Duo Alterno

Tiziana Scandaletti and Riccardo Piacentini

The DUO ALTERNO, defined by Los Angeles Times “the high theatrics Duo with a strong personality”, by The Washington Post “the duo with a big voice and a fine sense of comedic timing”, by la Repubblica “the duo that gives voice (and piano) to the Italian century”, by the Globe and Mail “the inventive Duo” and by The Indu of Chennai “an electric experience”, was born in Torino (Italy). With its repertoire of all main authors of 20th Century and over than eighty Italian living composers, the DUO is considered one of the most significant reference points in the vocal-piano repertoire of works by composers ranging from the early 20th century to today. Since its debut in Vancouver in 1997 it has kept concerts and master-classes in over than sixty countries. Recordings for Curci (Manzoni, Piacentini), Nuova Era (Alfano, Casella, Ghedini, Malipiero), Stradivarius (six CDs “La voce contemporanea in Italia” with Italian living composers), Urania (Tosti, “The Last Songs” on original Erard piano) document a long activity with alluring reviews. Many composers (including Giacomo Manzoni and Ennio Morricone) have written pieces for soprano Tiziana Scandaletti and pianist-composer Riccardo Piacentini, both of whom are graduated with top marks in History of Music as well as in their respective fields of performance, now professors at Milan Conservatory.

About us...

La Voce del Serchio, September 5th 2020: When culture makes a spectacle
“Intense day of contemporary culture at the Officine Garibaldi in Pisa as part of the ‘Contemporary Muses and art notes’ event [...] In the evening, the concert by the Duo Alterno [...] ‘Pink Songs’, dedicated to contemporary composers, one of whom, Maria Radeschi, was present [...] two artists of great stature and talent, recognized all over the world. An unusual concert that at first disconcerts because it is unexpected, then capable of guiding the listeners into a playful dimension as well as virtuous, finally involving them thanks to the two artists who act, as well as singing and playing. At the base of everything, an overflowing professionalism and an ability to get involved even at the level joke. But, to remain contemporary, there was no lack of references to moments we live, with the recording of lockdown sounds accompanied by improvised notes, an experience presented to the public for the first time.” (LVdS)
La Stampa, May 8th 2020: Duo Alterno and women’s notes for Pink Coffee
“Tiziana Scandaletti soprano, Riccardo Piacentini piano: an indestructible couple in life and art with the name of Duo Alterno, as well as foundations of Rive Gauche, the association without which contemporary music in Turin would practically not live. Thanks to them a testimony of this reality is revealed even in the period of live cultual famine, and with a precious added value: the only theme is that of women composers. According to this and the fact that the programming is at 2 pm immediately after lunch, the title is ‘Pink Coffee’. It started on 2 May and includes three other appointments, all on Saturdays, online for the ‘Crescendo’ broadcast conducted by Rodolfo Mezzino on RBL - Radio Banda Larga. The Duo Alterno links his stories with live recordings during tournées abroad and comments on the songs of 12 Italian women composers (Sonia Bo, Beatrice Campodonico, Elesabetta Capurso, Ada Gentile, Carla Magnan, Marcela Pavia, Teresa Procaccini, Maria Radeschi, carla Rebora, Rossella Spinosa, Roberta Vacca and, in conclusion, a memory by Cathy Berberian), with texts by Charles Baudelaire, Sandro Cappelletto, Silvana Copperi, Félix Lope de Vega, Pietro Metastasio, Saffo (translated by Salvatore Quasimodo), Rossella Spinosa.” (Leonardo Osella)
Municipalidad de Bell Ville (Argentina), October 9th 2019:
Sorprendente actuación del italianísimo Duo Alterno
“En el marco de la XVIII Fiesta Nacional de la Pelota de Fútbol se presentó en nuestra ciudad el Dúo Alterno, con la organización del instituto italiano de Cultura de Córdoba, el Conservatorio Superior de Música Gilardo Gilardi y la dicección de Educación y Cultura de la Municipalidad. Conformado por la soprano Tiziana Scandalétti y el compositor y pianista Riccardo Piacentini, ofrecieron un paseo por la evolución de la música italiana, inmortalizada por grandes compositores per con orígines en la más profunda tradición popular, con piezas escritas en los últimos años por seis protagonistas de la música actual pertenecientes a diferentes geraciones: Rossella Spinosa, Maria Radéschi, Carla Rebora, Marcela Pavia (nacida en Argentina), Elisabetta Capúrso y Ada Gentile. De las seis piezas, cuatro están específicamente dedicadas al Duo Alterno y, en particular, a la “voz proteica” de la soprano Tiziana Scandaletti, logrando cautivar a un público sorprendido por la combinación de música y humor [...]” (M. B. V.)
La Stampa, October 31st 2018: Understanding contemporary music
“Contemporary music can be fun and, to demonstrate this, ‘Musiche in Mostra’ comes, the Rive-Gauche concert season [...] Riccardo Piacentini, president of the association, composer and pianist, explains: ‘We bring contemporary music to alternative places, basically not in concert halls but in museums, ancient buildings and unusual spaces. The idea is to make it arrive in environments that allow for interactions, because we are now in a time where we feel the need to get out of academic constraints, to free ourselves from a slightly rigid approach that this genre sometimes brings with itself’. Make room for imagination and experimentation to dispel commonplaces related to the contemporary, such as that it is inaccessible, that to listen to it you need a special preparation or that is characterized by shrill and perhaps even annoying sounds!” (Franca Cassine)
American Record Guide, July-August 2018: Tosti Last Songs
“[...] Tiziana Scandaletti's pleasant, a good match for these attractive, melodic songs [...] Her diction is also excellent. She is a native Italian and enunciates the double consonants clearly and is sensitive to the texts. Piacentini offers lovely accompaniments; his sensual handling of the Puccini waltz had me singing along [...] If you're a Tosti collector, you might want this.” (Reynolds)
MusicVoice, June 2018: When Tosti knocked on the door of modernity
“[...] a couple of artists who has made a name internationally in the panorama of vocal chamber music of the twentieth century and above all of contemporaneity and that represents a precise point of reference for this type of repertoire [...] The recording made by the Duo Alterno deserves to be examined for its inherent and stimulating peculiarities. First of all, we have to say about the choice of the songs presented by the two interpreters, that are works which almost all belong to the last period of the Abruzzese period [...] It goes without saying that in the face of such a program, Tiziana Scandaletti and Riccardo Piacentini go to wedding, creating a reading that is filter and irradiation, where the soprano singing element sees the voice (called to support difficult textures, especially in acute register) to give a truly recitative, theatrical dimension, while the algid piano dimension traces and suggests contours and frames that implacably fix visions and connotations destined to fade at the rhythm of an inner time [...] Also noteworthy is the sound technique, performed at Lazzarino Pianoforti Studios in Acqui Terme, marked by a dynamic able to restore speed and energy to the voice of Tiziana Scandaletti [...]” (Andrea Bedetti)
Suonare News, May 2018: A voice actress for the last Tosti
“It could only be the Duo Alterno, who for decades have been passionate witnesses through concerts and cd recordings about the twentieth century Italian chamber music, to give voice to the last Tosti. By placing him not among the melodramatic 19th century lounge followers [...] Tiziana Scandaletti's acting voice is ideal, as well as it works with particular sound suggestion that the line of the piano theatrically supported by Piacentini has the antique voice of a nineteenth-century piano, an Erard of 1904.” (Angelo Foletto)
Chair of Department of Music, UMBC University of Maryland, Baltimore County,
April 23rd 2018
“Dear Tiziana and Riccardo [...] it was an absolute pleasure to welcome you to UMBC, and to hear your wonderful performance! The students were very intrigued and inspired by all that you presented, and I had many discussions with them about the value in making a performance both beautiful and surprising!” (Linda Dusman)
Quotidiano Nazionale, April 15th 2018: Listening to the beauty. Verses by the Vate and notes by Tosti, a true Consolation
“A recent CD Urania Records (2017) contains lyrics by Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) on verses by Gabriele d'Annunzio (1863-1938). The interpreters are the Duo Alterno, soprano and piano, so meritorious in the diffusion of the music of our twentieth century [...] the CD offers the poem 'Consolazione' (1916), 17 quatrains of endeasyllables taken from the 'Paradisiac Poem' [...] A very strong bass note and a prelude introduce the initial exhortation, 'do not cry anymore'. A fervid murmur envelops 'Dreams, dreams, my dear soul!'; bare, empty piano chords evoke the silence of an instrument dumb from years [...]” (Giuseppina La Face)
Classicaonline, March 2018: The late Songs for soprano and piano. Duo Alterno.
1 CD Urania Records LDV14033
[...] Piacentini, who chose a 1904 Erard piano not causally, giving them the elegance and essentiality that make these small pages 'album sheets' of uncommon quality, so deprived of any sentimental rhetoric often stuck by a deformed vision of late nineteenth-century sensibility. Complete this excellent program the interesting experiment, characteristic of the Duo, on the research 'photo-music with photo-sounds', where the 'soundscape' of Ortona, the birthplace of Tosti is portrayed: the artists have 'captured' among the houses of the time the fountains and the cobblestones that still smell of the past era, the 'acoustic context that, merged in more recent sounds, even today resists', presenting it in such genuine dress and, therefore, placed in counterpoint with one of the rare duets vocal of the author's production, 'Aimez, quand on vous aime!', obtaining an interesting and original result that closes in an unusual way a program no doubt uncommon for those who superficially liquidate Francesco Paolo Tosti as author of ‘lounge songs’.” (Bruno Belli)
Il Giornale di Voghera, January 29th 2018: Success of the first concert of Alia Musica. A journey to the “isle that does not exist”
“There are valid musicians as teachers, but not as composers or performers. There are those who perform well in the recording studio and live concert, and those who give the best only in front of the audience. There are good interpreters who are little looking and studying, and scholars who neglect the voice or the instrument. There are singers who have breath and not taste, or taste and breathless [...] The miracle I had Sunday afternoon at the Historical Museum, in the 'twilight concert' of the Duo Alterno dedicated to the Shoah: the first of the concerts of the new review of Alia Musica. Tiziana Scandaletti [... and] Riccardo Piacentini [...] have held concerts in all five continents, recorded about twenty CDs, deepened - for records and for concerts - music and composers known and less known, have experimented novelties like the ‘fotosuoni’ and moreover they are a nice couple. In art and in life. Tiziana has a voice from far away the chandeliers tremble and beautiful timbre, but does not use it to ‘make a scene’, but to put it at the service of interpretations superfine words and notes. Riccardo, pianist and composer, has worked and intrigued with his ‘fotosuoni’, sound impressions that accompany images projected on screen during the [...] execution of famous composers have dedicated numerous pages to the Duo Alterno [...]” (Elena Cristina Bolla)
Musica, December 2016 - january 2017: The Italian contemporary voice vol. 6
“We do not know if this is their last CD dedicated to the Italian contemporary voice, but it is sure we can make a balance of this project, developed over a decade. The recorded pieces belong to the last 60 years, but they go also back to the watershed at the end of the Second World War, proposing for instance works of Petrassi and Scelsi too. [...] Scandaletti’s voice stands out compared to the recorded part, with excerpts by the ‘Concert’ [...] to the Duo Alterno we have to recognize not only interpretation skills, but also high creative qualities in catching the sense of signs and building, with the composer, the true final piece. Piacentini’s piano has a tinny sound; Scandaletti shows remarkable technical skills and a pretty wide range: it is impressive to listen to a singer (se the final pitches in Guarnieri and Landini) who is so able in performing long and very high notes keeping a slight dynamic, a sort of Giotto’s circle in music field.” (Gabriele Moroni)
Amadeus, January 2016: The art of singing (and playing) reciting
“[...] in the foyer of Teatro Verdi in Padua [...] it was held the concert ‘Il teatro in una stanza’ [The theater in a room]. The concert started with a brief presentation by Piacentini on the evening, an idea that was crucial for better understanding the program. Then Berio’s 'Four popular songs' was performed, an impressive beginning to show the remarkable and powerful voice of Scandaletti and the wonderful technique of Piacentini, as well as making immediately clear the harmony between the two musicians [...] Heart of the program was the selection by ‘Epitaffi sparsi’ [Scattered Epitaphs] of Morricone, in a version with preludes and postludes dedicated by the author to the same Duo Alterno. Besides the advantage of showing the not film side of the very famous composer, this piece had also the task of introducing the concept of acting theater inside the concert, between declamations of the pianist and stage movements of the singer, not last the climb over the piano in the eighth ‘Epitaph’. This concept then was taken to extreme levels by Ada Gentile’s ‘How Betty Boop spends her daytime’, written in 2006 and dedicated to the duo [...] At the end of the program there were the ‘Four songs on ancient Neapolitan texts’ of Giorgio Federico Ghedini [...] that again confirmed the strong technique and precise sound research of the two performers.” (Alessandro Tommasi)
The Jakarta Post, October 18th 2015: Il Duo Alterno: Italian era intimates Asia
“[...] The contemporary composition ‘À la vie’, by Riccardo Piacentini and sung by Tiziana Scandaletti under the name Il Duo Alterno, pivoted between 100 years of essences captured, with ‘I Sonetti delle fate’ by Gian Francesco Malipiero and ‘L’adieu à la vie’ by Alfredo Casella, becoming nexus in explaining a world so distant in outlook as 1915 Italy. [...] Present were diplomats including Russians, Spaniards and Indonesians ready to be infused with the cultural exchange marking a historical moment. Each person in Il Duo Alterno was acknowledged by their command of vocal chamber music, a form of intimacy in song different to opera, which, sung Scandaletti, has the heights of a soprano with the aesthetic of confided storytelling. [...] To the ears and hearts of Piacentini [...] and Scandaletti, an opera-trained soprano [...] the nuances of different experiences in Italy can be traced through compositions. [...] Texts from Rabindranath Tagore, who won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, complimented the pieces, alongide Rilke and Gabriele D’Annunzio. Expressing intensities on love, war and death a century ago by uncovering mysticism with the ecstasies of poetry, it was an eye-opener, brilliantly placed by Il Duo Alterno, on how the world changed. As text over Piacentini’s video projections and his coined ‘foto-suoni’ manifested those responses to war [...] ‘human sound for human people’ [...] as Italy’s best fly in and exchange ideas on many historical and modern interpretations.” (Angus Mitchell)
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The DUO made its debut in February 1997 at Vancouver Festival of Italian Contemporary Music, where they were invited to hold concerts and master classes at Simon Fraser University, at University of British Columbia and Vancouver Academy of Music. Since then they have undertaken regular foreign tours all around the world: Algeria (2016/19), Argentina (1998, 2004/19), Australia (2004/8/10), Austria (2007/14/16), Azerbaijan (2014/15), Belgium (2002/5/23), Brazil (2012/16), Canada (1997, 2003/8/9/13/14), China (2002/7/8/10/15), Croatia (2014), Czech Republic (2009/10/12/13), Korea (2001), Denmark (1999, 2008/16/21), Estonia (2019), Ethiopia (2010), Finland (1998/9, 2010/15/19), France (2001/10/15/22), Germany (2007/8/9/12/13/16/17/18/21/23), Guatemala (2016/19), Holland (2005/14), Hong Kong (2011/15/16), Hungary (2011/14), Japan (2006/7/16), India (2004), Indonesia (2001/4/15), Kazakhstan (2001), Latvia (2009), Lithuania (2009), Luxembourg (2022), Malaysia (2018), Malta (2011), Mexico (2019/23), Mongolia (2007/10), Myanmar (2018), Norway (1999, 2002), Peru (2012), Poland (2011/12), Russia (2005/9/14), Serbia (2009/10/12), Singapore (2001/2/3/10/15), Slovakia (2015), Slovenia (2014), Spain (2011/12/22/23), Sweden (1999, 2008/15/19), Switzerland (2013), Thailand (2015), Turkey (2005), Ukraine (2009), the United States (2000/3/5/6/7/8/9/10/12/13/14/18), the United Kingdom (2001/13), Uzbekistan (1998/9), Venezuela (2012/16).

As well as dozens of performances in Italy, from Alba Music Festival to Fondazione Toscana Musica e Arte in Arezzo, Kandinsky Academy and Irpinia Festival in Avellino, Musica Aperta in Bergamo, Perosi International Academy in Biella, Accademia Filarmonica, Cultural Centre “La Soffitta” and Teatro Comunale – MICO in Bologna, Spazio Musica in Cagliari, Spazio Novecento in Cremona, Carlo Zauli Museum in Faenza, GAMO in Florence, Amici del Carlo Felice in Genua, Amici della Musica in Lanciano, Maratea Musica Festival, Dal Verme Theater and I Pomeriggi Musicali, Contemporary Music Center, Asteria Theater and Società dei Concerti in Milan, City Theater in Modena, International Summer Festival in Montepulciano, Millemondi Festival in Naples, Bibiena Art Festival in Piacenza, Amici della Musica in Pistoia, I Teatri di Reggio Emilia, Nuovi Spazi Musicali, Musica d’oggi, Incontri con la Musica, PentArte and Nuova Consonanza in Rome, Antidogma, Torino Settembre Musica, Camerata Casella, Accademia Stefano Tempia and Festival MI.TO in Turin, Trieste Prima, Amici della Musica in Udine, Teatro La Fenice, Ateneo Veneto, Levi Foundation and Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Venice… besides several master-classes in Academies, Conservatories and Universities (Biella, Bologna, Padua, Turin, Trento…). 

Map of the concerts kept by the Duo Alterno all around the world.

Among the artists who collaborated with the DUO ALTERNO: violinist Jeremy Bell, writer Gabriella Bianco, cellist Guido Boselli, violinist Maurizio Cadossi, violinist Daniela Cammarano, writer Sandro Cappelletto, flutist Enrico Di Felice, cellist Francesco Dillon, dancer and coreographer Katja Erfurth, guitarist Bryan Johanson, violinist Matthias Leupold, trombonist Michele Lomuto, violinist Massimo Marin, flutist Massimo Mercelli, flutist Sara Minelli, flutist Anna Maria Morini, trombonist Ivo Nilsson, flutist Giuseppe Nova, bass clarinettist Rocco Parisi, accordionist Christine Patè, writer Quirino Principe, cellist Madeleine Shapiro, flutist Gianni Trovalusci, accordionist Davide Vendramin. Among the ensembles and the orchestras: Gruppo Fiati Musica Aperta – Bergamo, National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Azerbaijan, Nuovo Contrappunto – Florence, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali – Milan, Penderecki String Quartet – Toronto, Pentarte Ensemble, State Philarmonic Orchestra – Baku conducted by Fabrizio Festa, Studio for New Music – Moscow.

They have taken part in broadcasts on national radio and television stations, including RAI, Radio Italian Switzerland, Uzbek National Radio as well as Kazak and Peruvian, Indian and Chinese National Televisions, Australian SBS, etc.