An Interview with Composer Federico Ferrandina
You, Fascinating You, a novel based on the epic story behind a timeless love song, will soon come full circle on the stage as a dramatic musical. Author Germaine Shames returned to her roots in Theater to write the book and lyrics. Because music resides at the very heart of this story, she knew that she needed to attract an exceptional composer.
She found Federico Ferrandina on Stage 32, a global network of working artists, and was struck by the elegance and timelessness of his compositions, and by how they subtly echoed elements of the music that was so much a part of her protagonists’ lives.
Federico earned degrees in Classical Guitar and Composition before branching into film scoring, his current specialty. His songs and orchestral pieces grace film and television soundtracks in Italy, the United States, Canada and Poland. In October 2012, he won two Global Music Awards for his pop song “What We Are” and the instrumental “Paradigma.”
In the following interview, he shares his love of music and story.
—What first drew you to a life in music?
I was born in a family of musicians. My mother was a piano teacher, my grandmother a violinist, and my great grandfather the conductor of a military band, as far as I know, but maybe this is not an exhaustive answer. I mean that the exposure to musical stimulation since my tender age had probably brought a particular propensity to music, but I think I started feeling music as my main expressive horizon when I was about 11 years old, completely bored by classical piano lessons, and I discovered the Beatles and the whole rock culture that taught me what is a musical emotion. I know that’s a paradox, but only after this did I learn the real deepness of so-called classical music that I was obliged to study since I was a child. Maybe I had to reach it my own way (some say that growth presupposes transgression…).
—You divide your time between Rome, Italy and Los Angeles, California. How does this double life influence your music, and what career opportunities does it afford you?
My frequent travels and stays in California started just after the achievement of the Global Music Awards. It’s a quite new thing for me, so it’s hard to say, but in L.A. I had the chance to meet and work with colleagues from the film music industry that influenced a lot my musical thoughts. My practical methods of writing are changing too, not to mention the wonderful and inspirational independent musical scene of Los Angeles, swelling with new ideas and sounds that immediately captured my curiosity.
—You have won awards both in Italy and globally, produced CDs, placed songs in film and television… Which achievements as a musician and composer give you the most satisfaction?
They’re all tiles of the same mosaic. I get some sort of satisfaction when I know that my music has been able to share my emotional message with someone; it happens in different ways and circumstances. You Fascinating You, the musical, is a good example.
—What drew you to You, Fascinating You?
I was contacted directly by writer Germaine Shames, who found my music on the Web and asked me to work with her on this musical. I accepted almost immediately. This story speaks to me in such a deep way, and I love everything that deals with ballet and dance, a passion of mine.
—This musical tells the story behind the timeless Italian love song “Tu solamente tu” by Neapolitan composer Pasquale Frustaci. How would you describe Frustaci’s music? Does it bear any resemblance to your own?
Pasquale Frustaci is known, above all, as a songwriter. We can consider his songs as pop songs of that age, with clear references to Neapolitan folk melodies, but they immediately reveal a deep knowledge of late Romantic music in the harmonic movements and a smooth influence from jazz (Gershwin, Cole Porter, Berlin…) with rhythmic elements from Latin American music (Tango and Beguine). These same features coming from both classical and jazz music that converge into a Mediterranean conception of melody belong to my music, too. I’m always searching for my own way to make these soundscapes dialogue.
—What are you finding most challenging about composing the score of You, Fascinating You?
I want to create a sound horizon that evokes early 20th century music (pop and classical) yet is able to speak to contemporary audiences. The challenge is to experience music from a past age by way of a contemporary sensibility. It must engage the irrational and unconscious part of the audience and drive them to the heart of You, Fascinating You.
—What are your hopes for this project?
I hope that this history reaches people and touches their intimate feelings. You, Fascinating You is a chance to reflect on our past and mistakes, on our dreams and love.
Visit Federico’s Website
Federico on IMDB
View Federico’s YouTube Channel
Hear Federico’s Music on SoundCloud
Hear THE SONG that started it all!