Alberto E. Colla was born in Alessandria, Italy, in 1968. A pupil of Carlo Mosso, he graduated in composition, piano, choral music and choir conducting at Alessandria Conservatory. His studies continued with Azio Corghi at the Accademia Petrassi in Parma and at the Accademia Internazionale Santa Cecilia in Rome as he specialized in composition. Colla was also the recipient of the SIAE scholarship awarded to only the most talented graduates.
Composer of over 120 works, Alberto Colla made a name for himself in Italy in 2001 with his opera “Il Processo” (The Trial by Kafka) which won the international competition organized by the Committee for the Verdi Centennial Celebrations.
He won the following composition prizes:
1st prize at the Barlow Competition, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA (2015)
1st prize at the Garth Newel Music Center, Virginia USA (2012) with Abaculi Quartet
1st prize at the L. Sumera - Tallin, Estonia (2003) with Starlights for large orchestra.
1st prize at the G. Verdi - Parma (2001) with the opera Il processo after Kafka.
1st prize at the A. Ghazaleh - Paris (2000) with Le rovine di Palmira for large orchestra.
1st prize at the D. Mitropoulos - Athens (1999) with Aria del quetzal for large orchestra.
1st prize at the Musica Viva - Munich (1998) with Passacaglia del leviatano for large orchestra.
1st prize at the E. Grieg Memorial - Oslo (1998) with 1° concerto per pianoforte.
1st prize and special mention by Italian Republic's President at the 2 Agosto - Bologna (1996) with Pax for soprano and orchestra.
1st prize at the Città di Alessandria (1997) with Sonata for guitar.
1st prize at the Gesualdo da Venosa - Potenza (1997) with Evangelium.
1st prize at the F. Margola - Brescia (1996) with Trio.
He has received commissions from major music organizations and festivals. Countless performances of his music have been broadcasted on radio and television throughout Europe, Israel, the USA, Russia and Canada, with CD recordings in the USA, Austria, Canada, Japan and Italy.
Colla is particularly committed to the realization of large orchestral works, which have been performed by some of the most prestigious orchestras. His music was performed by distinguished conductors: Roberto Abbado, Mario Ancillotti, Bruno Campanella, Aldo Ceccato, Myung-whun Chung, Olari Elts, Julian Kovatchev, Tan Lihua, George Manahan, Enrique Mazzola, David Alan Miller, George Pehlivanian, Marc Piollet, Ari Rasilainen, Renato Rivolta, David Robertson, Joel Sachs, Arturo Tamayo, Lucas Vis, Johannes Willig...
His opera “Il Processo” was brought to the stage during the 2002 opera season of Teatro alla Scala, Milan and I Teatri of Reggio Emilia. A production sung in German was presented with new staging in the spring of 2004 at the Opera House in Kiel. Luciano Berio commissioned a work from him for chorus and large orchestra for the inauguration of a large Auditorium designed by Renzo Piano in Rome (December 2002). In April 2003, his symphonic poem “Le rovine di Palmira” was performed in Chicago by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Roberto Abbado. His “Starlights” was performed in Tallin by the Estonian National Symphony under the direction of Olari Elts. A concert dedicated to Colla’s works at the Autumn Festival of Contemporary Music in Moscow was performed in October 2004. Also in 2004, the Albany Symphony (NY) and the Orchestra Regionale della Toscana commissioned two new works for their respective 2005 orchestral seasons. In 2006 the Conferenza Episcopale Italiana (CEI) and the Fondazione Arena di Verona commissioned a large-scale sacred oratorio for narrator, five soloists, three choruses and large symphony orchestra to mark the 3rd Convegno Ecclesiale Italiano. This oratorio was performed in 2006 in Verona and Milan, in 2007 in Verona and Rome and at the Vatican for the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI. It was also staged for the 2008 opera season of Sferisterio di Macerata. In 2006, the Trieste-based Concorso Trio commissioned five chamber works from him that were to be obligatory pieces during its 2007 competition. 2009 marked the world première of his clarinet concerto “Concinnitherium” with the Zagreb Music Biennale as well as the world première of his Third Piano Concerto in Turin performed by pianist Gianluca Cascioli. In 2010, Colla’s “Tempus Nativitatis” was performed by the Orchestre National d'Île de France in Paris under the baton of Enrique Mazzola. The Albany Symphony requested a new composition from him for three guitars and orchestra for its 2011 season.
In 2011, he was nominated associate composer of the Orchestre National d'Île de France in Paris for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. He received a commission for his “Third Symphony” performed in April 2013 to the Salle Pleyel in Paris and for the “Ouverture pour l’èveil des Peuples” performed in the same hall in January 2014.
In October 2013, the RAI Symphony Orchestra in Turin, recorded his work “Starlights” for large symphony orchestra and performed it in February 2014. At the same time the Moscow Autumn Festival dedicated a concert to his works. In 2015 he received a commission by Radio France to compose the symphonic work “Sérénade sur la modulation des vents” for the 2016 Festival Présence in Paris.
In 2015 he won the Barlow Prize in Salt Lake City, USA: a commission to compose a major new work for symphony orchestra. The piece will be premiered by the San Antonio and Utah symphonies and by an orchestra from the Beijing Modern Music Festival in 2017.
Chamber music has an important role in the musical production of the composer. Alberto E. Colla has written several works for the Debussy Trio and the Ensemble Music Antidogma, acting as Resident Composer for both ensembles.
He has explored sacred monody material and musical techniques of extra-European cultures and made his musical research on polystylism and orchestration as a summa of remote musical ‘environments’. The study, reassessment and use of the compositional techniques of 20th-century composers-theorists is of particular interest to him. Colla has adopted a self-made compositional technique called ‘Concinnitas’ since 2005.
He teaches composition at the Conservatorio L. Canepa in Sassari, Sardinia. His works are published by Ricordi and Sonzogno in Milan and by Universal in Vienna. In 2010/2011 he wrote his ‘Manuale di armonia’ (Harmony Book) published in two volumes by Carisch in Milan. In 2011/2014 he wrote the ‘Trattato di armonia moderna e contemporanea’ (Treatise on Modern and Contemporary Harmony) published in september 2015 in two volumes by Carisch in Milan.