Leonardo is a pianist, composer, and aerospace engineer. And, he will play the first piano concert on Mars. His compositions can be described as Contemporary Space Music, where he merges piano solo, prepared piano, synths, and embedding a wide range of experimentations.
Born in Venice, Italy, Leonardo Barilaro discovered the piano at the age of 6 and astronomy at 9. At the age of 12, by reading Isaac Asimov, playing Beethoven and Bach, listening to Queen, Steve Vai and Robert Miles, he decided he would travel the Space and play his music outside planet Earth. So, he became a professional pianist AND an aerospace engineer. The Journey of Leonardo hit important milestones to reach his dream. As a pianist he graduated at the Music Conservatory in Italy, studying composition and developing his passion for synths and electronic music. He was mentored by Jordan Rudess, Dream Theater’s keyboardist. In the meanwhile, he graduated with a PhD in aerospace engineering at the University of Padova, researching on hypervelocity impacts and space safety. He teamed up with many world-class artists during the years, like Yossi Sassi, Mariangela Demurtas, Marco Minnemann, Aliki Chrysochou, Victoria Kryukova and Anna Utopia Giordano.
In 2022, Leonardo Barilaro embarked on a yearlong journey with his project, “Space Piano Music Everyday.” The Space Pianist releases every single day a new track on Spotify and all main music digital distribution platforms, with the related videoclip. The inspiration for this venture originates from his mantra, Nullo Die Sine Nota – Not a day without a note. In art, there are no shortcuts and everyday Leonardo takes a new step forward towards his dream – wishing to bring on Mars with him, also the people closest to his music.
With his single, “Not 32 days without a note,” out now, we took some time to hear more from Leonardo Barilaro. Read below to learn more about Leonardo Barilaro, the story behind his single, and what’s to come.
Hi Leonardo Barilaro! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
Hi and thank you for this interview!
Leonardo the Space Pianist originates from my two greatest passions in life, music and space. Art and science, in modern times, are considered separate, a dichotomy belonging to an eccentric way of viewing things. In my opinion, it is just a convenient curtain to give importance only to what appears “productive” in the industrial society. The Space Pianist is here to prove wrong many prejudices.
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I grew up very close to Venice in Italy. Since 6 years, I am currently living in Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
The very first memory that I have is the perception of myself at 3 years old playing with a yellow toy piano. I realized that I wanted to become a pianist when I was 6 years old. I remember there was another kid playing an old upright piano at school. I have vivid in my mind that I played my first real piano key, thinking: Wow! So, a few months later, I started my music journey. When I was 12 years old, I decided to train professionally, and I met my first real master – concert pianist and efficient, beautiful teacher. Who we meet along our path is of the utmost importance in shaping our skills and artistic soul. Unfortunately, also in the music educational environment is full of unprofessional amateurs with the Dunning-Kruger effect. Overall, I can consider myself lucky since I met some really valuable mentors during the years.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
This is a very interesting question that I receive for the first time. Definitely, upbringing has a crucial role. I grew up with a strict mother, whose harshness was reflected also in the need of controlling everything. Probably also a by-product of an old way of thinking, partially balanced by a father figure with a more open-minded approach to this ever-changing world. This led the younger version of myself feeling in a cage, real and metaphorical, with the need to find a way to escape. When you are very young, you need to develop resilience to pursue what you desire in life. For sure, this was good training for my current skills. This has an impact also on the “color palette” of my compositions. I need open wide horizons with high contrasts. What can be better for the inspiration if not Space?
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
Dreamy, nostalgic, and futuristic. I tell stories without words riding an oneiric stream of consciousness.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
I don’t have hobbies or professions. For me, this is quite a belittling way to label things. I have passions! I am really in love with freediving (I live in front of the sea and in literally 38” from my front door, I can be into the water). Another strong passion is photography, which, more recently, is growing together with videography. In the last years, I am discovering the surprising, beautiful, and multi-layered universe of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Everyone is always creative, the point is how much we allow the environment around us to choke this.
How do you imagine your dream studio?
My studio will be an improved version of the one I already have. It will feature a majestic Steinway D274 – Spirio r concert grand piano, in a big white room with wooden floor surrounded by unobstructed 270° sea view. The piano will have state of the art technology, starting from a set of Neumann U87 microphones. Of course, the control-mixing area will be sci-fi inspired, so at night, all the studio will become a spaceship. Working on it!
Who are some of your main musical influences?
The Immortal God of Harmony is J.S. Bach. To list all the main influences would be hard. I prefer to mention who left a deep sign in my artistic soul. Composers like Stravinskij and Arvo Pärt are examples.
What are some of your future music career goals?
To play the first concert on Mars, streaming it on Earth! Very good intermediate steps would be playing while orbiting our planet and from the surface of the moon.
Now onto your release, “Not 32 days without a note.” What inspired this song?
I was inspired by the effects of the COVID isolations and related restrictions. The piece has several layers and every layer is built up following different parallel streams.
What is “Not 32 days without a note” about in your own words?
The music represents my concept of never stop grinding for what we desire, while not losing sight of the fun during the journey.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Not 32 days without a note?”
Messages are a tad overrated in art. Everyone has a different perception of an artistic production and here lies the beauty of the process in my opinion. I can just hope that those who spent 3 minutes of their own time to listen to the piece truly enjoyed it and that it moved something inside, that can range from the thought of “ok, now let me order food” to “this evening I will phone Bill Gates.”
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
Performing on the incredible Fazioli M Liminal grand piano (unique model of an already very limited edition) at the Italy Pavillion for the Expo2020 in Dubai.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
In life or art? Regarding life, I consider myself still not enough experienced to share them in an interview. Regarding art, I learned there are no shortcuts (and that you must work on your craft every single day). Also, I learned that art is the most powerful tool to fight ignorance, also in the scientific field.
Now I can ask myself, is art the 2D projection of life or is it the other way round?
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
Since last 1st of January, I embarked on a yearlong journey with the project, “Space Piano Music Everyday.” I release every single day a new track on Spotify and all main music digital distribution platforms, with the related videoclip. The inspiration for this venture originates from my mantra, Nullo Die Sine Nota – Not a day without a note. In the meanwhile, I am working also on other projects in parallel, like the release of a new EP, “Genesis,” on the 1st day of spring 2022.
Where can we follow you on social media?
You can follow me on all main social media platforms:
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Image provided by Leonardo Barilaro