Classical music embodies an ethereal beauty no other genre could come close to imitating. Each composition marrying loss, love, pain, beauty and everything in between to produce timeless music. The genre has a special place in my heart from falling asleep every night to the soothing sound as a child. The genre taught me many things about my own emotions and at times helped me understand what I was feeling when I felt there were no words for it. Translating into my adult life through playing the piano and seeking out the genre when emotions are running high, I am always eager to discover new classical musicians. Musicians who are some of the most talented artists to walk this earth and Antimo Magnotta is my most recent discovery. With the capacity to take tragedy and turn it into hope, the pianist is truly an inspiration for a generation.
In 2012 Antimo was aboard the Costa Concordia, acting as their resident pianist and sharing his gift with fellow lovers of a transcendent genre. To those who are unaware this was the same year the boat tragically sank, claiming thirty-two lives and irrevocably changing Antimo’s life forever. Suffering the loss of fellow musicians, his possessions, career and marriage could have silenced Antimo’s music and robbed the world of outstanding musical vision. Antimo took the blessing of surviving the heart-breaking disaster and moved to the UK to re-build his life along with his young daughter. Beginning life anew left Antimo with a small pool of options but this did not stop the man from persevering, taking a job as a waiter that led to a chain of events that have found him where he is now. From waiter to resident pianist at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s café to now working on his own musical projects, Antimo stands as a role model for up and coming musicians, saying that there is nothing in life that can ever stop you from pursuing your dream other than you.
Antimo’s artistic vision, determination and sheer musical talent have been poured into his two albums, Inner Landscape and The Raphael Project. Inner Landscape is Antimo’s tribute to those who lost their lives and loved ones aboard the Costa Concordia, a profoundly moving album that documents the musician’s thoughts and what he witnessed during the tragedy. Through the creation of Inner Landscape Antimo was able to find solace and hopes his music can provide the same peace for others. The album stands as an inspiring message that from heartache and grief can come closure and comfort offered by the therapeutic effects music has.
The Raphael Project reflects Antimo’s interpretation of Raphael’s seven cartoons, tapestries depicting the acts of St Peter and St Paul, the founders of the early Christian Church. Although the art pieces are heavily laden with Biblical elements, Antimo focussed more on specific details from each work and used these details to inform his compositions. Each composition that makes up The Raphael Project leads you deeper into Antimo’s mind to witness all the beauty and pain he has conquered through a combination of dark, chaotic, sweet and awe-inspiring piano playing.
Antimo has rebuilt both himself and his music to a great point of success but now he plans to go further, embarking on a journey to share his music and stories with new audiences. Antimo has provided support for anyone who listens to his music, encouraging people to find the comfort they need in his compositions. Truly a man with remarkable talent and resilience who embodies hope in both the human spirit and the restoring powers of music.
Review by Skye W. Winwood