A grand piano facing a large window sits behind Ludovico Einaudi while speaking from his home in Turin, Italy. A fitting setting for the pianist and composer to create the beautiful music he is renowned for.
Not only does the 68-year-old create calm through his music, but also conversation, taking his time to thoughtfully answer questions.
Only a week earlier Einaudi was performing a string of concerts in Dubai, and the month before that a marathon 17-night residency in Milan. He is home only briefly before touring Australia, which will include performances at the Sydney Opera House and Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Ludovico Einaudi at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
- Dates: Wednesday 7 February
- Venue: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
- Tickets available here
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Einaudi will be performing his newest solo album ‘Underwater,’ which was written during the pandemic in 2020. In the process, he committed to writing a piece of music each day. “This was like a diary, every day I was writing down one idea, I was writing music and words,” he recalls. “I wasn’t thinking too much, or judging what I was doing, I just needed to do one every day.”
After a busy period in his professional life, Einaudi says he embraced the downtime during the pandemic. “I was in a beautiful place in the mountains with my family and I took long walks every day.” After a month, he says he noticed an emerging pattern. “I kept noticing this wave of having a good idea every five days,” he says. “Those nice ideas had a very specific mood that I liked.”
Einaudi continued this process for a few more months before cutting it down to 12 tracks for ‘Underwater.’ He went to extra lengths to replicate the sound of the upright piano he had used to write in the mountains. “I prepared the grand piano with a technician adding an extra amount of felt to the hammers to have them as soft as possible,” he explains.
The title ‘Underwater’ references the unease felt worldwide when the album was made. “This time was without a future for everyone,” explains Einaudi. “The idea that we were all in a different dimension and it was like floating in another space.”
Einaudi has developed a unique style of music over his career, though it could have turned out very differently. For several years he was taught by the great Italian avant-garde composer Luciano Berio. “I learned a lot of technical and beautiful stuff about music and performing,” he says. “It was very interesting logically, but it didn’t fulfil any of my musical desires or emotions connected with music.”
“I grew up also listening to a lot of pop and rock music, and that music was very colourful, it was full of emotions, so I started to experiment… to try and find a language that kept all these things together,” says Einaudi. “There are so many beautiful ideas of the avant-garde that are more theoretical than musical that I like to keep in my head.”
While his music is undeniably peaceful, Einaudi says an inner peace is not always there. “Maybe I’m not a totally calm person, but I need calm around me and inside me, so I have to search how to do it,” he explains. “Music is a way to concentrate, to go live in another dimension… in a sort of abstract world.” Einaudi is also a fan of Pilates, and during his Milan residency practised his daily routine in the grand auditorium before each show.
Though it may seem an unlikely place for a classical musician, Einaudi’s 2013 track ‘Experience’ became a viral trend on TikTok in 2021 and was used in millions of video creations. He delights in the surge of younger fans. “There’s a great amount of young people that come to my concerts,” he says. “This is beautiful because I like to be in touch with different generations.”
Unable to pinpoint exactly why his music resonates with all generations, Einaudi muses that the elusiveness of it may be a factor. “It’s a story, but it’s like the story is open to different solutions… It doesn’t ever give you a clear answer to where it’s going,” he says. “It’s a road with multiple endings.”
“With instrumental music, you don’t have the barrier of language so if it connects it connects immediately with everyone,” continues Einaudi. “While I was in the Arabic [speaking] countries they were listening to music the same way they listened in the UK or China or Australia.”
Einaudi’s music naturally lends itself to cinema, so it’s no surprise he’s been approached to score both television and films, including Oscar winners The Father and Nomadland. “You have to find the right tone to tune yourself with the story of the film, and at the same time, you have to find the tune within yourself,” he explains. “It’s a collaboration that… can be very beautiful sometimes because the film can take you on a journey that you wouldn’t have done by yourself.”
Currently, on Spotify alone, Einaudi has a staggering 9.7 million monthly listeners, though he graciously played the number down. “I don’t think about my results in terms of streaming, not at all, I don’t even look at them now,” he says. “I’m thinking about trying to give my best performances and write the best music I can. I concentrate on that.”