JOHN La BARBERA - American Music Center

John T. La Barbera
John La Barbera`s stunning compositions and phenomenal playing, along
with the entire ensemble`s spirited performance, put this recording in a class
by itself ... Lyrichord Discs
For more than three decades, guitarist, mandolinist, and composer arranger,
John La Barbera, has enchanted audiences throughout the United States,
Europe and South America. Among the concert halls and music festivals
where John has been invited to perform include: The Montreal Jazz Festival,
Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall-Lincoln Center, The Felt Forum,
Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of New York, Smithsonian
Institute, UCLA, the Field Museum in Chicago and the Philadelphia
Museum of Fine Arts, the San Francisco World Music Festival, Central Park
Summer Stage and at the Jones Beach Theater. Also tours throughout
Eastern Europe, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and in Brazil,
where he was sponsored by the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brasil
Festeiro and SESC, in Sao Paulo.
As a composer, La Barbera has won several awards and commissions. From
The Jerome Foundation he was commissioned to write a work for the
ETHOS Percussion ensemble, The Marimbaba Suite for percussion, which
premiered in 2001 and released on their CD Sol Tunnels; in 1996 by Lincoln
Center for the Performing Arts, The Martin Gruss Foundation and the New
York State Council on the Arts in New York, to compose The Dance of the
Ancient Spider, which premiered at Alice Tully Hall; Funding from the New
York State Council on the Arts and meet the Composer; commissioned by
the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City to compose the
Opera: Stabat Mater-Donna Di Paradiso. His music has been recorded by
various artists including percussionists; Yousef Sheronick and Joseph
Gramley with Danza del Fuego for Marinba and Dumbeck; Jazz harmonica
artist Enrico Granafei together with Fred Hirsh, Alan Nussbaum and Mark
Johnson, who recorded Waltz for Waiting. He has received numerous
composer awards from ASCAP and his song Sun Goes Down was awarded
Jazz finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. In 2005, he was
awarded for the extraordinary role of the transmission and translation of
Italian oral traditions from The Italian Oral History Institute and
recognized as one of the first transcribers of Southern Italian folk music in
Sacco and Vanzetti (2007) awarded best historical film from the American
Historical Association;
Pane Amaro (2007) RAI-National Italian TV network; What`s Up Scarlet?
Children of Fate (1992) nominated for best Documentary feature in the 1994
Academy Awards and winner of the 1993 Sundance Film Festival;
La Festa,(1998);
Tarantella,(1997) starring Mira Sorvino;
Neapolitan Heart (2002) Ready-Made films, Rome, Italy.
Theater -composer
Souls of Naples, (2004) starring John Turturro, Theater for a New Audience
at the New Duke Theater on 42nd Street;
Kaos (2006) produced by The New York Theater Workshop;
Crazy Sounds (2006) produced at La MaMa theater NY;
Retzach, (2005) at theater 59 East 59th, NY
Missionaries (1997) La MaMa theater NY.;
The Misadventures of Peter Pan and Captain Maledetto (1998), La MaMa
Theater and Teatro Patologico di Roma;
After the Rain (1997)Theater 4-Red Hudson company.
Folk Operas- composer
Stabat Mater: Donna di Paradiso 1997
The Voyage of the Black Madonna 1990
The Dance of the Ancient Spider 1996
La Lupa- the She-Wolf 1987
The Adventures of Don Giovanni and His Servant Pulcinella 1987
La Cantata dei Pastori 1985
Film appearances include:
When In Rome, (band leader/mandolinist) directed by Mark Stanley
Johnson with Danny De Vito and Angelica Houston. To be released in
Spring `09.
Neapolitan Heart (2002), directed by Paulo Santoni, Ready Made
productions, Italy. With Jimmy Roselli.
The Moon in The Gutter (1983), Jean-Jacques Bieneix, GaumontCinecitta`, Italy. With Gerard Depardieu`.
Southern Italian Mandolin and Fiddle Tunes, Mel Bay Publications, to be
released in early 2009.
“Oral History, Oral Culture, and Italian Americans”, contributor, PalgraveMacMillan. 2009.
Published Works
The Marimbaba Suite- for percussion quartet. Bachovich Publications. 2009
Danza del Fuego- for solo marimba. Bachovich Publications. 2009.
Working for many years as a studio musician in New York City for jingles
and soundtracks, La Barbera has performed and recorded with world class
musicians and singers including: American Folk Singer Judy Collins; Tsiddi
Le Loka, South African vocalist and star from Broadway's The Lion King;
Susan Mc Keown, Irish Traditional Singer/Songwriter; Visual Artist
Matthew Barney; Palestinian oud virtuoso and violinist, Simon Shaheen;
from Italy: Maria Carta, Pupi e Fressedde; Brazilian guitar duo DUOFEL
and guitarist Paulo Freire; Jazz artists Mark Gross and Mulgrew Miller;
master percussionist Glen Velez ; Bansuri flutist Steve Gorn; Russian
vocalist Masha Itkina ; Countertenor Robert Crowe; and composer/organist
of the Cathedral of St. John Divine: Dorothy Papadakos .
He holds a B.M. from the Hartt School of Music, (Univ.of Hartford), and
graduate courses at William Paterson University (N.J.); Hunter College
(NYC) in ethnomusicology; Villa Schifanoia (Rosary College), in Florence:
and at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, the film music seminar with Ennio
He currently teaches at the Bergen Community College in Paramus, New
Jersey and has taught at The Julius Hartt School of Music (University of
Hartford ); The Guitar Study Center of the New School in N.Y.; Sessione
Sienese in Siena, Italy; SASI in Bratislava, Slovakia; and SESC in Sao
Paulo, Brazil. He conducts workshops and lectures on mandolin and acoustic
guitar styles, ethnomusicology, world music, and has written for Acoustic
Guitar magazine.
His music has been recorded on Shanachie records, Meadowlark, Rounder
Records, Lyrichord Disks, Ellipsis Arts, and Bribie records
Composer-Guitarist/ Multi-instrumentalist
584 Catalpa Ave.
Teaneck, N.J. 07666
Sacco and Vanzetti (2007) Documentary, Peter Miller- Willow Pond Films and
First Run Features.
Pane Amaro (2007) Gianfranco Norelli . RAI 3, Rome, Italy
What’s Up, Scarlet?(2006) Open City Films, Anthony Caldarella
Neapolitan Heart (2000) Paolo Santori, Rome, Italy
Public Schools are Everybody’s Business (2001) Documentary on public
Education CEI-PEA, DeNonno Productions. (Including web page)
La Festa (1997) Documentary film produced by NJTV for PBS.
Tarantella (1995) Feature film produced by Red Weather Films starring actress
Mira Sorvino.
Children of Fate (1993) Nominated “Best Documentary Feature” 1994 Academy
Awards. Winner 1993 Sundance Film Festival & Cinema du Real Grand Prix,
France. Director Andrew Young & Susan Todd. A Young/Fieldson Archipelago
Cutting Loose (1995) Archipelago Films. Young- Fieldson prod. for NBCTV
Lives in Hazard (1994) Young/Fieldson production for NBC-TV.
Two Days in Wisconsin (1993) Short Feature by Rick Velleu. Award 1993
Edinburgh Film Festival.
Ritratto di Angelo Savelli (1986) documentary produced by RAI- USA
Kaos (2007), stories by Luigi Pirandello, produced by New York Theater
Workshop, directed by Martha Clarke.
Crazy Sounds (2007), directed by Dario D’Ambosi. La MaMa, ETC. New York.
The Gift (2003) by Shauna Kanter.
Souls of Naples( 2004) , by Eduardo De Filipo. Produced by Theater for a New
Audience starring John Turturro.
Yerma (2001) by Federico Garcia Lorca. Directed by Shauna Kanter. Produced by
Williams College Theater Dep’t. Williamstown, Mass.
After the Rain (1999) Off-Broadway Production directed by Daniel Kaden with
Red-Hudson Productions.
Afterbirth (1998) directed by Shauna Kanter for Bowdoin College
The Dis-Adventures of Peter Pan vs. Captain Maledetto (1998) produced by La
Mama E.T.C New York and Teatro Patologico, Rome Italy directed by Dario
Caravan of Dreams (1994) Musical Theater commissioned by Ralph Lee and the
Mettawee River Company.
Homecoming Project (1993) Musical produced by Voice Theater & directed by
Shauna Kanter for the Columbia Festival of the Arts.
Pericles (1993) Drama with incidental music & Sound Design,
produced by
Golden Age Theater Co., Glasgow, Scotland for the
Edinburgh Festival
Pushing Through (1990) Musical Drama, produced by Voice
Theater, directed by Shauna Kanter. Glasgow International Festival
FOLK OPERA-composer/arranger
The Dance of the Ancient Spider (1996) commissioned by Lincoln Center and I
Giullari di Piazza. Premiered at Alice Tully Hall.
Stabat Mater-Donna di Paradiso (1995) Opera -Premiered at the Cathedral of
St. John the Divine for I Giullari di PiazzaEarth, Sun and Moon (1994) Multicultured folk opera performed by
I Giullari di Piazza, commissioned by Lincoln Center.
The Voyage of the Black Madonna (1990) Folk opera, premiered at the Cathedral
of St. John the Divine; commissioned by I Giullari di Piazza.
La Lupa - The She Wolf (1987), Opera produced by I Giullari di Piazza
The Adventures of Don Giovanni and his servant Pulcinella (1987)
Commedia del’ Arte folk Opera, produced by I Giullari di Piazza.
Itri Music, Inc.: In the Labyrinth, Lyrichord Discs, Inc: Earth, Sun and Moon;
Shanachie Records: Dea Fortuna, Sulillo Mio; Ellipsis Arts: Global Celebration;
Mediterranean Lullaby, Papa’s Lullabies, Mother Earth Lullabies, and American
Lullaby Rounder Records: Global Diva’s; Divergo/Phonogram (Milan, Italy): La
Terra del Rimorso
The Jerome Foundation Emerging Composers Award, NYSCA, Dept. of Cultural
Affairs (NYC), Meet the Composer, ASCAP Composers Award, Lincoln Center
Community Projects Award, The Martin Gruss Foundation, Con Edison.
Published Works
Traditional Southern Italian Mandolin and Fiddle Tunes. Mel Bay Publications
The Marimbaba Suite- for percussion quartet, Bachovich Publications
Danza Del Fuego- for marimba solo, Bachovich Publications
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine - New York City ; Caramoor Center for
Music and the Arts, Inc. - Katonah, N.Y.
Bergen Community College, Paramus, New Jersey (since 2004)
Montessori School, Washington .Ct. composer/director residency (2000)
The Harvey School, Katonah, New York. Guitar faculty (1997)
Caramoor Center for the Arts, educational workshops and lectures in
Westchester County, New York (since 1992)
Young Audiences New York (1994-1998)
Bowdoin College, (Brunswick, Maine) theater and dance dep’t. composer
residency (1998)
Portland Performing Arts (Maine) - Workshop Residency on Traditional Italian
Folk Music (1998)
Summer Arts Sessional International, Bratislava, Slovakia (1997)
Sessione Sienese per la Musica e l’Arte - Siena, Italy (1974-75, 1994-96);
Guitar Study Center - New School New York City;
Julius Hartt School of Music, Univ. of Hartford, CT (1971-73)
2008 William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey. Master of Music/Jazz
arranging candidate.
1994 Academia Musicale Chigiana, Siena, Italy, Film Music with
Ennio Morricone
1993 Mannes School of Music, New York
1981 N.Y. School of Commercial Music
1977 Hunter College, Master of Fine Arts Candidate, Ethnomusicology
1974 Villa Schifanoia, Florence, Italy graduate studies in classical guitar and
music history
1973 Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford) Bachelor of Music
Degree in Classical Guitar
“The ensemble led by John La Barbera, Musical Director, produced nonstop theatrical and musical energy”. N.Y. Times, Alex Ross
“The music, directed by John La Barbera is folkish aiming for vitality above
precision and often achieving both”. New York Times, John Pareles
“John LaBarbera, kicks things into overdrive with his hand-driving
contributions on oud, mandocello and guitar..”
Pulse Magazine, -J.Poet,
“La Barbera fitted all of this (Stabat Mater) out with a kicky new
was slickly produced and smoothly executed...his 4 part setting of the
ancient Stabat Mater text made for a touching light motif”. New York
Times, James Oestreich
“ Mr. LaBarbera’s “Marimbaba Suite” was a set of three cheerful homages
to Brazilian folk music: bouncy, dreamy and bouncy again..
this was music you wanted to be dancing to...
New York Times, Paul Griffiths.
“This CD (Earth, Sun, And Moon) is highly recommended for a powerful
blend of traditional rhythms, instruments and themes from various ages and
cultures”. Rhythm Music Magazine
“..John’s immense knowledge of traditional Italian music was a great asset
to the production. It gave his original compositions a feeling of authenticity
that supported the story of the film..” (Children of Fate), Archipelago Films.
Andrew L.
Young, Director
“John La Barbera’s stunning compositions and phenomenal playing, along
with the entire ensemble’s spirited performance, put this recording in a class
by itself”. Lyrichord Discs
“John La Barbera’s original music marks him as a contemporary Kurt
Weill.”, Victor Gluck
“The momentum builds to a pitch in both acts thanks to the haunting and
feverish score by John La Barbera”. Village Voice, Robert Massa
“Congratulations on the wonderful work created by John La Barbera”.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Jenneth Webster, producer
“...Stabat Mater is one of the best productions at the Cathedral in the last 23
years”. The Very Reverend Dean James Parks Morton, former Dean of the
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC.
“...The production values are high... and the striking use of music, and a
haunting score, were composed and performed by John La Barbera”. The
Herald, Edinburgh, Scotland
“...John La Barbera is North American born with the dance of music in his
fingertips. His articulations on either instrument, intimate and classically
fine, are filled with the light of a born Latino”. Woodstock Times
“ The Collection of Songs on In The Labyrinth will carry you across several
continents as guitarist John LaBarbera rightfully proclaims his virtuosity.” to
the, Tracy Romoser