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SYNAULIA: Sounds, Music and Dances
of Ancient Rome and the Antiquity

L'angolo dello SCACCIAPENSIERI (italian)

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collage immagini Walter Maioli

Walter Maioli

Artist, flutist, composer, researcher of the Archaeology of Music

For thirty years Maioli (Milan, 1950) applies the results of his research on the origin of sound, music and musical instruments (paleorganology) in a great variety of performances, using all kinds of artistic and scientific media: concerts, dance and theatrical performances, art works, expositions, sound tracks for film, video and theatre, music cassettes and CD’s, books and articles, lectures and demonstrations, laboratory workshops, music therapy sessions, in many different contexts including archeological and natural sites. Since 1996 his work concentrates on the presentation of his findings by the group SYNAULIA.

Studies into the music of the Mediterranean and world music with the groups of sonorous experimentation Aktuala, Futuro Antico, and Esplorazione, realizing hundreds of concerts as well as a dozen of LP’s and music cassettes (MC’s).

Travels to different areas in Italy and several Mediterranean countries and islands –Turkey, Egypt, Libia, Marocco, Tunesia, Spain, Sicily and Sardinia- to study living, popular musical traditions.

Anthropological field work in Himalaya and India, giving concerts for radio and television in India: Srinagar, New Delhi, and Benares.

Working in ritual theatre with Japanese master Yoshi Oida in Milan.

The Music Archaeology concert series with reconstructed prehistoric musical instruments starting with the program Sonorous Origins in Kosmos in Amsterdam, at the Dutch Symposium of Archaeology, at the occasion of the opening of the exposition Man at the educational museum Museon in The Hague, for eight years at the yearly symposium on prehistoric art in Val Camonica, at the Pfahlbauland in Zrich, at the pile houses of Fiav (Trento), on the Ponte di Veja in Verona, in the caves of Toirano in Liguria, and in the caves of Arcy sur Cure in France for the French National Television.

Sound tracks for the videos Goden en Mensen (Gods and Men), directed by Roger Bussihots for the Archaeological Museum of Leiden, and for the installation The Invention of the World by Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw for the Mus
e de la Villette in Paris.

Starting collaboration with Frans Evers, music psychologist at the Royal Conservatory and founder of the Interfaculty Image and Sound together with the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, on the long term project Synesthesia.

Work with Sound Reporters in Amsterdam for safeguarding the musical patrimony of the aboriginal people. Together with anthropologist Fred Gales radio programs, music-cassettes and numerous concerts were realized with the Papua group Sampari and the group Yamore, consisting of Surinam Indians of the Amazone region. Work with Tjebbe van Tijen, Documentation Center for Modern Social Movements (University Library of the University of Amsterdam).

Founding of the Natural Art Laboratory at Morimondo in the Park of Ticino, working on the art of nature, resulting in the books The Origins :Sound and Music (published by Jaca Books) and The Orchestra of Nature (published by Mondadori). Hundreds of concerts are given for school children with the Cemb in Milan, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the Touring Club. Articles were published by Airone Jr. and Walt Disney magazines.

Participation in the project Book III – The New Media, at the occasion of the three week masterclass of John Cage as artist in residence at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Collaboration with Dr. Gaetano Roi and Nirodh Fortini in developing sound-therapy at the Medical Pedagogic Institution of Asso.

Exposition of the collection The Origin of the Musical Instruments at the Museum of Natural History in Milan .

Collaboration with Dutch composers Dick Raaijmakers and Horst Rickels in the project Fort-Klank. An ancient fortification -Fort Asperen- was transformed into a musical instrument by placing twelve computer controlled installations in the building, which triggered and interfered with the particular acoustic characteristics of the building. Next to the fort a Wunderkammer was installed in which Maioli’s collection of primitive instruments showed the archaic nature of the different types of sound generation which also formed the basis of the huge sound-installations in the fort.

Introduction of Art in the Stars, sounds for the Civic Planetarium Ulrico Hoepli in Milan, in collaboration with the musician and astro-physician Fiorella Terenzi.

Realization of the musical presentation of the archaeological theme park Archeon in Alphen aan de Rijn in Holland, with trainings for the archeoguides, covering music from prehistory, ancient Rome and medieval times, resulting in the CD 2.000.000 Jaar Muziek (2.000.000 Years of Music). Daily concerts and workshops.

With his daugther Luce Maioli, who performs since the age of eight and Nathalie van Ravenstein set up the project SYNAULIA, reconstructions of ancient musical instruments, which starts to present the results of the experimental archeological research on a wide scale. Concerts are given in the museums of Rome, Volterra, Palestrina, Leiden, Amsterdam, Mnich, Bonn, Aalen, and Berlin, and in the amphitheaters of Trier , Xanten, Urbisaglia, Sutri.

Presentation of the CD SYNAULIA in Campidoglio in Rome: Wind instruments, edited by Amiata records. Concerts and performances are given in special places like the Mausoleum of August, the Markets Traianei, the Thermal baths of Diocleziano, in Ostia Antica and in Preneste. In the performance Sounds of the Mysteries the elixer of the SYNAULIA project has reached its most subtle form of expression.

The group SYNAULIA is selected by American director Michael Hoffman to participate in the film A Midsummer Night’s Dream, casting Michelle Pfeifer and Kevin Kline. The musical instruments of the fairies and the satyrs were designed by Walter Maioli.

Participation in the recording of the CD Naked Spirit of Siberian singer Sainkho.

Collaboration with actor Giorgio Albertazzi, who invited SYNAULIA to join him at his side in two theatre pieces Eros Voglio Cantare and Intorno a Dante.

Two compositions of the first CD SYNAULIA: Pavor and Etruria are chosen for Ridley Scott’s film The Gladiator.

Selection from the discography

1973: AKTUALA, Aktuala, including compositions: Altamira and Mammuth R.C. (LP, Bla Bla)

1974: AKTUALA, La Terra (LP, Bla Bla)

1980: FUTURO ANTICO, Art in the Stars (MC)

1983: ESPLORAZIONE, including the composition: Onde Corte (MC)

1985. WALTER MAIOLI, Anthology (MC, Sound Reporters)

1991: ART OF PRIMITIVE SOUND, Musical Instruments from Prehistory: the Paleolithic (MC,Archeosound, XA1001)

1995: ARCHEON, 200.000 Jaar Muziek (Archeon, WTWCD 950301, Holland)

1996: SYNAULIA, The Music from Ancient Rome, Vol.1 Wind instruments (CD, Amiata records)

1999: SYNAULIA, The Music from Ancient Rome, Vol.2 String instruments (CD, Amiata records)

Published books

1991: Walter Maioli, The origins: Sound and Music (Jaca Book, Milan)

1991: Walter Maioli and Giordano Bianchi, Suoni e Musiche della Natura (Cemb -Essegiemme, Milan)

1993: Walter Maioli and Manuela Stefani, L’Orchestra della Natura (Mondadori, Milan)

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