Ezio Bosso obituary

Ezio Bosso wrote four operas and four symphonies and toured relentlessly.
Ezio Bosso wrote four operas and four symphonies and toured relentlessly. Photograph: Laure Genillard
Ezio Bosso wrote four operas and four symphonies and toured relentlessly. Photograph: Laure Genillard
David Tremlett

Last modified on Mon 10 Aug 2020 13.50 EDT

My collaborator and friend Ezio Bosso, who has died aged 48 of cancer, was an award-winning Italian composer and conductor. He relentlessly toured and composed: four operas, four symphonies, concertos and quartets, piano trios and sonatas, working with the cellist Mario Brunello and the violinist Sergei Krylov. His CD The 12th Room won the 2015 Gold Record award, with 50,000 copies sold.

Born in Turin, Italy, Ezio Bosso was the son of Angelo Bosso, a tram driver, and his wife, Bruna, who had escaped from Nazi Germany. Ezio began studying music aged four and at 14 was touring as a bass player with a ska band, Statuto.

He attended the Turin Conservatorio and in the late 1980s studied at the Vienna Academy, making his professional debut aged 16 in Lyon as a piano soloist.

Ezio’s first film score was for A Love (Un Amore, 1999), directed by Gianluca Maria Tavarelli. He composed the score for Quo Vadis, Baby? (directed by Gabriele Salvatores, 2005); in 2009 he won the Syracuse Film festival award for cinema scores.

His score for Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, created for the San Francisco Ballet in 2008, was performed by the Royal Ballet, London, in 2016.

Ezio performed worldwide as a soloist and conductor – with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall, La Fenice, Venice, and last summer at the Verona Arena.

I first met Ezio in 2000 on a project in Alba, in Piedmont, when I was creating a floor for the father of his companion, Annamaria Gallizio. We called each other “Bro”; we drank in his local pub, the Drapers Arms, in Islington, north London, and in Sicily, Turin, Bologna and Paris. He had an unbeatable knowledge of where to eat and what to drink, always the simplest and always the best.

In 2014 he played the piano with Brunello at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, for the exhibition of my art installation 3 Drawing Rooms. I made drawings for The 12th Room CD and for his last solo piano performance, in 2019, at Chiesa di San Martino, La Morra, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the Chapel of Barolo by Sol LeWitt and myself.

Following surgery for a brain tumour in 2011, Ezio suffered from neurodegenerative illness, which he handled with optimism. He continued playing the piano until 2019.

He is survived by Annamaria and his siblings, Fabio and Ivana.