An artist who has been called 'a composer of moody and elegant scores' by the Village Voice, 'sensual and driving' by Other Stages and 'elegant and snappy' by the New York Times, Vito Ricci has been on the leading edge of the downtown music scene since 1979. During his twenty-year-plus career, Mr. Ricci has scored over fifty productions including concert music, theater, dance, performance, film and video. His collaborative works include partnerships with Bob Holman, Martin Goldray, Byard Lancaster, Jackie Curtis, Jacob Burkhardt, The Wooster Group, Neo Labos Co. Dance Theater, Adia & Alex Katz, John Zorn and The Creation Company (for which he served as music director for over ten years). Performances of his works have been produced at The Public Theater, Greenwich Music House, Cooper Union, Roulette, The Knitting Factory, St. Marks Church, The Performing Garage, the Walker Arts Center and the Southern Theater, both in Minneapolis, and the Sedgwick Cultural Center in Philadelphia. Mr. Ricci has been the recipient of grants from ASCAP, Meet The Composer and The National Endowment For The Arts. He has studied with Ursula Mamlok, Eleanor Cory and Ornette Coleman, and has released six CDs of solo piano music, electronic works, song cycles, improvisations and string quartets. Recent accomplishments in 2003 include scoring Philosophies for the Complexions Contemporary Ballet, scoring and performing in Rebel Café by Ed Sanders, and the premiering the Cicada Journal with Steve Dalachinsky at Location One. An electronic chamber opera, HELP was commissioned in 2001 by the New York City Queens Council on the Arts; an electro-acoustic score for Jacob Burckhardt's silent film Hebron Holiday, was commissioned and premiered at the Sedgwick Theater in Philadelphia in 2001. Vito Ricci's leading edge instinct and creativity have made him a vital and prolific composer of illuminating and compelling works. Infused with poignancy and honesty, his music has the power to linger in the listener's memory. '...the real power of the piece comes through the performance itself. It's difficult to describe the effect that is created during a performance but there is a sense of mystery and a tension like nothing else I've experienced in the theater or in music for that matter. This is truly modern theater and I think one of the most successful approaches to music as theater that I've seen (including some great pieces by Berio and of course Stockhausen's MOMENTE).' - Glenn Branca 'Part magic show, part mixed-media collage, part art-history meditation... 'Rotary Notary and His Hot Plate' is a delightful, spinning contraption of a play chock full of wittily surreal images and propelled by Vito Ricci's elegant, snappy electronic score.' - Stephen Holden/The New York Times 'The piece is extremely beautiful. Helena Carratala's gem-colored taffeta gowns and robes are sumptuous, Pat Dignan's light designs repeatedly startling, Richard Curtis' masks and props superbly crafted, and Vito Ricci's music full of arresting mood shifts.' - Laurie Stone/The Village Voice '...the piece [is] danced to a fine music score written and performed by Vito Ricci.' - Phyllis Goldman/Back Stage MORE REVIEWS AND ARTICLES: Red Planet - Mars 2 Earth (CD Review) Musique D'Ameubiement (CD Review) Notes on Vito Ricci's Music KPs and Other Stories A Trio Forged Electronic Ebony and Ivory: A New Sound For The Theater Musicians Dive Into Improvisation and Electronic Songs ----- RED PLANET - MARS 2 EARTH (DREAMBOX MEDIA) Cadence, February 2002 Review by Frank Rubolino Mars 2 Earth is a quartet playing experimental music on [MARS 2 EARTH, RED PLANET, DREAMBOX MEDIA 1053] that is extremely engrossing. Although it is considerably futuristic, it is accessible. Spirited by [Byard] Lancaster on flutes, saxophones and bass clarinet, the band journeys outbound to the eerie music emanating from [Eric] Ross's electronics, [Toshi] Makihara's percussion, and [Vito] Ricci's guitar. They assimilate multiple disciplines in exploring the beautiful zones of outer space. Ross creates an illusionary ambiance when on theremin, an electronic instrument played by moving the hands near it's antennas. Ricci adds further mysticism with his spatial guitar improvisations, and Makihara creates multiple illusions with cymbals, gongs and low-toned percussion. The result is an effortlessly gliding spaceship probing the dark and unknown reaches of the universe. Back to more reviews ----- MUSIQUE D'AMEUBIEMENT (SAYNOMORE MUSIC) Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, February 2001 Cool analog synthesizer drones from Vito Ricci. Overdriven filters fluttering through long drones on three tracks. The fourth track features singer Lise Vachon on Warm Up, a pointillistic landscape. I'm surprised, I've heard Vito play the American Festival of Microtonal Music on wrench guitar and didn't know what to expect. This very happening ambient! Back to more reviews ----- NOTES ON VITO RICCI'S MUSIC CD Whims by Kate Light Copland upside down with a rose in his teeth? Sliding backwards down a bannister? Wearing patched blue jeans? Speaking of patches, melodies go by in little patches, suggesting shapes the way clouds suggest shapes...Sometimes one encounters something already in progress--or someone departing midsentence--maybe a dialogue under breath between dancers--or a sideways glance. Does your ear detect an inversion or a reversion, or a revision of something you heard a moment before...? Ricci's pieces are like Rothko paintings--a line in one color, under it a similar vision in another shade...The eerie undersea quality of Still Life for violin and computer tape, with it's electronic 'bubbles' suggesting ghosts of the violin, or ocean waves that might sweep the violin away, may be unlike anything you've ever heard, defying attempts to place it in any easy category of 'new' or downtown music. The solo miniature pieces for piano may bring to mind Debussy Preludes--they say what they want to say, and no more; no matter how brief they may be, they are haunting. From the players' perspective, Ricci's elusive rhythmic delineations often call on us to search for a constant pulse within ourselves--and stick to it tenaciously, through silences and side-swipings of the beat. Each piece, like a song or aria, has a hidden key to unlock it's patterns, and mixed with an oddball sweetness, a sort of power or rebelliousness against it's bar-line chains. Used to be Vito would write something like 'furiously' under a couple of slow low notes--Go figure--he doesn't do that so much anymore, but mostly let's the music suggest it's own emotion. Still he toys intriguingly with expectations--pauses with who-knows-what to come--sudden outbursts--solitary doublestops--quick dips from low to high or vice-versa--repetitions with odd, but intentional, discrepencies, as if someone had looked at things a little askance. Never enough to terrify, just to keep you in suspense--his warmth and understated humor always bring you home.