Andrea Avena was born in Rome on 25 February 1965 and studied electric and acoustic bass with Andrea Pighi and Massimo Moriconi, acoustic bass, harmony, composition and arranging with Bruno Tommaso and arranging for big band with Giancarlo Gazzani.
In 1986 he won the ISMEZ/RAI3 competition as Best New Talent (electric and acoustic bass) and participated in the “New Talents” Orchestra directed by Paolo Damiani at the “Festival Internazionale” in Roccella Ionica.
In 1990, with the group “Tetracolors”, he won the first prize at the new groups competition in Forlì.
He was a finalist of the international competition for composition and arranging for jazz orchestra in Barga in ’88, ’89, ’90 and ’96. In ’98 he was a finalist of the international competition “Scrivere in Jazz” at Sassari.
He was the winner of the “Premio Opera IMAIE 2009” with the “Estrela da Tarde” project.
JAZZ ET AL
In 1989 he created the “Andrea Avena Group” (with F.Barresi, voice, S.Micarelli, guitar, F.Pieroni, piano, A.Fabbri, drums) who records an album and took part of numerous Italian venues.
In 1990 he participated with the group “Silent Circus” in various Italian venues including “Siena Jazz”.
In the following years he worked along with many jazz musicians including: Lester Bowie, Kirk Lightsey, Manhu Roche, Don Moye, Massimo Urbani, Maurizio Giammarco, Antonello Salis, Michele Rabbia, Massimo Manzi, Javier Girotto, Daniele Di Bonaventura, Paolo Ravaglia Bill Smith, etc…
Since 1993 he has performed regularly with composer Germano Mazzocchetti in both studio recordings and theatrical performances plus in jazz situations such as the arrangement for jazz orchestra of Respighi’s “Feste Romane” (for Rome and Pescara Festivals) and with the sextet (University of Rome, Torino, Trieste, Accordion Festival of Pineto, University of Cosenza, etc.).
In 1994 he performed with the Francesco Santucci Big Band in various Italian venues including “Umbria Jazz”. Over the same year he began to perform with the French guitarist Philippe Roche and together with drummer Tommy Caggiani formed the “Hoggar Trio”, a group which explored the fusion of jazz and arab music (including the use of traditional Northern African instruments such as the oud).
In 1995, together with R.Spadoni, P.Sorge and G.Lo Cascio he formed the “Aporia” Quartet, a group which mainly worked matching music and images. In fact, the group played live into some rare French short films from the 20s (“Anémic Cinema” by Marcel Duchamp, “Le ballet mécanique” by Fernard Legér, “L’étoile de mer” by Man Ray, “Charleston” by Jean Renoir) e “Sherlock Junior” by Buster Keaton performing original music for the occasion.
That year he also began performing with the “M.J.Urkestra” big band directed by R.Spadoni, as a bass player, and also composed his own music and arranged for the orchestra some works by C.Mingus. He participated (with some traditional Christmas music arrangements) for the exchange orchestra “Città di Udine” (December 1996). In April 1998 the band’s first CD, music of Charles Mingus, was released. Over the summer of 1998 the band began recording “Estrela da tarde” (original music by A.Avena based on lyrics by Pablo Neruda and Manuel Bandeira). In 2001 the band recorded its third CD and began to host guest artists as G.Trovesi, S.Satta and M.Giammarco. Since 2002 it has been the official band at the international workshops in Lanciano, Italy, under the direction of Mike Abene. The band recorded its fourth CD in 2003 and in February, they performed the integral version of “Epitaph” by Mingus at the “Metastasio Theatre” in Prato (with special guest artists) under the direction of Andrew Homzy.
Since 1998 he has collaborated with the group “Klezroym” in numerous festivals in Italy, Germany, Belgium and Spain. In 2005 the satellite channel “Artè” invited the group in Brussels for a 40 minute show for the Yiddish Night Festival.
In March 2000 he performed, with the ensemble “Terza Corrente” Alec Wilder and Eric Dolphy’ music (some world premiers) under the direction of Gunther Schuller (with guest artists Gianluigi Trovesi and Paolo Ravaglia).
In the same year he formed the SPJQ quartet with S.Satta, R.Spadoni and E.Fioravanti and also started working with Robert Laneri’s group “Crossroads”.
In 2005 he performed with the project “Recordando Piazzolla Y Gardel” with Javier Girotto and Daniele Di Bonaventura.
From 2006 up to 2008, he performed with the group “Acustimantico” in various Italian festivals and created the theatre performance “EM”, dedicated to the great poet Emanuel Carnevali.
Since 2008 he has played with “Trionirico” a Pasquale Laino’s project, with Alessandro Gwis.
In 2009-2011 he works with the group “Marenia” which records an album and perform in many national exhibitions.
1993: “Cundu luna vini” by Francesca Breschi (theatrical direction by David Riondino, musical direction by Germano Mazzocchetti).
In that same year he started collaborating with Nicola Piovani performing in all of his theatrical productions:
“Canti di scena”, “Il signor Novecento” and “Le cantate del fiore e del buffo” with Lello Arena and Norma Martelli (music by Nicola Piovani and lyrics by Vincenzo Cerami) touring Italy and Greece with more than 600 performances between 1993 and 2001;
“Concerto Fotogramma” with S.Patitucci, D.Pandimiglio, P.Ingrosso and N.Martelli, touring Italy and important Festivals in Belgium, Spain, Turkey, Tunisia;
“Semo o nun semo” with Tosca, M.Wertmuller, D.Pandimiglio and P.Ingrosso;
“La Pietà”, a Stabat Mater concertante for two female voices (Rita Cammarano and Amii Stewart), narrator (Gigi Proietti) and orchestra (lyrics by V.Cerami and music by N.Piovani) for the night of the Holy Friday in Bethlehem in 1999, under the sponsorship of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.
“L’isola della Luce” the cantata for female vocal (Noa) and male vocal (P.Ingrosso), narrator (N.Tsakiroglou, or O. Antonutti on the Italian version) performed in Delos, a Greek island for the “Culture Olympics” occasion in September 2003. They also played this cantata in others various Italian Festivals.
“La Cantata dei Cent’anni” (lyrics by V.Cerami and music by N. Piovani), composed for the 100th anniversary of the CGIL, for vocal quartet, narrator (Gigi Proietti or M.Wertmuller) and symphonic orchestra (Roma Sinfonietta), where he plays as a soloist and main double bass.
“Epta” Suite in seven movements for seven musicians.
“Concerto in Quintetto” , touring Italy and important Festivals in France, England, Belgium, Romania and Greek.
“Viaggi di Ulisse”, concert for live instruments e recorded voices.
In 1995 he performed with the “Compagnia della Rancia” in the Italian version of “West Side Story” under the direction of Richard Parrinello.
Between 1997-8 he performed the Italian version of the musical “Irma la Douce” with the “Teatro Stabile del Friuli-Venezia-Giulia” company under the theatrical direction of A.Calenda.
More theatrical works include “Maria Maddalena”(by Marguerite Yourcenar, with lyrics of the Italian songs by Andrea Camilleri), “Echelmessia” (by Ennio de Concini), “Saccarina cinque al soldo” (written and performed by Ascanio Celestini, Klezroym and Olek Mincer), “La ballata dell’amore disonesto” (by G.Mazzocchetti and A.Fornari), “La Vita a Rate” (by P. Triestino), then he composed the music for “Il custode” by A. Lauro (with P.Triestino).
Since 1993 he has performed with his double bass and electric bass to the making of new recordings for theatre, tv and films (working for film directors as Roberto Benigni, Sergio Rubini, Sabina Guzzanti, Nanni Loi, Antonio Albanese, Luigi Magni, Ben Von Verbog, Bigas Luna, Paolo e Vittorio Taviani, Luis Sepulveda, Mario Monicelli, Jos Stelling, Giuseppe Tornatore, Danièlle Thompson, Vincenzo Terracciano, Xavier Durringer, etc.) under the direction of Germano Mazzocchetti, Nicola Piovani, Ennio Morricone, Carlo Di Blasi, Lucio Gregoretti, Giovanna e Francesco Marini, Franco Piersanti, Renato Serio, Piero Pintucci, Stelvio Cipriani, Paolo Silvestri, Andrea Guerra, Paolo Vivaldi, Daniele Belardinelli, Steven Mercurio, etc.
Since 2010 he has worked, as double bass and electric bass player, for the “Orchestra Italiana del Cinema”, the first symphonic Italian company specialized into the interpretation and execution of films repertory, working both into recording studios and making live performances (the “Il Suono del Neorealismo” project comes out in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome).
In April 2011 the Orchestra goes to Beijing invited by the Chinese Government and performs 3 concerts, as the main event of the first edition of the “Beijing International Film Festival”. The first one was held into the wonderful “National Center of Performing Art” which was the Opening Show. The next two multimedial symphonic concerts where held into “The Great Hall Of The People” in Tienanmen Square, historical location of the Chinese Government, over 11000 people were watching the show.
In Novembre 2011 the Orchestra was invited to play at the “International Festival of Cinema” in Rome. In July 2012 they play live in world Premiere the film (winner of the Oscar Award) “The Artist” under the direction of M° Ernst Von Tiel, along with composer Ludovic Bource on piano for the “Festival di Ravello”.
RADIO AND TV
In 1991-92 he participated with Lelio Luttazzi’s jazz trio at the TMC TV production “Buon compleanno”.
In 1999 with the “M. J. Urkestra” big band he made up an homage to Duke Ellington which was performed live on the radio program Radiotresuite (Rai Radio3) for the “Ellington Memorial Day” sponsored by the European Radio Networks.
In 2002 he performed for RAI2 on a TV show called “Tuttalavarietà” (by Sabina Guzzanti), and for RAI1 in “L’Ultimo Del Paradiso” (by Roberto Benigni), and in 2003 for the show “16 Ottobre 1943” (with Luca Zingaretti).
With the “Klezroym” group they became the main band for the Rai3 show “Dove Osano Le Quaglie” with M.Presta and A.Dose (15 shows in 2003, 21 in 2004 and 7 shows at the Sistina Theatre in Rome in 2005). In January 2004 the group performed the suite “Yankele nel ghetto” for the “Concerts of the Quirinale” live on RAI Radio3.
In 2005 he participated in a series of seven shows of “Protestatesimo” on RAI2 performing his own original music and other music composed with Gabriele Coen.
In April 2006 he performed live on the RAI Radio3 show “La stanza della musica”.
On 9 April of that same year the satellite channel “Artè” broadcasts the film “Yiddish Soul” by Turi Finocchiaro and Nathalie Rossetti with the “Klezroym” group.
In 2006-07 he was part of the main orchestra (directed by Daniele Cestana) of the show “Mezzogiorno in famiglia” on RAI2.
In January 2009 he was part of the Nicola Piovani’s quintet which performed on RAI3 for the “De André Special” in “Che tempo che fa”.
In 2010 the quintet performed live for the great event “Rai per una note” into the Paladozza in Bolonia.
In April 2011 with the “Orchestra Italiana del Cinema” he played for the opening ceremony of the “First edition of Beijing International Film Festival” in Beijing, at the “National Centre of Performing Arts” on tv live on CCTV – channel 3, the biggest Continental China television network with over one billion and two thousand millions people watching it through its 19 tv channels.
In December 2011 to “I Viaggi di Ulisse” (by Nicola Piovani) was dedicated a show of “Prima della Prima” on RAI3, and the concert taken into the Sapienza University’s Aula Magna (in Rome) went live on Radio2.
In September 2014 he sonorized live the exhibition of Sabina Guzzanti with original music, for the “Servizio Pubblico” on La7.
ARRANGING AND COMPOSITION
He writes and arranges from small groups to big band and symphonic orchestras.
He has composed and arranged music for documentaries (for the Istituto Luce and for the L’Altro Baobab association ), for theatre (“Il Custode”), for TV shows (RAI: “Dove Osano Le Quaglie” and “Protestantesimo”).
In ’88 and ’90 he was the teaching assistant of Bruno Tommaso at the Siena Jazz Workshop for the “Orchestra Lab”.
From 1990 to 2000 he was head of the theory department and the “University of Music” in Rome where he taught theory, modern harmony, arranging and double bass. He also taught both electric bass and double bass at the Jazz University of Terni.
He has taught in many workshops, like the “European Summer Campus” in Siracusa (from 2006 to 2009), with Robben Ford, Greg Howe, Carl Verheyen, Andy Timmons, Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Richard Smith, Kee Marcello and Greg Koch.
He is currently the head of the theory department at the “Percentomusica” School in Rome and was also the head of the “Centro di formazione” and artistic production “l’Ottava” in Rome. He also teaches theory, harmony, ear training, double bass, and arranging for big band at the “Saint Louis College of Music” in Rome.
In 2009 teaches electric bass and double bass in “F. Cilea Conservatory” in Reggio Calabria.
Since 2011 teaches “Jazz Harmony” and “Forme, Sistemi e linguaggi del jazz” for the “University 1st Cycle Degree of jazz” at the conservatorio O. Respighi in Latina. Since 2013 he also teaches “Analisi delle forme compositive e performative del jazz” for the “University 2nd Cycle Degree of jazz” always in the same institute.
In 2013 he holds a masterclass at the “Rossini Conservatory” of Pesaro, talking about “Polymeters, Polyrhythm and Multitemporal music” for composing and improvising. In 2014 he holds a masterclass about “5 and 7 time signatures and odd time signatures” always in the conservatory of Pesaro, and another about “Ethnic music” in “Corelli Conservatory” of Messina.
He is the author of the four volumes methods of theory, harmony and sight-reading (“Theory and Harmony” published by ediz. Sinfonica) and of 3 books dedicated to the analysis of melodies and their harmonization (“Analisi e Arrangiamento”, ediz. Sinfonica). The first two volumes of the Theory method were translated and distributed in Spain.
“Pithecanthropus e altre storie” Andrea Avena Group [Splasc(h) Records, H 198]
“Tetracolors” Tetracolors [Philology, W 63-2]
“Canti di scena” Orch. Aracoeli, V.Cerami, N. Piovani [Emergency music, 1011]
“Massimo Santantonio quintet, featuring Antonello Salis” [Nimes, nim 70114]
“West side story” (italian version) dir. R. Parrinello [Carisch, CL 69]
“Concerto premio Rota 1997” Nicola Piovani[CVS, 900-070]
“Il viaggio della sposa” (original soundtrack) G.Mazzocchetti[CGM, 489075-2]
“Mingus” M. J. Urkestra (dir. R. Spadoni) [Splasc(h) Records, CDH 653.2]
“La teta y la luna” (original soundtrack) N. Piovani[Emergency music, 74321-24798-2]
“A che punto è la notte” N. Piovani[Fonit Cetra CDM 2097]
“Tu ridi” (original soundtrack) N. Piovani[Virgin Records 46792]
“Live” Umberto Sangiovanni [Dna, NACD 11205-2]
“ùrkestra” M. J. Urkestra [Splasc(h) Records, CDH 739.2]
“In nome del popolo sovrano” (original soundtrack) N. Piovani[Warner]
“Script” Massimo Santantonio [Acoustic Music Records, 1233]
“Made in italy” Fabio Di Cocco Trio [Panastudio Production, CDJ 1089-2]
“Piccola luce” Capezzuto-Avena-Chiaraluce feat. J.Girotto [Splasc(h) Records, CDH 759.2]
“Lavori in sorso” Tomei-Merone 4et [Lush Tales, LT CD 0138]
“Nowhere” (original soundtrack) N. Piovani [Virgin Music Italy 8 12110 2]
“O’ Re” (colonna sonora orig.) N. Piovani [Lucky Planets]
“Klezroym” [Elleu Sconfini, n.11]
“Pinocchio” (original soundtrack) Piovani-Benigni [Virgin Records 7243 5 43182 2 1]
“Archcello” Hajime Mizoguchi [Victor, VICL-61112]
“Estrela da tarde” Andrea Avena & M. J. Urkestra [Splasc(h) Records, CDH 135-2]
“Dances” M. J. Urkestra [Splasc(h) Records, CDH 931.2]
“La controra” Umberto Sangiovanni & Daunia Orchestra [RAI Trade, RTP 0019]
“Ti porto in Africa” (brano: “Forse Che Si, Forse Che No”) Mango [WEA]
“Il diario di Sabn Guzz” (libro-video di Sabina Guzzanti)[Einaudi]
“Semo o nun semo” Nicola Piovani[Compagnia Della Luna, CD02]
“Nella pioggia” Marco Turco [LC 95 11]
“Maigret, la trappola” (original soundtrack) Nicola Piovani [Image Music ERE 0162472]
“Kaos – Suite per Giovanni Falcone” N. Piovani
“Matilde” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [RAI Trade]
“Jambon Jambon” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani
“Das Sams” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [Bavaria sonor 544 669-2]
“Das Sams in gefahr” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [Bavaria sonor 303829]
“La tigre e la neve” (original soundtrack) Piovani-Benigni [RCA Italiana 82876753362]
“Odette Toulemonde” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [Pid 3299039910122]
“Big Ben” Down Time Group (Quarta-Spadoni-Avena)
“La cantata dei cent’anni” (Cerami-Piovani)libro + cd audio [Ediesse 2007]
“25 Aprile” (live in Fossoli) Klezroym [RAITrade, RTP0117]
“In un altro paese” (original soundtrack A.Pandolfo [CAM 515356-2]
“Notturno Bus” (original soundtrack) Coen-Rivera [Helikonia, HKST 0407]
“Stelle In Eccedenza” Fabrizio Emigli
“EM – ovvero Emanuel Carnevali va in America” Acustimantico
“Ner duemila” Canzoniere di Roma
“Parada” (original soundtrack) Andrea Guerra [CAM 515474-2]
“La Strada (a teatro)” di G. Mazzocchetti con Tosca [RAI TRADE]
“Epta” di Nicola Piovani [EGEA, SCA 150]
“The river will carry me” Pasquale Laino [CNDL 23686]
“Scantu” Marenia [IL 240910]
“Welcome” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [NAIVE 3298490016602]
“Le code a changè” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [PID 886974710820]
“Running free” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani[VARÉSE SARABANDE]
“In quintetto” Nicola Piovani [LVL 0111]
“La conquête” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [Gaumont;UPC:3700551716951]
“In Solitario Splendore” Anthony Manfredonia [NAR 115112]
“Non C’è Niente Da Ridere” Piovani sonorizza 3 comiche di Laurel e Hardy [ERM 447 (dvd)]
“Viaggi di Ulisse” Nicola Piovani [LVL 0211]
“Facciamo Finta Che Sia Vero” Adriano Celentano [Universal music/Clan Celentano]
“D’onde” Aurora Curcio [II 0027]
“Christmas Favorites” Il Volo [Interscope Records]
“Ciliegine” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [Digital Records]
“Cinecittà” Roberto Giglio [Carosello 8034125842032]
“Storie” Pierluigi Pietroniro [RAI Trade RT2141]
“Sulla Strada” F. De Gregori (brano“Forse Che Si, Forse Che No”) [Carosello 8034125842032]
“Comme Un Chef” (colonna sonora orig.) Nicola Piovani [Gaumont/Idol]
“Cantabile” Nicola Piovani (Giorgia, Jovanotti, De Gregori, etc.) [Sony Classical]
“Teoria e Armonia prima parte” [Edizioni musicali Sinfonica, SJ-92]
“Teoria e Armonia seconda parte” [Edizioni musicali Sinfonica, SJ-96]
“Teoria e Armonia terza parte” [Edizioni musicali Sinfonica, SJ-98]
“Teoria e Armonia quarta parte” [Edizioni musicali Sinfonica, SJ-99]
“Analisi e Arrangiamento prima parte” [Edizioni musicali Sinfonica, SJ-106]
“Teoría y Armonía primera parte” [Sinfonica Jazz/Real Musical, SJ-92]
“Teoría y Armonía segunda parte” [Sinfonica Jazz/Real Musical, SJ-96]