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Fabrizio Paterlini, often compared to the celebrated Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi for his emotive and ethereal piano compositions, crafts music that resonates deeply with listeners across the spectrum of contemporary classical music.

In an exclusive interview with Ikon during his European tour, Paterlini introduces his latest album, “Riverscape,” a project born out of a unique collaboration with visual artist Kristel Schneider during the pandemic. The album, inspired by the natural beauty and stories of rivers, blends Paterlini’s signature style of tranquil, emotive piano music with the visual artistry of Schneider. Through “Riverscape,” Paterlini invites us into his world, sharing tales of inspiration drawn from his serene countryside home, where the rhythms of nature deeply influence his creative process.

Your new album, “Riverscape,” is inspired by the flows, rhythms, and stories carried by water. Can you take us on a journey into the inspiration behind this album and the unique experiences that shaped its creation? 
I have always been fascinated by the slow flow of the river. I live close to the longest river in Italy, and since I was young, I used to play and walk on its riverbanks. Writing music for it was just a matter of time and finding the right occasion.

What role did Kristel Schneider’s photographs play in the creation of this album? How did the synergy between your music and her photography enhance the overall artistic experience of “Riverscape”?
I was contacted by Kristel during the pandemic. She told me about the photobook she was preparing on the river Allier, which flows nearby where she lives. So, she asked me if I was interested in writing music about the same matter, without knowing that I live so close to the river. The whole process of writing music and shooting pictures went smoothly, and we shared with each other drafts, be they music or images. Her pictures are evocative and incredibly beautiful, and they provided me with rich imagery I could use as inspiration for my music. 

You’ve worked on movie soundtracks in the past, and many people describe your music as very cinematic. Do you think the visual elements accompanying your live performances enhance the overall listener experience, making it a more immersive experience? If so, tell us a bit more about the videos the audience sees on the screen during this tour.
During the tour, I widely made use of visuals projected on a large screen behind us. The videos the audience sees are the ones taken by Kristel Schneider during her photography sessions. So the whole project is a continuous circle: a real audio-visual journey that takes the listener into the magic world of the river on stage and through the photobook Kristel has completed. 

Fabrizio Paterlini live.

You live in the deep countryside; how does this location influence your creative process? Would you be able to produce such peaceful, emotional, and deep music while living in a big city? What does this connection to nature provide you from a creative perspective?
The connection between what I live and what I write is quite deep. As you can see from the titles of my albums and tracks, the connection between nature and inspiration is strong. I live in the countryside; I wake up during the wintertime in a cold and foggy land, and during the summertime, days never end, and you can fully enjoy the night since the weather is warm, and you can sit with a candlelight in the garden drinking red wine. Of course, this influences my music, which is clearly inspired by the rhythm of nature and its cycles. Not only did I write albums as “Autumn Stories” and “Winter Stories,” but all my production is full of references to the world of nature. Before living in the countryside, I lived for a very few years in my small town, Mantua. I still produced the first album of my career there, but for sure, moving to where I am now was something that increased my productivity. 

The tracklist for “Riverscape” is quite evocative, featuring titles like “Misty Dawn on the River” and “When Autumn Comes.” Can you walk us through the emotional and thematic landscape of a few key tracks, sharing the stories they aim to tell?
In this album, more than ever, titles are so important. I would say that once I composed the music, I tried to “see” what this music was telling me, and the title came accordingly. So, exactly as you read them, while listening to the music, I invite the listener to imagine a scenario like the one described in the title. 
Listeners often use terms like ethereal, emotive, and passionate to describe your music.

Now that you have embarked on your UK and European tour, can you say that the emotional impact of “Riverscape” on your audience aligns with your creative intent?
This is an interesting question: I am not sure how this new album will impact my audience emotionally. There are certain songs, “River’s Voice,” for example,” in which the emotive impact is still quite high; certain others are more entertaining,” so the audience experiences a mix of emotions while attending the show.

You’ve mentioned that composing sad music makes you happier. But it was also said that your music is like a glass of red wine on a summer evening. Where on the emotional spectrum, particularly the intersection of melancholy and joy, would you place the mood and atmosphere of “Riverscape”?
I would place it in the “glass of red wine on a summer evening” mood. Most of the songs are cinematic and dreamy and can really take the listener on a journey. Also, the visual side of the project, with Kristel videos and pictures, helps even more to enhance this aspect of the music. 

Your style has been often compared to that of another Italian composer, Ludovico Einaudi. The word on the Internet is that he spoke very positively about your music. While understanding that every musician wants to be appreciated for his own style and music language, does this comparison bring you joy?
I am certainly happy about this comparison, and I think my music was somehow influenced by his works, at least for the first piano solo albums I composed. When I discovered his music approximately 20 years ago, something sparkled in my mind, finding his way of writing music so “familiar” and natural for me. I then found my own path and style during the years, but I still love his works and his perfectly balanced compositions.

Elena Leo is the Arts & Lifestyle Editor of Ikon London Magazine.