Claudio Vena

Claudio Vena's Instruments
Viola - Alfredus Contino, fecit 1928, Napoli
Viola Bow - Eugene-Nicolas Sartory, facit 1926. Paris
Accordion – Paolo Soprani, facit 1970, Castelfidardo
Violin – Antonio Presbordione, fecit Europa, 1916

Gemini award winning composer Claudio Vena has had an eclectic career in the musical life of Canada.  Born in Italy, his peasant roots formed a solid grounding upon which his musical stylings have grown. 

As a composer for Film and Television he has scored 2 feature films, Silver Man, Peter Foldy director, staring Eugene Levi and Joe Pantoliano as well as co-writing the score of the feature Boy Meets Girl directed by Jerry Ciccoritti staring Sean Astin.  He has scored numerous documentaries like the Gemini award winning score to TO in 24 directed by Dale Hildebrand and Johnny Lombardi, The Great Communicator directed by Grace Fusillo Lombardi.  His arrangements were also used in the Norman Jewison movie Only You staring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr.

From 2001 till 2005, his music could be heard on a daily basis as the background music to the CBC television news shows, The National, Canada Now and The Main Network News.  Along with this, he has written jingles for the Canadian market for Telus and Chrysler.  He also composed a score for The Wanderers, a CBC Radio drama, directed by Damiano Pietropaolo.

In 2010, he composed 2 scores for theatre productions.  An original score for the Canadian Stage production of Romeo & Juliet, directed by Vikki Anderson which played at Toronto’s High Park outdoor theatre.  He also composed an original score for the play Peter Pan, directed by Tim Carroll, which ran to critical acclaim for over 7 months at the world famous Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  It was in 2008 that Claudio composed his first score for Stratford and that was for a production of Hamlet, directed by Adrian Noble.

He wrote an original score for new play called Words in the Dark, based on the Italian book, Parole Nel Buio, by Italian playwright Paolo Puppa.  This play was a world premiere and was directed by Donato Santeramo.

As an arranger, he has been commissioned by The Banff Center for the Arts as well as singers Mary Lou Fallis, Robert Pilon, Alfie Zappacosta, Patricia O’Calaghan as well as instrumentalists Robert Michaels and Quartetto Gelato to arrange works for them for various ensembles from String Quartette to full symphony orchestra. 

His first major debut as conductor and arranger happened with the leading baritone of the Met, Louis Quillico, when he recorded a CD of Italian art songs called Ricordi d’Italia.  He has held conducting and music director posts with The Huronia Symphony, The Hart House String Ensemble and The Hart House Wind Ensemble.  He has also held positions as  assistant conductor for the Hart House Orchestra and the Toronto production of Miss Saigon.

Claudio has released 3 solo Cds, La Vita E Un Circo, Peter Pan Soundtrack and Romeo & Juliet.  All three have been met with critical acclaim.

His first rise to the world stage happened when he cofounded the group Quartetto Gelato.  During his tenure with QG, Claudio won NPR’s Debut Artist of the Year and received 2 Juno nominations.  He toured the world with this group selling out in most venues that they played.  He was violist, accordionist, principal arranger and composer for QG.  His recordings with this group include the self titled Quartetto Gelato, Rustic Chivalry, Aria Fresca and the compilation Favourite Flavours.

As a violist, violinist, accordionist, guitarist and mandolin player, Claudio has performed and regularly performs with artists such as Paul Anka, Andrea Bocelli, Jim Cuddy, Placido Domingo,  Roger Hodgson, Robert Michaels, Anne Murray, Patricia O'Calighan, Page and Plant, Luciano Pavarotti, Robert Pilon, Blue Rodeo, Rod Stewart and Alfie Zappacosta.  He also appeared regularly on the CTV show Canadian Idol as a member of the Band during it’s 6 year run,.

His philanthropic work includes support for World Vision Canada and Claudio often goes to inner city schools to do presentations/demonstrations and concerts on his many instruments for children that would not normally be exposed to live music.

He will soon be releasing a live DVD from Nearfest, with his progressive rock group FM, and as well, he is also appearing on the soon to be released live DVD of Alfie Zappacosta. 

As a producer, he has produced 3 CDs for Catherine Wilson and Ensemble Vivant and runs a recording studio where he masters and records many acts including the BowFire Christmas CD and pianist Yuval Fichman.

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