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Interview with Marco Lo Muscio

Short biography:

Marco Lo Muscio (1971) is one of the most versatile musicians of his generation: organist, pianist and composer. After three university degrees ("Cum Laude"), Marco begins his international musical career. He has held more than 700 concerts during the most famous Organ and Piano Festivals and played in important Cathedrals and Concert Halls such as Cambridge's "Kings College Chapel", Oxford's "Exeter and Queens College Chapels", London's Westminster Cathedral, St. Petersburg's "Great Philharmonic Concert Hall Shostakovic", Moscow's Cathedral, "House of the Music", Gnessin Academy and Baptist Church; Prague's St. Nicholas, Leipzig's Nicholas Church; in all the Scandinavian countries, in France, in Poland, in Vatican City, in the Baltic countries, in Germany and more...His latter works, dedicated to Progressive Music, have gained excellent reviews in specialized international magazines in USA, UK, Finland (Colossus), Brazil, Italy...He is very active as a composer too, and his compositions for organ and piano are published by Erreffe Musica. In August 2009 his music was performed in London's "Annual Festival of New Organ Music". Marco's work has captured the attention of great musicians like Keith Emerson, Steve Hackett and John Hackett and infact the last CD dedicated to Tolkien (one year of work) "The Book of Bilbo and Gandalf" is born with the cooperation of Pär Lindh, Oksana Sinkova, John and Steve Hackett!

The Interview with “Festival in the Shire” journal

When did you first come across Tolkien's works? (i.e. how old, and which books etc.)
My first contact with Tolkien's works was in 1982 (11 years) with “The Hobbit”.

When you first read Tolkien, did you immediately think of music that would go with it?
No, I have only thought at the magic of words. In 1982 I had still to begin my musical studies. At that time I was more attracted by the painting.

What is it that makes Tolkien's worlds and works so special for you?
The main theme, "Death and Immortality", the words as music, the magic of some characters like Gandalf.

What is your musical background?
Classical music with three degrees.

What other musical projects have you been involved with over the years? (this to give you a chance to talk about other works that are non- Tolkien, but from your creativity!)
During latest six years I worked about my transcriptions of “Progressive Music” (Genesis, Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, etc...) for Grand Piano and Pipe Organ. I tried to create a new repertory with this incredible contemporary music that blends the rock music with the classical music, blues and jazz. In the latest year I have wrote also music inspired to books of Dante, Omero and Edgar Allan Poe for some projects in cooperation with the Finnish Magazine “Colossus” and Musea Records in France.

How do you go about composing music?
I compose music sitting at the grand piano. I improvise some ideas, and the best parts are immediately written on the score.

Do you work with other musicians or is your work solo?
Normally I work alone, but for my latest CD “The Book of Bilbo and Gandalf” I have worked with Pär Lindh, Oksana Sinkova, John and Steve Hackett (the icon guitar of GENESIS!)

What kinds of music are your influences?
The french classical music like Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen and others contemporary composers like Rautavaara, Hovhaness and Vaughan Williams. I have had also the influence of Keith Jarrett, Keith Emerson, Jan Garbarek and Steve Hackett.

Have you any particular composer that you like? (classical, pop or any other)
Johann Sebastian Bach, French and English classical composers (Ravel, Debussy, Alain, Messiaen, Vaughan Williams, etc...) , Progressive bands (ELP, King Crimson, Genesis, Pink Floyd, etc...) and Jazz musicians like Jarrett, Corea, Garbarek, Mehladau, etc...

You are based in Italy - can you tell us where you are, and does the countryside and region affect how you write music?
I was born and live in Rome. I think that the main affect from Italy is the fantasy...I mean: to have innovative and fresh artistic ideas!

What do you think about the style and quality of the soundtrack to the Peter Jackson movies?
I have only a word about the cyclopic work of Howard Shore: Masterpiece!!
I have listened in the new Auditorium in Rome, one year ago, The Symphony from “Lord of the Rings”. Was an incredible and unforgettable experience.

Is there any future Tolkien inspired project that you would like to work on?
I think that could be fantastic write a score about “Silmarillion”.