Born in Verona, Donatoni started studying violin at the age of seven, and frequented the local Music Academy. Later he studied at the Milan Conservatory and, from 1948, at the Bologna Conservatory (Osmond-Smith 2001).
At least three generations of composers studied with Donatoni. Among his Italian pupils were Sandro Gorli, Roberto Carnevale, Giulio Castagnoli, Ivan Fedele, Luca Mosca, Riccardo Piacentini, Fausto Romitelli, Pietro Borradori, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Alessandro Solbiati, and Piero Niro, and among his foreign pupils Michael Dellaira, Pascal Dusapin, Sylvie Bodorová, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg, Katia Tiutiunnik, Javier Torres Maldonado, and Juan Trigos. See: List of music students by teacher: C to F#Franco Donatoni.
Donatoni died in Milan in 2000, wishing to work in his second book of his monumental "Arte della Fuga”, for large orchestra, based on the original work of Johann Sebastian Bach.
- Biography by David Wright
- Obituary in the Musical Times
- Recording of "Arpège", for ensemble.
- A reminiscence of Donatoni by Jeffrey Levine
- Excerpts from sound archives of Donatoni's works.
- "Franco Donatoni biography" (in French). IRCAM.
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