I am absolutely heartbroken that my dear friend and creative collaborator, composer and conductor Ezio Bosso passed away yesterday at his home in Bologna. He had been terribly ill for many years with a serious neurodegenerative condition, which had greatly hampered his life, but had not bowed his indomitable spirit.
I first met Ezio in London in 2008 when I was running Bonachela Dance Company. We clicked immediately. I was blown away both by the beauty of his music and the infectious warmth of his personality. His passion for his craft was unparalleled and we really connected on our shared desire to break down barriers around access to music and performance. Ezio composed the score for href=”https://www.sydneydancecompany.com/performance/we-unfold/“, entitled Road Signs Variations, which BDC premiered at the Ludwigsburg Festival, Germany and then was presented on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the City of London Festival in 2009.
Rafael & Ezio in London (2009)
When I came to Sydney that year to take up the post of Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company, I wanted to work more with Ezio and his music. My first commission for Sydney Dance was<a href=”https://www.sydneydancecompany.com/performance/we-unfold/”>We Unfold</a> set to Ezio’s Symphony No.1. Oceans, which Sydney Dance Company commissioned him to write. I was drawn to the parallels between his thoughts when creating this first symphony and my own feelings about leaving Europe. I wanted to create a piece about our needs and desire, to slowly unfold, revealing ourselves to those around us, and Ezio’s luscious and layered music wrapped around the movements of my nascent company of dancers.
In 2010, we came together to create 6 Breaths. Feeding from each other’s inspirations, Ezio and I arrived at a shared vision; how the ideas of life, vitality and spirit could translate to movement and to a dance work. The act of breath, the essential action for life weaves through both his six movement score and the dancers’ movement in my choreography. 6 Breaths was performed as part of the Venice Biennale Danza in Italy in 2010, the first international invitation for the Company under my artistic directorship. To bring that work to Ezio’s home country was an immense honour. And it is bittersweet that in celebration of Sydney Dance Company’s 50th Anniversary last year, 6 Breaths was re-staged in Season Two, with the dancers of the 2019 Company breathing new life into it, making it their own. Sadly, Ezio was unable to travel to Sydney to see the work, but through his music, he was more than with us in spirit.
LANDforms in 2011 brought Ezio to Sydney again to work with me again. It was a joy to have him in the studio and for me, to create a work to be performed to live music was just wonderful. LANDforms was born from a creative concept we devised together. We took inspiration from the landscape and the elements and their impact on the earth and the industrial landscape of cities, and with the dancers, work-shopped the concept together. The dance and the music evolved simultaneously. The atmosphere was electric and creativity flowed. And to have the dancers perform on stage with Ezio (piano), the incomparable, award-winning Katie Noonan and the stunning Veronique Serret (violin) and Geoffrey Gartner (cello), as they played the score, Music For Weather Elements, was unforgettable
The sadness of the loss of such a talent is overwhelming. Ezio was 48, in the prime of his life. Over the last few years, his condition took hold, making playing piano increasingly difficult for him. But I was awed and inspired by his tenacity; nothing would stop him from performing, conducting from his wheelchair. Losing a friend under any circumstances is devastating. That the world of music has lost such a talent, with so much more to give is tragic.
All my love goes to his family, friends and creative collaborators, across the world. Vale Ezio. You lit up our lives with music and you will be missed.