Ennio Nicotra was born in Palermo in 1963. Graduated in piano at the Academy of Music Vincenzo Bellini in Palermo under the guidance of M° Antonio Sottile.
In 1989 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he trained at the Academy of Music Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He was the only Italian student admitted to attend the class of Ilya Musin, the legendary teacher in whose school many well-known conductors have been trained, including Yury Temirkanov, Valery Gergiev, Semyon Bychcov, Sian Edwards, Rudolf Barshai,Vassilij Sinaisky.
Under Musin’s tutelage he aquired a solid technique and a vast operatic and symphonic repertoire, and in a short time he was invited to conduct some of the most important Russian Orchestras, including, in St. Petersburg, the Philharmonic orchestra, and the Radio and Television Orchestra . Also the Moldovian Philarmonic (Kiscinov) and Orchestras in Kislovodsk, Essentukj,Petrosavodsk, Ulianovsk, Ekaterinburg, Riga among others. He has collaborated with such esteemed performers as Paul Badura-Skoda, Misha Maisky, Bruno Canino, Carlo Bergonzi.
Between 1993-1995 he taught as assistant to Musin during the Siena Master classes at the Accademia Chigiana and, following the death of his mentor, at the renowned summer Giornate Musicali in Assisi.
He is the founder of The Ilya Musin Society (2001) dedicated to promote Musin’s system in the world. . With the Ilya Musin Society he organizes several courses with the presence of students from all over the world, coming from some of the most prestigious schools including The Juilliard School, Wiener Hochschule, Berliner Hochschule, Tokyo College of Music, Sibelius Academy, Moscow Conservatory, Stockholm Royal Academy, London Royal College of Music.
Among participants are professional musicians from Italian and European orchestras such as the Academy of Santa Cecilia, Theatre San Carlo in Naples, Giardino Armonico, “Bayerischer Rundfunk” in Munich, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 2005 he has taught at international seminars in Saint Petersburg at Peter the Great Music Academy in cooperation with the Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra and the Union of Composers.
In May 2009 he gave a masterclass in Madrid for the Foundation Carlos De Amberes, the oldest Spanish Foundation, president the King of Spain.
He is the author of the book/ DVD “Introduction to the orchestral conducting technique” with the contribution of the piano duo Bruno Canino – Antonio Ballista distributed world-wide by Edizioni Curci Milano. The handbook, which is in its third reprints, has been translated into English, Spanish , German and is one of the most popular handbook about orchestral conducting. He is currently planning a new book with Edizioni Curci for 2018.
Since November 2011 he has been director of the Course of Advanced Conducting at the University of Milano-Bicocca
He is regularly invited to give masterclasses at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Beirut, in collaboration with the Université Antonine and the Italian Institute of Culture and the NDU University the first masterclasses of orchestra conducting in Lebanon’s history.
In 2012-2014 he was invited to give a masterclass at the Academy of Music Lucio Campiani of Mantua.
In 2013 he was appointed by Franco Battiato artistic director of the Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana.
In 2015 he has been invited by Cerisdi to give a masterclass in Palermo in conjuction with the University of Palermo and the Foundation Teatro Massimo Palermo.
From 2013 he gives classes in Fort Wayne (Indiana) in conjuction with the Indiana University – Purdue University and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, who received a 1 million dollars sponsorship from the Foundation 20/80 for the annual realization of this project.
In September 2015 he has been invited to participate to the first edition of Orchestral Life in team with the most outstanding professors of Teatro La Scala Milan
In October 2015 he has been invited in Brasil to give a class in Florianopolis with Orchestra Camerata where he has been again invited in 2016.
In 2017 he has been invited to give a class at the Jacobs school of Music – Bloomington, Indiana University
He is protagonist of the documentary film “Play” broadcast on SKY Classical.
Articles about his activies have appeared in many publications including newspapers
La Repubblica and the Giornale di Sicilia,
music Magazines such as
and Classic Music Magazine (U.K.)
Among his students are:
Antonio Ballista celebrated Italian pianist.
Luca Pitteri celebrated Italian musician and television personality.
Louis Siciliano Winner of the award “Nastro d’Argento” in 2005 and Composer of the year at Biennale di Venezia, 2010.
Michael Young assistant conductor English Symphony Orchestra
Giordano Antonelli chief conductor of Ensemble Musica Antiqua Latina.
Marco Momi winner of Kranichsteiner Music award, 2008, in Darmstadt.
Paolo Pessina Winner of the award Emma Contestabile, Accademia Chigiana.
Predrag Gosta musical conductor of New Trinity Baroque in Philadelphia.
Andrea Battistoni chief conductor of Tokyo Philharmonic.
Stefano Mainetti musicfilm composer
Alberto Maniaci 3° prize Concorso internazionale “Luigi Mancinelli” 2012 for orchestral conductors – Orvieto, 1st prize at Premio Nazionale delle Arti in Direzione d’Orchestra 2012 organized by Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research in L’Aquila.
Mark Shiell chief conductor of Zelman Symphony Orchestra,Australia.
Felipe Hidalgo condutor of Orquesta Juveniles de Chile.
Joost Smeets chief conductor of KamerFilharmonie der Aa Groningen.
Chelsea Tipton II chief conductor of the Symphony of South Texas.
Antoine Rebstein chief conductor of Junges Orchester der Freien Universität Berlin.
Toufic Maatouk conductor of the choir of Radio and Television, Lebanon.
Luigi Di Fronzo founder and chief conductor of the Discovery Ensemble, professor of history of music at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, music critic and columnist for “La Repubblica”
Eduardo Cedeño principal Conductor of the Lake Norman Orchestra and violin professor at Mitchell Community College , North Carolina USA
Lorenzo Passerini chief conductor of the Orchestra Giovanile Antonio Vivaldi.
Gregory Woodbridge chief conductor of The York Youth Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta, USA
Manfred Giampietro chief conductor of the Orchestra dell’Università di Pisa.
Jefferson Della Rocca chief conductor Camerata Florianopolis Brasil