the children’s opera Opera Mundi (2003) and Le voyage des grues cendrées (2008). The latter was awarded the prize S’unir pour agir of the Fondation de France. He has also collaborated extensively with the Blicke Dance Company.

Since 2005, he teaches composition, analysis and orchestration at Cfmi (Centre de Formation de Musiciens Intervenants), a department of the University of Strasbourg. Since 2008, he teaches composition, analysis and orchestration at the Metz Conservatory “Gabriel Pierné”. In 2011 he was appointed Professor (Professeur d’Enseignement Artistique Titulaire). From 2012 he also teaches applied analysis at the Cefedem de Lorraine.

Filippo Zapponi has won numerous prizes and his works are performed in Europe, South America and US; he collaborates with many ensembles, soloists and festivals: Arditti Quartet, Mario Caroli, Jeffrey Lyman, Ensemble Linea, Sentieri selvaggi, Radio Svizzera, Fondation de France, Musée Würth-France, Mamc-Strasbourg, Opéra-Théâtre of Metz, Arsenal Concert Hall, Opéra National du Rhin, France Culture, Festival Musica, University of Michigan, Ircam, etc.

Next major projects include: the world premiere of L’Horizon Absolu for string quartet at the 59th International Festival of Contemporary Music (Venice Biennale); the world premiere of Pasiphaé for basset-horn and electronics, performed by Michele Marelli; the world premiere of Kairos performed by Accroche Note; new performances of Hypérion-Éos for bassoon and electronics in Claremont (Californie) and in China, and the world premiere of Natural Optical Water, for 7 musicians, water samples, optical device and electronics – commissioned by the Expo Milano 2015 – which will be featured in two performances by Sentieri Selvaggi, inside the Italian Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.


Naper – the third piece of the cycle Time-cycles – has five sections:

Inafferrabile, leggerissimo, trasparente (Elusive, very light, transparent): sparks of ‘coloured time’ leap up from silence and drop down again. They contain encoded traces of compressed upcoming events.

Profondamente calmo, impercettibilmente espressivo (Deeply calm, imperceptibly expressive): The genetic code of Naper is laid out by the cello: five deeply calm phrases, almost expressive, unfurl slowly. They then extend towards the violin and the piano which reproduce and reflect them in augmented or compressed ways in the sphere of time and loftiness: the time (tempo, duration) and the metaphoric space of the frequencies are subject to the same law and alter proportionately and indissociably. A set of diffractions of the five ‘founder phrases’ reveals up to seven simultaneous sound plans; two of them are a ‘non-linear re-reading’ at a different tempo from the other five: so the second section encloses a ‘window’ on itself. A fragment of the first written music passed on by the ancient Greek civilization makes a fleeting appearance – echo and hope  music from the dawn of history: an undetectable luminous trace because it is completely integrated in the fabric fabric of sound.

 Irrequieto, frenetico, con colore (restless, frantic, with colour): what was horizontal is now compressed in vertical dimension. The compression sets free a rhythmical and colourful spirit, dancing with and frenzied energy.

Morphing: The fourth section is a non-linear ‘morphing’ (gradual and progressive transformation) between a varied and compressed version of the five ‘founder phrases’ laid out by the cello at the beginning at the section II (the ‘genetic code’ of Naper) and the piano texture of the last section. It consists of several categories of musical events: a main part (the morphing stages), its triggers, heterophonies, shadows, delays, independent events and forward flashes (anticipations of the morphing’s point of arrival).

Echoing green: last emanation of the genetic code. The five founder phrases are played by the right hand on the piano, stretched in time and proportionally in the frequency ‘space’. They reverberate in the humming background texture, leaving behind traces which upset the regularity; this elastic and elusive sphere – based on a floating pile of fifths – aims constantly to get back to its initial state. The violin and the cello enter into this process by multiplying the sound and temporal plans; the cello crystallizes slow phrases in counterpoint to the ‘genetic code’ played by the piano, while a luminous and unstable iridescence radiates from the violin as an echo of the green texture of the background.