I met Armando Renzi for the first time in May 1946 when I was seven years old. On that occasion, the Maestro heard me play classical pieces at the piano and some of my compositions too. He right away wanted me as his student. My father, who accompanied me, told him that he would not have been able to pay for the lessons (they were difficult years!). Nevertheless, Renzi accepted to teach me anyway, generously free of charge. Therefore, I studied for three years piano and solfeggio with him. At the time, I was too young to be aware of his teaching method: after so many years, I can guess that Renzi followed the most natural way with a child who was perhaps “gifted” for music. He used a system of “playing it by ear”, or going ahead according to my ability to learn and assimilate. In 1949, I passed the entrance examination at the Conservatory Santa Cecilia and was admitted to the fourth year of Piano in the class of Ornella Puliti Santoliquidi, to whom Renzi had introduced me, and to the second year of Solfège in the class of Letterio Ciriaco. In the following years, I have always kept in touch with him though. I often visited him at the Conservatory and listened to his Counterpoint and Fugue lessons. For me, besides the teacher, he was a musician who was teaching. At that time, having completed my studies, I could fully appreciate his great communication skills. Sometimes, when words did not seem enough to him, he would express himself by gestures and then he sat at the piano and all was clear, simple, certain “academic aspects” of teaching counterpoint and fugue would vanish and by magic all became just music. When he was appointed Maestro of the Giulia Chapel, we met for dinner. I still remember his enthusiasm, his happiness, his sense of fulfillment: the family tradition, which started with grandfather Remigio as St. Peter’s organist, was continuing. I heard him several times conduct “his” choir in the Basilica on Sundays. I remember a performance of a Nino Rota’s Messa; I think it was a world premiere.

Unforgettable in my memory of Renzi is the image of a true musician of great humanity and generosity.

Gian Paolo Chiti
Composer, Pianist, Teacher


Homage to Armando Renzi at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Rome April 12, 2013



Written accounts by Friends and Colleagues

Written accounts


Sacred Music Catalogue
S.I.A.E. (Italian Society Authors and Editors) Catalogue



Memories from former students


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