Audeze talks with composer, pianist and educator Carlo Balzaretti

June 22, 2021

 Carlo Balzaretti poses with his LCD-3 headphones

Audeze talks with composer, pianist and educator Carlo Balzaretti

Carlo had this to say when asked for an introduction: I have always been a musician, ever since I was a child. Playing music has always been a game to me. Music is the language I can best express myself with. My whole day is made up of music: from studying the piano, to listening, to the music I think about while walking or thinking. Then I realise these thoughts on the piano or on the score.

"Audeze... allow you to capture the depth of the sound image... They are ideal in the symphonic repertoire, in jazz music, in all the pieces that require a great timbral richness."
- Carlo Balzaretti
Here's our chat with Carlo:

Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

As a pianist, definitely some recordings, for example the ones I made on the Horowitz piano...

As a composer, some pieces including elegy for voice and piano and several piano pieces, recently published by the music editions of the Central Conservatory of Beijing.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

Definitely as an 'assembler of ideas', in teaching and production.

I try to shape ideas and turn them into music.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I started playing at the age of three, listening to melodies and playing them. There was a piano at home and my aunt was a very good pianist. For me, the piano was a toy.

I have always listened to a lot of classical music, film music and music from plays. Then I became very fond of jazz music.

Can you name any factors you feel majorly influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

The chance to play with great artists, often already 50 years into their careers. With Gervase de Peyer, one of the greatest clarinetists of the 20th century, I played for 25 years. For me, it was a great lesson in life music.

The meeting and collaboration with Cyprien Katsaris, a phenomenal pianist.

The dialogue with some jazz musicians, Enrico Intra and Guido Manusardi.

The wonderful collaboration with soprano Chu Tai-Li, with whom we have toured Taiwan and China.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

Definitely never being satisfied with how you played. Learning to listen to yourself, to accept yourself. To be critical of yourself too, but in a constructive way, not destructive.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project?

Definitely the aid of audio recording so I can listen to myself again. Also the use of high-level technologies (for accurate sound).

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

I don't think I'm a wise person. I think sincerity in storytelling, playing and composing is the most authentic expression.

First and foremost be yourself when making music. Not wanting to be "original at all costs" but being true to your own idea.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

Since always. From the first Koss to electric condenser headphones.

I also use headphones to record with acoustic instruments, to hear what sound comes out of the microphones. Of course I use different types of headphones depending on the work I have to do: choosing the tracks, listening to the master as a whole.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them so far?

They are ideal headphones for listening to the final master. It's not a headphone I use to pick out the details, but rather to pick up the final result. This is of course when I have to work on my recording sessions.

However, when I'm listening to music, I find Audeze (from iSINE to LCD) to be suitable headphones for prolonged listening, as they allow you to capture the depth of the sound image. This is not the case with all types of headphones. They are ideal in the symphonic repertoire, in jazz music, in all the pieces that require a great timbral richness…