Behind the piano

Behind the piano: Riccardo Chiaberta

Thursday again, and it’s time to dig deeper into the minds of another contemporary composer and piano player. Let’s get to know Riccardo Chiaberta a bit better!

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I was born in Verbania, a city in the North of Italy situated on the shore of Lake Maggiore. I moved to London in 2015.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I started playing the piano at 7 years old while playing drums and percussions around the age of 14. Since then I’ve been playing drums as my main instrument and I started studying and practising the piano more deeply only during my Jazz Academy studies’ years. 

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
I started playing music as a kid, inspired by my family’s music passion: my dad plays guitar and a bit of piano, and my grandfather was a composer and music director of the local bands. My house has always been full of music instruments.

How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been making piano music since I started studying Jazz at the Music Academy. I’ve spent many hours practicing jazz harmony and some classical pieces. Since then I started writing compositions for solo piano.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I guess that one of my first composition came out from a mistake practicing some harmony exercises. it sounded good and almost unexpected and I kept repeating the chords progression over and over and then writing a melody on top of them.

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
I love the piano performances by Thom Yorke, the music of the impressionists Debussy and Ravel and the lyric pieces by Edvard Grieg.

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
I usually play my own songs or I just like to improvise some melodies.

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
Any genre barrier. Music is music, it can’t be fitted in boxes.

How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
As a drummer I’ve recorded loads of albums in professional studios but I then decided to tape-record my piano album A Bird Told Me and the single Camden Town at my parents’ house on the same piano where I used to play and compose my music in my early years. 

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
If they can help you to make the music you like it’s a great way of writing original compositions!

Anything else you want to share? 
This is a gem! Truly beautiful music, played by two great musicians that love each other. It warms your heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8lTh58jhA8

The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 

They come from my emotions, experiences, the people I spend time with, the books that I read, the movies that I watch, the nature and from my music studies.

Thank you very much for your participation on my Behind the piano series Riccardo!

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