updated 14 October 2021
© DR

Ricardo Nillni

Argentine composer born 14 June 1960 in Buenos Aires.

Ricardo Nillni studied composition at the Buenos Aires Faculty of Musical Arts and Sciences, graduating in 1985 with a Bachelor’s as well as an advanced composition pedagogy degree. At the same time, he studied composition and contemporary music with Francisco Kröpfl and worked at the Buenos Aires Centre of Electro-Acoustic Music (LIPM).

In 1986, he was awarded a grant from the Rubin Academy which allowed him to study electro-acoustic techniques and the semiology of music at Tel Aviv University with Yizhak Sadaï. In 1987, he moved to Paris, where he undertook further study with Guy Reibel, Gérard Grisey, and Paul Méfano at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSMDP), graduating from his composition class with highest honours. He also attended seminars and master-classes led by Brian Ferneyhough, Helmut Lachenmann, and Klaus Huber, among others. He went on to study with Franco Donatoni in Sienna, and finally, participated in the IRCAM Cursus (IRCAM’s composition and computer music course) in 1990-91.

His works have been performed at prestigious international festivals such as Donaueschingen, Darmstadt, Présences, Son-Mu, A tempo, Why note, York Spring Festival, Traiettorie, and Susaa, and by orchestras and ensembles including the Radio France Philharmonic, Orchestre de Picardie, 2E2M, Soloists of the Paris Opera, Soloists of Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Recherche, Itinéraire, Court-circuit, Ensemble FA, Accroche Note, Alternance, Das Neue Ensemble, Phace, and E-MEX.

From September 2000 to July 2002, he was composer-in-residence with the Orchestre de Picardie. In 2014, he was in residence at the Reims Conservatory, where he worked with students of composition and flute. In 2016, he was composer-in-residence in Haute-Corrèze (central France).

In October 2003, his work Plongements for orchestra was premiered by the Radio France Philharmonic at the 81st Donaueschingen Festival. In 2010, the Soloists of the Paris Opera presented a portrait concert of his chamber works at the Bastille Opera.

Ricardo Nillni’s music is characterised by its fluidity and continuity, its formal transparency and its use of particularly dense sonorities. Regular contact with Helmut Lachenmann’s “instrumental musique concrète“ and Gérard Grisey’s spectral works contributed significantly to Nillni’s compositional identity. However, a major stylistic change came about following an encounter with the work of visual artist Sol Lewitt, notably, the Five Degrees of Scribbles (a pure geometric form which, when viewed up close, reveals itself to be a mass of scribbles), which Nillni discovered in 2012 at a retrospective of the artist’s work at the Metz Pompidou Centre. This experience ushered in a new creative period which saw the development of an alternate harmonic system. Prior to this, Nillni’s works traced a gradual shift away from a focus on sound/noise relationships in favour of the use of pure pitches; however, after 2012, he once again embraced the union of pitch and noise, “fusing the noise elements of instrumental gestures with precisely defined pitches” within musical structures with shifting contours, with the objective of creating a “vibrational geometry”.

Alongside his concert music, since 1996, he has been developing a catalogue of multimedia works in collaboration with visual artist Laura Nillni under the name “ARAOZ.”

Nillni’s scores are published by Billaudot, EME, Babelscores, and Ricordi Munich.


  • Composition Prize of the City of Wiesbaden, 1999
  • Boswil Prize, 1995
  • TRIME Prize, 1994
  • TRINAC Prize from the International Music Council, 1991

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2021


Site du compositeur ; BabelScores.

Liens internet

(liens vérifiés en juin 2021).


  • Ricardo NILLNI, « Surface », Ensemble Alternance, 1 Cd Stradivarius, 2021, STR37194.
  • Ricardo NILLNI, « Hélices », Alexis Descharmes, violoncelle ; Ensemble FA ; Dominique My : direction, 1 Cd L’Empreinte Digitale, 2016, ED13248.
  • Ricardo NILLNI, Concerto Liquido, sur « Wrestling Samoa », Ensemble PHACE ; Simeon Pironkoff : direction, avec des œuvres de Bernhard Lang, Jorge Sánchez-Chiong et Germán Toro-Perez, 1 Cd Phace, 2015 PHA001.
  • Ricardo NILLNI, « s/t », Orchestre de Picardie ; Edmon Colomer : direction, 1 Cd Triton, 2002, TRI 331123.


(lien véfifié en juin 2021).