SHORT BIOGRAPHY - ENGLISH

Composer, pianist, singer, trumpet player, writer and music educator.

“He is a man for whom the notion of borders means very little, a genius whose music is without frontiers, and whose originality makes him one of the most innovative composers in any contemporary medium. He gives us a strong idea of our roots and besides points out a few possible roads we might take in the future.” OLIVER SWEENEY, HOTPRESS

Born in Italy with Argentine roots, he graduated in piano at Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini of Florence and introduced piano into Irish and Flamenco music, blending it with blues and creating a positively new and original jazz piano style described by Harry Long in the ‘The Waltons Guide to Irish Music’ as “unique and superb”.

During the 80's the Spanish broadcasting ‘Fin de Siglos' also described him as “The new Keith Jarrett from the Mediterranean”.

Fiona Ritchie calls him the Pioneer of World Music and states that he is the composer who gave the “key structures” to the show Riverdance:

“He was the first to combine Flamenco, Basque, Arabic, Latin and Irish elements, his virtuoso jazz-styled piano uniting these traditions in remarkably original compositions […] Bill Whelan developed Breschi’s synthesis of Flamenco, jazz and Irish traditional strands as a key structure in his Irish music and dance spectacular, Riverdance.”

FIONA RITHCIE, THE NATION PUBLIC RADIO CURIOUS LISTENER'S GUIDE TO CELTIC MUSIC U.S.A.

Well pre-dating Riverdance.” FINTAN VALLELY, THE IRISH TIMES

For many years and predating the times he has been gathering together musicians from all over the world and from different traditions and cultures creating an extraordinary variety of music and recording the thirty-five CDs which form the Nomadic Piano Collection.

Among the many collaborators who appear in this collection are: Ronnie Drew (The Dubliners), Máirtín O’Connor (De Dannan), Antonio Carmona (Ketama), José Seves (Inti-Illimani), Benito Lertxundi, Cathy Jordan (Dervish).

His classic and minimalist compositions for piano, oboe and cello, interpreted by his collaborators Davide Viterbo (cello) and Enio Marfoli (oboe), as well as his world music, have become famous soundtracks for cinema, television, theatre and ballet and have been played in the most prestigious venues.

He has written four books: “Ecologia: Salviamo Anche La Musica”, “Semiminime”, “Heyoka: Il Giullare Delll’anima” and “Sorkuntzaren Trenean-When Bach Was an Irish Man and Mozart a Gipsy Boy”.

In 2005, 2007 and 2012, his work as a musician and a composer and his significant contribution to the Irish and Flamenco culture was celebrated in the National Concert Hall of Dublin, with the participation of The Dubliners, Juan Martín, Máirtín O’Connor, and many more.

Currently he is touring solo, in trio with his daughter Consuelo Nerea (singer, fiddle and bodhrán player) and celloist Davide Viterbo, and with his Nomadic Piano Ensemble, a band of up to fifteen elements that includes musicians and dancers from around the world.

The Nomadic Piano Trio, Rome

The Nomadic Piano Trio, Rome

The Nomadic Piano Ensemble: Davide Viterbo, Mairtin O' Connor, Tony Byrne, Antoni O' Breskey and Consuelo Nerea, Belfast, Duncairn Arts Center

The Nomadic Piano Ensemble: Davide Viterbo, Mairtin O' Connor, Tony Byrne, Antoni O' Breskey and Consuelo Nerea, Belfast, Duncairn Arts Center

The Nomadic Piano Ensemble National Concert Hall, Dublin

The Nomadic Piano Ensemble National Concert Hall, Dublin

 

 

Background and Collaborations

He began playing the piano at the age of three and graduated in piano from the conservatory Luigi Cherubini in Florence. He also studied trumpet. He created the Florence Jazz Society at the age of sixteen and a few years later founded the International Folk Group which became the Whiskey Trail group. This name refers to the journey of the Irish emigrants to America and the meeting with the African people which, pursuant to O’Breskey’s belief, gave birth to jazz. In fact among the many original titles of his albums we find ‘Irish Meet The Blues’ (his first solo album), ‘When Jazz was an Irish Baby’, ‘On the Irish Side of Blues Street’, ‘Bound For America’, etc. 

Between 1970 and 1973 he spent long periods in Alabama and Louisiana to explore the roots of blues, to discover the strong influence of Irish music in jazz and to perform with old jazz traditional musicians. These experiences are described in his tale “Alabama” which can be found in his latest CD book ‘Sorkuntzaren Trenean - When Bach was an Irishman and Mozart a Gypsy Boy’.

Still quite young, in his early twenties, he appears in 1972 in Auburn, Alabama, playing with the Auburn University Orchestra and jazz trombonist Urbie Green. Then in 1980 he performs in Rome with his group Whiskey Trail and jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli for the first RAI ( Italian National Television) Concert for Europe.

In 1985 he concluded the International Jazz Festival of Poland in Kalish together with south African pianist Dollar Brand, in the same year he performed for the National Spanish Television in the stadium of Alcalá De Henares accompanied at cajón by young Antonio Carmona de Los Abichuelas (who also participated in the recording of his flamenco piano album ‘Punta Umbria’ and in ‘Al Kamar’, a fusion between flamenco, Irish music, and the music of the Maghreb).

In Ireland he began a long collaboration and friendship with Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners, who participated in many of Antonio's albums, the most significant being "From Dublin to Bilbao". Later he was on stage in Cesena, Italy with Rumanian pan flute player Gheorghe Zamfir, in Istanbul with the gipsy Turkish clarinet player Selim Sesler, in Paris with African saxophone player Manu Dibango and rock blues French singer Jacques Higelin

He toured extensively in Italy, Ireland and Switzerland with Irish musicians Máirtín O’Connor (De Dannan), Andy Irvine (Planxty), Dolores Keane, John Faulkner, Johnny McCarthy, Joe McHugh, Maurice Lennon (Stockton’s Wing), Gerry and Annie O' Donnell, many of whom participated in Antonio's albums.

In the Basque Country he became close friends with national Basque singer Benito Lertxundi, who participated in his albums "Mezulari" and "Donostia", and Basque poet Josè Angel Irigaray, who created together with Antonio the album of poems and music called "Zeharbidetan". Irigaray also participated in his work "Orekan", which in Basque language means "harmony among the people".

In 2008 he invited the significant collaboration of  José Seves, leader of group Inti Illimani, who sings in his album "Nomadic Aura" with Elisabeth Morris and Biancastella Croce.

Recently Antonio appeared in Ireland in duo with singer Donovan and special guest Chris De Burgh, and with Eoin Dillon (Kíla).

 

Film, Theatre, Ballet, Work with Children and Music Therapy

He composed the soundtrack for the thirteen episode documentary for Italian television RAI 2 named "Il Linguaggio dei Luoghi" (The Language of Places) by film director Folco Quilici, and for many other documentaries by the same director (Le Alpi, Le Isole, etc.).

He composed the music for "Le Colline del Garda" by film director Franco Piavoli, for the "The Nock" by Irish film director Dennis MacArdle.

He composed music for Shakespear’s “Richard the Third” for actor Giorgio Albertazzi. He created together with Zappalá Dance and Sicilian Ballet the work “Mediterraneo: Le Antiche Sponde del Futuro” (Mediterranean: The Ancient Shores of the Future) which was performed all over Italy, Spain and North Africa. 

He created four television serials named "Il Suono e la Terra" (The Sound and the Land) for the Italian television channel RAI 3 all based on his musical journey and his work with ethnic music and children. Antóni O’ created, performed and directed the fairytale "The Woman of the Sea", also for children, produced by Teatro Comunale of Florence with the help of film directors Franco Piavoli, Ermanno Olmi and Mario Monicelli. This fairytale has been performed all over Italy and Switzerland.

Later, Antóni O’ created a new version of the fairytale with Swiss theatre director Michel Poletti, produced by the International Locarno Puppets Festival which is currently touring Europe.

 

A recent performance of 'The Woman of the Sea' by theatre director Michel Poletti.

 

In 1976 he created the music laboratory for children "Pistoia Ragazzi" in Pistoia, Italy and repeated the same experiences later in Zurich with emigrants and children, all this experience described in his book "Ecologia: Salviamo Anche La Musica” (“Ecology, let’s save the music too!”). He also performed and still is performing concerts, shows for children and workshops all over the world. 

His music has also been used for therapy. He personally did music laboratory for handicapped, homeless, drug addicts, immigrants and minority groups. The World Music Magazine of Barcelona wrote "his music is a caress that makes us feel human at least for a few moments".

 

BIOGRAFIA  - ITALIANO

Antonio O’ Breskey, compositore, pianista, scrittore ed esperto in pedagogia musicale.

Antoni O' Breskey Live Festival Time Zones, Bari 2016

 

Le sue basi sono Jazzistiche e classiche, a sedici anni fonda l' Associazione Firenze Jazz e in seguito si diploma in pianoforte al Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini di Firenze.

Nella sua avventura musicale ha unito, anticipando i tempi, le più svariate tradizioni musicali del mondo e usato per la prima volta il pianoforte (in forma creativa ed improvvisativa) nel flamenco e nella musica irlandese creando un nuovo approccio al jazz e alla musica classica e un suo unico stile pianistico.

Anche con la tromba ha ricercato nuove sonoritá e linguaggi unendo lo spirito del blues con quello dello Sean nòs ( antico canto gaelico ).  Ha inciso più di quaranta albums raccolti nella Nomadic Piano Collection, avendo come ospiti innumerevoli musicisti, tra i massimi rappresentanti delle varie culture musicali del mondo. Le sue composizioni minimaliste e classiche per cello e oboe e i suoi lavori di World Music sono diventate note colonne sonore per il cinema, il teatro e la televisione, tra le piú conosciute la serie televisiva di documentari dal titolo Il Linguaggio dei luoghi di Folco Quilici, le musiche per il Riccardo III di Shakespeare nell'allestimento di Giorgio Albertazzi e la fiaba musicale The woman of the sea, creata, diretta, interpretata ed eseguita da Antoni O’ e la sua ensemble di attori e musicisti, e prodotta dal Teatro Comunale di Firenze, con la supervisione del regista Franco Piavoli e la collaborazione di Ermanno Olmi e Mario Monicelli. Una nuova versione chiamata “La sirenetta” è stata recentemente prodotta insieme al regista Michel Poletti, direttore del Festival Internazionale delle Marionette di Lugano, e continua a girare l’Europa ottenendo straordinari successi.

Svolge fin dagli anni 70’ una grande attivitá pedagogica di animazione teatrale/musicale e lezioni concerto: a Pistoia fondando il centro Pistoia ragazzi, a Zurigo alla Casa D'Italia, nelle Università e scuole di musica in Irlanda, nel Paese Basco e in Brasile. 

Ha scritto quattro libri: Ecologia: salviamo anche la musica!Semiminime, ed Heyoka, il giullare dell’anima e l’ultimo, il cd-libro When Bach was an Irishman and Mozart a gipsy boy, tradotto in inglese e lingua basca (ed.Pamiela, Pamplona).

 

La sua musica è usata molto nel campo terapeutico ed è stata definita dalla rivista World Music Magazine di Barcelona "una carezza che ci fa sentire umani almeno per qualche istante" .

Nel 2007 la Radio Televisione di Lugano ha dedicato due trasmissioni live/concert per celebrare il suo lavoro non solo come compositore e concertista ma anche come pedagogo, operatore sociale e culturale con il suo lavoro per l'integrazione degli immigrati iberici e italiani in Svizzera.

Nel 2005, 2007 e 2012 alla National Concert Hall di Dublino si sono svolti tre concerti celebrativi del lavoro di Antoni O' Breskey per il suo contributo dato alla cultura e alla musica irlandese e per l'unione delle culture del mondo con la partecipazione tra gli altri dei The Dubliners. 

Antoni O' Breskey and The Nomadic Piano Ensemble at National Concert Hall, 2012

 

A Firenze nel 2010 è stata creata la prima edizione del Nomadic Piano Festival interamente dedicato al suo lavoro con la partecipazione tra gli altri del gruppo cileno Inti Illimani. 

Il suo ultimo cd-libro When Bach was an Irishman and Mozart a gipsy boy sta ricevendo grande successo dalla critica internazionale ed è stato definito "un puro sogno ad occhi aperti" dall'Irish Echo di Boston. Il 2016 lo ha visto impegnato nel tour di lancio di questo disco, con tappe in tutta Europa, tra cui anche la partecipazione al Festival Time Zones di Bari.

Antoni O' Breskey & Davide Viterbo live Festival Time Zones, Bari, 2016

Antoni O' Breskey & Davide Viterbo live Festival Time Zones, Bari, 2016

 

Attualmente Antoni O' Breskey si esibisce il concerti di piano solo, in duo o trio con sua figlia Consuelo Nera (voce, violino, bodhran) e Davide Viterbo (violoncello) oppure con la Nomadic Piano Ensemble, una formazione variabile tra i cinque e quindici elementi.

The Nomadic Piano quartet, Rome, 2015

The Nomadic Piano quartet, Rome, 2015

The Nomadic Piano quartet, Rome, 2015

The Nomadic Piano quartet, Rome, 2015

 

 

ESPANOL

“Antoni O' Breskey, compositor, pianista y vocalista. "Un genio cuya música sin fronteras lo convierte en uno de los músicos mas innovadores de todos los géneros musicales”REVISTA HOT PRESS DUBLIN

Pocos artistas extranjeros han tenido una relación tan estrecha con Euskal Herria como Antoni O´ Breskey. En los años 80 tras dos colaboraciones discográficas con Benito Lertxundi el compositor y pianista italo-irlandés realiza el disco MEZULARI, que se convertirá casi en un hit en Euskadi – mas de 15.000 copias vendidas primero con ELKAR y luego con EGIN -. “Mezulari” es el apodo con el que el poeta J. A. Irigaray llamaba a Antoni O´ por su incansable dedicación a unir pueblos y culturas. Benito, en cambio, lo define como un druida superviviente de la desaparición de Atlántida y en su libro biográfico a cargo de Alvaro Feitio lo incluye entre sus principales inspiradores junto a Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Donovan y Alan Stivell.
Su trabajo mas reciente dedicado a Euskal Herria es ZEHARBIDETAN, en colaboración con el poeta J. A. Irigaray. En este disco aparecen también Benito Lertxundi, Ronnie Drew (THEDUBLINERS) y el cantante africano Gabin Dabiré. 
J. A. Salaverri lo define en EL CORREO ESPAÑOL como “uno de los mas grandes compositores y pianistas actuales” FIONA RITCHIE EN SU NUEVA ANTOLOGIA DE MÚSICA CELTA (NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO USA EN 2005) ESCRIBIÓ: “Las categorias de World Music y New Age no existian cuando Antoni O´ comenzó su meteórico viaje, de hecho él fue pionero en combinar elementos flamencos, irlandeses, árabes, vascos y latinos. 

“Antoni O´ publicó 16 CDs que forman la colección “Ethnic Piano”. 
Esta colección es única en el mundo. Por primera vez el piano, príncipe de los intrumentos refinados, se combina con una amplia gama de intrumentos étnicos como: gaitas irlandesas, whistle, fiddle, acordeón irlandés, alboka vasca, guitarras flamencas, violín árabe, voces africanas, zarb de Persia, charango de Chile, tablas y tampora indias, didgerydoo australiano, y muchos mas…

The Nomadic Piano project - El piano es un instrumento que pertenece a la música clásica y que cambió la escala musical natural, creando un nuevo sistema llamado “well tempered”. ETHNIC PIANO es un desafío y una contradicción, algo imposible… pero mágicamente el piano empieza a cantar como un arpa, a llorar como un “sean nos”, a reir como una gaita irlandesa, a soplar como un wistle, a correr como un tambor africano, a bailar como un gitano flamenco, a charlar como un fiddle, a divertirse como un banjo, a swingear como una trompeta de jazz… gracias a esta transformación mágica y a estos ecos de tierras y culturas lejanas en tiempo y espacio pero aun cercanas a nuestras raices comunes, podemos poner rumbo a un viaje muy diferente al que se pueda hacer en tren o por aire; así nos convertimos en turistas del alma transportada por los sonidos, el sentimiento y los colores que fluyen del piano nómada de Antoni' O.

EUSKERA

 

“ANTONI O´ BRESKEY. KONPOSITORE, PIANOJOLE, BOKALISTA. Jenio honen muga gabeko musikak genero guztietako musikari berriztatzaileenetariko bihurtzen du.”

HOT PRESS DUBLIN ALDIZKARIA 

Artista atzerritar gutxik izan du Antoni O’ Breskey-k bezain harreman estua Euskal Herriarekin. Laurogeigarren hamarkadan, Benito Lertxundirekin bi diskatan elkarlanean aritu ondoren, konpositore eta pianojole italo-irlandarrak MEZULARI diska plazaratzen du –ia hit bat Euskadin, 15.000 kopia salduta lehenik ELKARekin eta gero EGINen eskutik– . “Mezulari” J. A. Irigaray poetak Antoni O´-ri jarritako ezizena da, herriak eta kulturak elkartzeko darabilen ahalegin nekaezinagatik. Benitok, ostera, Atlantidaren desagertzetik bizirik dirauen druida bezala definitzen du eta bere liburu biografikoan (Alvaro Feitiok idatzitakoa) honen inspiratzaile nagusien artean kokatzen du Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Donovan eta Alan Stivell-ekin batera.
Euskal Herriari eskainitako bere lanik berriena J. A. Irigarayrekin batera burututako ZEHARBIDETAN diska da. Lan honetan Benito Lertxundi, Ronnie Drew (The Dubliners) eta Gabin Dabiré abeslari afrikarra ere agertzen dira.
J. C. Salaverrik EL CORREO ESPAÑOLen “gaur eguneko konpositore eta pianista handienetakoa” bezala definitu du. 

FIONA RITCHIE-K BERE KELTAR MUSIKAREN ANTOLOGIAN (NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO USA 2005EAN) IDATZI ZUEN: 

“World Music eta New Age kategoriarik ez zegoen Antoni O´ Breskey-k bere bidaia meteorikoa hasi zuenean; izan ere, bera izan zen flamenkar, irlandar, arabiar, euskal eta latinar elementuak konbinatzen lehena.”

“Antoni O´-k 16 CD argitaratu zituen ETHNIC PIANO bilduma osatuz. Bilduma hau bakarra da munduan. Lehen aldiz pianoa, instrumentu sofistikatuen printzea, instrumentu etniko sortarekin konbinatuta agertzen zaigu: gaita irlandarra, wistle, fiddle, esku-soinu irlandarra, euskal alboka, kitarra flamenkarra, arabiar bibolina, ahots afrikarrak, Persiako zarb-a, Txileko charango-a, Indiako tabla eta tampora, Australiako didgerydoo-a, eta beste hainbat gehiago…”

The Nomadic Piano Project - Pianoa musika klasikoari dagokion instrumentua da, “well tempered” izeneko sistema berria sortuz musikaren eskala naturala aldatu zuena. Piano etnikoa erronka eta kontraesana da, zerbait ezinezkoa… baina era magikoan, pianoa arpa bat bailitzan abesten hasten da, “sean nos”-a bezala negar egiten, gaita irlandarraren moduan barrezka, wistle-ak bezala putz egiten, danbor afrikarrak legez korrika, ijitu flamenkarren antzera dantzan, fiddle-a bezala hizketan, banjoak bezala dibertitzen, jazz tronpeta bailitzan swingeatzen… eraldaketa magiko hauei esker eta, denboraz zein espazioz urruti izanik ere, gure sustrai komunetatik hain gertu ditugun lurralde eta kulturen oihartzunen bitartez bidaia batean sartzen gara, abioiz zein trenez egin daitekeena ez bezalakoa; horrela, Antoni O´-ren piano nomadari darizkion soinu, sentimendu eta koloreek sortutako arimaren turista bihurtzen gara.