Paolo Damiani is a composer, conductor, cellist, double bass player and teacher.
Born in Rome, he took a degree in architecture, composition and double bass. He studied with, amongst others, Bruno Tommaso, Giorgio Gaslini, Giuseppe Selmi, Frances Marie Uitti, Lucio Buccarella and Giorgio Pani; and currently is head of the Jazz Department of the Rome Conservatorio di “Santa Cecilia”.
He has collaborated with innumerable celebrated musicians, including: Pat Metheny, Kenny Wheeler, Albert Mangelsdorff, Billy Higgins, Antony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Gianluigi Trovesi, John Surman, Charlie Mariano, Miroslav Vitous, Trilok Gurtu, Paolo Fresu, Danilo Rea, Rosario Giuliani, Enrico Rava, Louis Sclavis, Anouar Brahem, François Jeanneau and Giorgio Gaslini, with whom he made his debut.
He has formed and conducted various ensembles and appeared at important festivals the world over. Amongst Italian groups mention must be made of the Italian Instabile Orchestra – held by the music press to be one of the most prestigious Jazz orchestras in Europe – the duo with Danilo Rea, and ensembles formed with Gianluigi Trovesi, Rosario Giuliani, Rita Marcotulli, Fabio Zeppetella, Diana Torto, Michele Rabbia and others. He has also performs regularly with writers and actors, including Stefano Benni, Ivano Marescotti, David Riondino, Sonia Bergamasco, Fabrizio Gifuni and Lella Costa.
From 2000 – 2002 he was Artistic and Music Director of the ONJ, the Orchestre National de Jazz , the first and only foreigner to have occupied the post. From 1996 – 1999 he was President of the AMJ. (the National Jazz Musicians’Association).
From 1982 – 2012 he directed the Festival Internazionale Rumori Mediterranei di Roccella Jonica and was awarded honorary citizenship by the town in 2005. Since 1998 he has been running, with Armand Meignan, the Rome franco-Italian festival, Una Striscia di Terra Feconda.
He has created various highly original music and arts projects: in 2013, in response to a request from the Teatro Puccini in Florence and with the MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’ Università e della Ricerca), he founded the ’Orchestra Nazionale Jazz Giovani Talenti, made up of 30 of the best musicians selected from the Italian Conservatoires. In 2006 he was nominated Coordinator of the National Committee for applied music teaching, with Professor Luigi Berlinguer presiding.
In 2007 he was elected to the CNAM (Consiglio Nazionale per l’Alta Formazione Artistica e Musicale), a supervisory body of the MIUR.
In 2009 he was awarded the honorary title Cavaliere by the President of the Italian Republic, in recognition of his artistic merit.
He has made recordings with ECM, EGEA, ENJA, SPLASC(H), LEO, MUSICA JAZZ. In 2008 his CD Al tempo che farà (Egea Records) was chosen as Best Recording of the Year by the periodicals Musica Jazz, Jazz Magazine and Musica & Dischi. In 2011 he won the Best Composer of the Year TOP JAZZ prize conferred by the monthly magazine Musica Jazz.
In 2013 his Composition and Improvisation Handbook was published by Volonté Ed.