Francesco Cilluffo is an Italian composer and conductor born in Turin in 1979.
He graduated in his hometown in Composition and Conducting from the “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatoire and in Musicology (cum laude) at the Turin University with a thesis about Benjamin Britten.
Between 2003 and 2008 he has lived and studied in London. In 2005 he was awarded a Master in Composition (with distinction) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he also held a composition and conducting fellowship. In 2008 he was awarded a PhD in Composition at King’s College, London.
His studies led him to realise that composing and conducting are very much like two sides of the same coin. They are two different and yet complementary sides of creativity: the lonely confrontation of the blank page and the exciting team work of recreating one’s vision within an ensemble of musicians.
His experiences as a conductor span from unusual titles such as Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules, Satie’s Socrate, Poulenc's La voix humaine, Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Campiello, Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff and Isabeau, Alfano's Risurrezione, Giordano's Mala vita, Leoni's L'Oracolo, and the core of the Italian operatic tradition (Rigoletto, Trovatore, Traviata, La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Falstaff, Nabucco, Elisir d’amore, Cavalleria rusticana, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Le nozze di Figaro, L’Arlesiana, Tancredi), up to choral masterworks like the Requiems by Verdi, Mozart, Cherubini and Duruflé. He also premiered important new operas such as Marco Tutino’s Le braci.
Francesco Cilluffo’s opus includes symphonies, song cycles, operas, a video-cantata and various instrumental pieces. He has always had a deep understanding for voices and theatre, and feels at home writing as much as conducting opera and vocal music.
Recent performances include: The Land to Life again (a song cycle for soprano, cello and string orchestra) for the Festival Incontri in Terra di Siena, a Rhapsody for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra (Voci di Tenebra azzurra at the Festival della Valle d’Itria) and Drash for orchestra (Chicago Arts Orchestra).
The world premiere of his opera Il caso Mortara in New York (February 2010) was hailed by New York Times’ critic Anthony Tommasini as a highly recommended event in the New York Classical Music season.