Damiana Natali is an Italian Orchestra Conductor and Composer. Her passion for music was born when she was a child and never left her alone during her life. Thanks to her determination and perseverance she is now one of the few female conductors in the world.
Born in Northern Italy, Damiana Natali started to study music on the piano during childhood, and after a classical high school diploma. She graduated from the Faculty of Piano in Turin State Conservatory, in Composition and Choir conducting in Milan State Conservatory, and at the Faculty of Opera, Chamber, and Symphony Conducting under Donato Renzetti at the Pescara Academy of Music Improvement. She took many advanced courses, such as a piano master class with Maurizio Pollini at the Chigiana Academy of Siena, advanced courses in film composition with Carlo Savina at the Higher School of Music of Fiesole, and advanced courses in composition with Gerard Grisey at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Thanks to her studies she became a pianist, classical music composer, orchestra and choir conductor. Her activity as orchestra conductor ranges from symphonic music to lyric, instrumental, and choral music and theatrical productions.
Orchestra and Choir Conductor
She collaborated as Orchestra Conductor Assistant with the Orchestra Radio-Televisione-Italiana (RAI) of Turin with Wolfgang Sawallisch, Lorin Maazel, Eliahu Inbal, Myung-Whun Chung, Gerd Albrecht, Georges Prêtre, Rafael Frϋhbeck de Bourgos, at Orchestra Sinfonica Verdi of Milano with Riccardo Chailly, at Turin Lingotto Musica with Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker, at Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Orchestra Cherubini di Piacenza with Riccardo Muti, at Teatro Donizetti of Bergamo with Donato Renzetti and Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, at Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome at the Auditorium Parco della Musica and at the Royal Opera House with Antonio Pappano.
Since years she is Guest Conductor of esteemed orchestras including OFI Italian Philharmonic Orchestra, RAI Orchestras, Little Royal Theater of Turin, Philharmonic Orchestra of Milan, Cantelli Orchestra of Milan, Stable Orchestra of Bergamo, Orchestra d’Archi by Mario Brunello, Philharmonia Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Coccia Theater of Novara, Incanto Armonico Orchestra, Solisti Veneti, OPV Orchestra of Padua and Veneto, Symphony Orchestra of the Province of Lecco, Orchestra Youth Symphony of Piedmont, Classical Orchestra of Alessandria, Philharmonic Orchestra of Genoa, Orchestra Mediterranean Symphony, Sicilian Symphony Orchestra, Abruzzese Symphony Orchestra, Baroque Orchestra Monteverdi, Orchestra of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Rome, GDM of Frankfurt (Germany), the Balkan Festival Orchestra, and Philharmonic Orchestra of Mihail Jora of Bacau (Romania).
Amongst many others, her most significant concerts are the following: in 2004 she made her debut at the Teatro Donizetti of Bergamo with the world première of her own composed opera “Il Re Mendicante”, for which she received high acclaim from both critics and audience. ( DVD by the Eurarte Edition). In 2006 in occasion of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of W.A. Mozart birthday, she directed a concert at Stresa International Music Palace and at Viotti International Competition of Vercelli. For several years, she was invited as a guest conductor and composer by the German Friends of Music Society at Bad Soden near Frankfurt during the “Mendelssohn Tag”. In 2012 Rossini’s Stabat Mater; in 2015 The Concert for Expo 2015; in 2016 Mozart’s Requiem and her composition “Dona Pacem”, for Soloists Choir and Orchestra under the high Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic and the Pontificium Consiglio di Cultura in Rome; the Symphonic Concert at the Donizetti Theatre in Bergamo for the celebrations for Rachmaninov which was the only world performance in the history of music which saw the performance by two women, one as pianist and the other as orchestra conductor. ( CD and DVD). The tribute to Giuseppe Verdi on the day of his 150th year of birth, awarded by the Lombardy Region. In 2018 the Galà with the Ballet of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, in 2019 the Bruckner Mass n 2 in Padua.
She is the only female conductor to have given birth to an orchestra: in 2008 Damiana Natali founded the Ars Armonica Orchestra. The orchestra is registered as an Association of Social Promotion and is recognized by the Lombardia Region and the Italian Government
Maestro Natali is also a composer and has written many classical music compositions for the piano, for instrumental and symphonic music, chamber and vocal music, but also for radio and television commercials. She has completed musical arrangements in collaboration with the Radio Televisione Italiana (RAI) and Mediaset. Several of her compositions for the piano have been registered on CD’s. Diaphonia Antologia di Composizioni del Novecento. “Soffio di Luce” was broadcast worldwide and was presented as a première in Rome, as well as in Novara, Monza, Milan, Turin, Assisi, Leopoli, and abroad in Lyon, Bucharest, and Sophia.
Music and Artistic Director
Damiana Natali is also active as artistic director and has founded two festivals: The FILO “Festival Internazionale Lago D’ Orta” in the Piemonte Region, and The “Borghi, Palazzi, e Castelli in Musica” which takes place in historical venues in the Lombardy region and northern Italy.
She is also the creator of numerous and popular music productions: Ouverture Galà of Music and Dance at the Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo celebrated on every New Year’s eve. It includes symphony, lyrical, and ballet music with the EnjoyDance Company and of the Ballet of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan; “Note di Natale”, Symphonic and lyrical Galà; Open Rehearsals for young people, Debut at Work for Young musicians and opera singers and many other productions to bring young people closer to musical theaters. She is also a professor at the Faculty of Rhythm, Ear training, and Theory at the Piacenza State Conservatory.
Damiana has always loved nature and essence of beautiful theaters. She has been a diligent student of the theater and all of the “behind the scene” responsibilities that go into creating an impressive and successful production. She has worked with directors, stage technicians, light engineers and stage managers to understand the full impact each of these areas has on the venue as a whole. Of course her greatest love and talent is collaborating with the musicians of the orchestra.
As an orchestra conductor, Damiana steers the orchestra in its artistic and creative performance. Her programming seeks to bring the audience with her on a powerful and emotional journey.
The Italian newspaper, La Stampa, wrote about her:
She is one of the world’s few women to be an orchestral conductor. She unites competence and professionality, technique and passion, as well as discipline and femininity