A family of musicians

Numerous are the musicians in the D’Asdia family, of which the baron Pietro Pisani (Palermo 1761-1837), also founder of the Real Casa dei Matti di Palermo (Royal Madhouse of Palermo), can be considered the precursor. He undertook strict musical studies in Naples, under the guidance of the Maestro Zingarelli. High Bourbon officer for his specific competences in music, he was given the task to reorganise and direct the Convservatorio di Musica di Palermo, where he changed the programme of studies by introducing new classes of composition and by entrusting the chair to a famous poliphonist of that time, Pietro Rimondi. Pisani was also interested in archaeology, but throughout his life he particularly cared of mad people and musicians: interesting curiosity!

After him, Ignazio D'Asdia (Palermo 1802-1865), son-in-law of Pietro Pisani having married his daughter Rosalia. Ignazio was composer, conductor, as well as teacher of piano and composition in Naples and Palermo. For two years he was director of the Real Teatro Carolino and under his direction the Palermitans were able to enjoy for the first time the Norma and La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker). Of him we have many compositions, printed and handwritten, kept in Palermo and Naples where he carried out his artistic and teaching activities for about 18 years. He composed symphonies, masses, numerous pieces for piano (nocturnes, variations) and vocal musics, well appreciated for their considerable melodic inspiration.

Two of his brothers were musicians, too: Giuseppe (Palermo 1821-1861), of whom we don't know much about his career, if not that he was and instrumentalist; and Matteo (Palermo 1824-1895) barefooted Augustinian, talented as much in the Holy Scriptures (as we read in a register of the Order), as in music. He composed sacred choral music, including a Tantum Ergo for solo, choir and orchestra, of which the manuscript is kept at the library of the Conservatoire of Palermo.

Pietro d'Asdia (Napoli 1838 - Palermo 1875), Ignazio's son, was pianist and composer. He was pupil of his father and undertook specialisation classes in Naples with the illustrious Sigismund Thalberg.

Alfredo D'Asdia, to whom this site is dedicated, undertook and completed his music studies at the Real Collegio di Musica (Royal College of Music) belonging to the Convservatorio di Musica "V. Bellini" in Palermo, particularly distinguishing himself as a pupil of the piano school held by Maestro Edoardo Caracciolo, renowned pianist of the Napolitan school.

One of his sons, Armando (Palermo 1913 - 1982), graduated in organ and organ composition, and in direction and composition for band. As well as being qualified to the teaching of music and choral singing, for many years he held the chair of music theory in the conservatoire of Palermo. He was also teacher and music director at the “Rieducatorio per Minorenni di Palermo” (reformatory for juveniles), engaging himself in the opening of the conservatoire to the youths of the reformatory, overcoming the many prejudices and bureaucratic resistances. Some of them became instrumentalists of national fame.

And finally, Ermanno Romano (Palermo 1973) son of Anna Maria D'Asdia grandaugher of Alfredo D'Asdia. As well as being the maker of this site, I play (ish) the piano, but am not yet able to play any of the pieces by my great grandfather, although I am expecting to prepare one within the next 6 months, hopefully!