Pietro Spada is an Italian pianist and musicologist (born Rome July 29, 1935). He is particularly noted for his technically masterful and vivid interpretations of works by lesser-known composers and his recordings of the piano music of John Field are highly regarded.
Pietro Spada is the second of three sons of Maria Teresa Fodale and Massimo Spada. Although not born into a musical dynasty - his parents both had law degrees - the household was never devoid of music, frequented by many well-known musicians of the time including the violinist Gioconda de Vito and the tenors Giacomo Lauri-Volpi and Tito Schipa. His great-grandfather, Jacopo Ferretti, wrote the libretto for Rossini's la Cenerentola and collaborated as librettist with other composers such as his close friend Donizetti, Pacini and Mercadante.
Spada began his study of the piano at the age of 12 under Vito Carnevali. A short time later he entered the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome to study under Tito Aprea completing his diploma in piano with highest honours in 1956. Subsequently he received coaching but no formal lessons from the Italian pianist and conductor Carlo Zecchi who became one of his closest friends. Spada underwent composition courses with Vincenzo di Donato, Carlo Pinelli and Andrea Mascagni completing his studies at the Milan Conservatory with Giorgio Federico Ghedini.
He has performed widely in many countries including Japan, Germany, North and South America, Russia, England and toured with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli. Spada performed under various eminent conductors including Charles Bruch, Dean Dixon, Antal Dorati, Arthur Fiedler, Anatole Fistoulari, Jascha Horenstein, Peter Maag, John Pritchard, Thomas Sanderling, Ferruccio Scaglia, Lovro Von Matacic and many others.
Spada was appointed Guest Professor of piano at Florida State University in August 1966. The following year he joined the piano faculty of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and later that of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. At every university he both taught and performed before deciding to return to Italy in 1970. Later on he taught at the Turin Conservatory, the Rome Conservatory and the historical Naples Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella. There he spent his longest period as a piano professor, intensely researching in one of the most important autograph manuscript collections of the world before deciding to leave teaching.
During his residence in the United States he was given a grant to do research on Muzio Clementi producing a definitive edition of the Clementi Symphonies. Continuing in his research, he published and recorded many unedited keyboard compositions by Paisiello, Donizetti, Field and others. Spada, together with Massimo Boccaccini, founded Boccacini & Spada Editori through which he has issued a huge volume of hitherto unpublished compositions of great Classic composers.
Prominent soloists and conductors who have presented many of Spada's editions include Abbado, Chailly, Ferro, Gavazzeni, Gazzelloni, Muti, Pavarotti, Rampal and Schippers.
Spada recorded for the first time in 1960 and continues to do so today having produced a vast amount of repertoire on CD. He is a Steinway Artist.
Spada married in 1967 and has a son, Marcantonio, born in Rome in 1970. He currently lives and works in Rome Italy.