top of page

In memory of Angelo Gilardino


The premise was necessary before recalling the gigantic figure of Angelo Gilardino. Indeed, he was one of the most unwaveringly optimistic men I have ever known.

His approach to music and guitar followed an unusual dynamic, which I would describe as "from above".

Still a child, accompanying his father on a business trip, he listens by chance in a movie theater in Modena Ida Presti, the greatest guitarist of the twentieth century. And a few years later he met the guitar art of Andrés Segovia in Vercelli, perhaps the greatest guitarist of all time.

Since then his study and his commitment have focused on filling all the skills that would have served to understand and continue

the action of those two giants who had inspired his youth. Angelo Gilardino never had a guitar teacher, he was, like Segovia, «student and teacher of himself».

And this complicated and usually unfortunate condition leads to only two outcomes: 99% succumbs, 1% achieves great results.

But if Gilardino has always had to rely on himself on the musical side, in his personal life he has had no better luck.

Orphaned of a father at only 15 years, he has searched quickly and always remaining focused, his own path. What he did in his life is there for all to see: he was certainly one of the musicians whose thinking most influenced the guitar in the second half of Twentieth century.

Interpreter, composer, music historian, teacher, in the history of the six strings you don't know a man who has claimed all these skills for himself, leaving in all of them an indelible mark of their passage.

mario-castelnuovo-tedesco piano.jpg

In my life, which is no longer short, I have met many optimistic and pessimist men and women. Although it is impossible to elaborate a statistic, often the figure of pessimist is more frequent among highly educated and well-off people, who have many years of study, whose awareness of the limitations of human nature is well pronounced.

When they see a bleak future and say they have little faith in young people, it impossible to change their mental geography. They regret a past that has seen them happy, a "good time"; where everything promised the achievement of the coveted perfection.

The optimists, not always but certainly more often, are instead found among the most simple, with a youth that is anything but to regret, which has seen them suffer hard conditions, difficult, from which they got out thanks to their talent and the generosity of some adult who recognized its value.

Their awareness is different: they have learned that trusting others is the engine of the world and that young people are not the future, but the present.

Segovia con firma.jpg

But the comet that has always inspired his life has been optimism. Trust in young people for whom he spared no expense, in the wisdom of composers whom he rightly considered to be the most important resource a musical instrument could be rely on and, finally, trust in a world and humanity that could always understand the beauty and importance of music.

One of the most important stages of his life, I would say the "turning point", was the meeting, epistolary, with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

The now elderly great Florentine composer - who moved to the United States in 1939 to escape the racial laws - in 1967 he wrote to his young Italian colleague, just 26 years old at the time, for compliment him after reading his article in a music magazine where commented on his compositions.

Castelnuovo-Tedesco recognizes the sensational talent of Gilardino and encourages the publisher Bèrben to entrust him with a series of new original guitar music.

For the Piedmontese boy it is the first important professional investiture, an endless number will later illuminate his life and career.

But certainly the impetus that the Florentine dean had for the young Vercelli master, has inspired in Angelo Gilardino the granite certainty that the task of quality adults is recognize and help quality young people.

He reciprocated the support received from Castelnuovo-German by helping all the young people whose talent he recognized during his long life and the determination.


Among the many, one was me. And my gratitude to the master, then became a friend, Angelo Gilardino is a feeling that I will cherish forever.

Filippo Michelangeli

Milan, 4 June 2023



bottom of page