The life and works of Alfredo D'Asdia

Alfredo D'Asdia, judged "amongst the most praiseworthy in the literary and musical studies" in 1888, having deserved in the final exams the highest grade, obtained the "first degree prize for pianoforte superior studies" at the Conservatoire of Palermo. In order to be able to participate to the orchestral activities of the Conservatoire, as it was compulsory for all the students, Alfredo chose as his instrument the hunting horn and regularly attended the course until completion obtaining a "second degree prize". He integrated his music instruction by completing a course in harmony and counterpoint. The Director of the muscial studies of the College, Maestro Giorgio Miceli, wrote: " He has completed his mucic studies, especially those of counterpoint, under my direction, with excellent risults, showing uncommon sensibility and constance in the studies" (1889). As soon as he finsihed his studies, Alfredo D'Asdia attended some specialisation classes held by Beniamino Cesi, reputed pianist and teacher, for some years teacher at the Conservatoire of Palermo. He further enhanced his pianistic preparation, technical and interpretative, at the perfectioning school of the illustrious pianist and teacher, ingenious and well learned composer and conductor Pietro Floridia (Modica 1860 - New York 1932). Already in his first public performances, Alfredo gained very positive feedbacks from the listeners and music reporters alike. For his exhibition in the "Academy" of the school of Floridia, he not only gained "a storm of applause" (Gazzetta del Popolo, Catania 19/9/1890), but he was also praised with the following words by the Giornale di Sicilia: "A Fantasia in F# by Mendellssohn closed the exhibition, executed by Mr D'Asdia, son of the late lamented Maestro Pietro D'Asdia, who left in this way a good memory of him. The young musician has inherited all the good qualities of his father: correctness of style, extremely light touch, sensible use of the pedals, elegant phrasing..." (13/9/1890). In 1926, in the occasion of the conferring of the "Commenda della Corona d'Italia" (Commenda of the Italian Crown) for artistic merits, the Giornale d'Italia reported: "the Maestro D'Asdia is an artist of unusual modesty... a pianist worthy to compete with the most famous concert artists... It's certainly regrettable that such great value is to be overcome by an excessive modesty and by the torment of an incurable obsession of self-criticism (or self-underestimation), an "evil", this, common to many great Sicilian artists" (18/6/1926). Alfredo D'Asdia carried out an intensive teaching activity and, "working modestly and silently, he demonstrated to continue the traditions of the school of Floridia" (L'Ora March 1904). The academic exhibitions and concerts of his pupils were always very much appreciated by the audience and in the musical milieus, as well as praised by the press. At the end of one of his concerts, the illustrous composer and condcutor Guglielmo Zuelli (Reggio Emilia, 1859 - Milano 1941), who then was a teacher of composition and director of the Conservatoire of Palermo, declared that he was "glad and astonished to have discovered a solid pianistic school, based on higly noble artistic purposes" (L'Ora)
For many years D'Asdia carried out his teaching activity independently. Later, he accepted a chair of teacher of pianoforte in the Conservatoire. But since the years of his professional "independence" he had already been nominated many times external member of the examining board of the Conservatoire, gaining high esteem of eminent Maestros that followed in the years in the direction of the music institute (Guglielmo Zuelli, Francesco Cilea, Guido Alberto Fano, Antonio Savasta). For many years D'Asdia was Artistic and Music Councillor of the Associazione della Stampa Siciliana (Association of Sicilian Press), the Association Musicale degli Amici della Musica (Music Association of the Friends of Music), and the Circolo Artistico di Palermo (Palermo Artistic Circle).
His rare public performances as soloist, in duet or as accompanist of singers, were always very much appreciated, especially in the execution of his own compositions. These were occasions when he confirmed, more in-depth and enriched, those talents that had ben recognised to him since his younger years. He cultivated with devotion music composition and was always able to express a poetic vein of inspiration, characterised by a particular fineness and delicacy of sound.

So wrote in 1995 Maestro Franco Mannino about Dasdia's lyrics:
"He was a real musician ... he had a natural gift of inventiveness for which his lyrics, written in another epoc, today they prove to be "not outdated". I had great pleasure to read them".
On D'Asdia as composer we like to quote the following words by the writer and journalist G. Gallegra Rebaudenco:
"In the music pages of D'Asdia..., who among the gigantic durmasts of the big forest of music literature that do not want to have major ambitions than the small and humble flowers in the fields, you find a tenuous vein, but constant of fresh inspiration, a thread of soft and gentle poetry ... (La Sciabica d'Oro, July 1951).
On his death, a commemorative press article by the cronist and music critic Maestro Salvatore Pintacuda (composer and music history teacher in the Conservatoire) was published on the Giornale di Sicilia:
"As a Maestro, he gave art an innumerable troop of excellent pupils, as a composer he attained a depth of feeling, a transparent luminosity and sincerity of expression such to make, through all his music, an act of faith: a pure artist's faith which he served with religious passion, with humility of heart, with austere faith in the arts... Many youths owe him not only for having deepened their technique and music culture, but - and we think this is more valuable - also for having learnt from him the necessity of the artistic fatigue, the humility of devotion, the cult of earnestness. He was a model for his love for art, for his enthusiasm, for the nobleness of his kind and generous soul. This is proved by the sincere grief that now has hit anybody who knew him" (Giornale di Sicilia, 13/2/1949).