Composition Masterclass and Composition Workshop for Electric Guitar

Pierluigi Billone, Tom Pauwels

Pierluigi Billone, Tom Pauwels | Masterclass di Composizione per chitarra elettrica
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The composition masterclass is open to all those interested in composing a piece for electric guitar and who wish to experience this under the guidance of Pierluigi Billone, working closely with the young performers of the simultaneous electric guitar masterclass held by Tom Pauwels.

The starting point will be the organic integration of direct and creative manipulation of the instrument (preferably excluding additional tools, apparatus, extensions, etc.) with the possibilities of electronic sound processing programmes.

The privileged technical focus will be on the principles and formalisation of preliminary sound explorations, the creative and conscious use of the programmes and the development of an effective and coherent notation.

The compositional focus will be on the open and critical consideration of the principles of processing and development of the sound material chosen by the participant.

The culmination of the experience is the composition of a short piece for electric guitar (recommended duration 6/8 minutes, maximum duration: 10/12 minutes), also in the form of a étude, or a preliminary study and/or a portion of a larger subsequent work, or as a documentation of a preliminary exploration of open possibilities.


The course organisation includes a selection of candidates, after which pairs of guitarists and composers will be formed. The possibility of online meetings with Pierluigi Billone is envisaged, to be held in spring 2023 on dates and modalities to be agreed upon, in order to discuss the compositional process of the new guitar piece. It will also be the responsibility of the organisation to put each composer in contact with a guitarist to exchange drafts and ideas, so that the piece can be finalised in a fruitful way during the days of the Masterclass. 


During the six days of the course, it will also be possible to present further works (for any ensemble) and work with the teacher.

The new guitar works will be presented in a final concert by Foresty International Music Festival, with live recording (audio and video). A further professional studio recording – for those who’re interested – of the new pieces will be made during the last day of the masterclass, which will be given to each composer and guitarist and (by prior agreement with them) published on the social pages and website of CdM San Michele and Foresty International Music Festival.

Pierluigi Billone

Born 1960 in Italy, lives in Vienna.                   

He studied composition with Salvatore Sciarrino and Helmut Lachenmann.

Billone’s music has been performed by relevant interpreters in festivals such as Wien Modern, Festival d’Automne Paris, Donaueschinger Musiktagen, Wittener Tagen für neue Kammermusik, Eclat-Stuttgart, Ultraschall-Berlin, Musica Viva München, TFNM Zürich, Ars Musica Bruxelles, Huddersfield NMF, Rainy Days Luxembourg, World Music Days Wroclaw, Biennale Zagreb, Boston, New York, Monday Ev. Concerts Los Angeles, Bendigo Festival Sidney.

His works received international awards such as the Kompositionspreis der Stadt Stuttgart (Stuttgart 1993), the Busoni-Kompositionspreis (Academy of Arts Berlin 1996) the Wiener Internationaler Kompositionspreis (Vienna 2004), the Ernst-Krenek-Preis (Vienna 2006), and the Förderkompositionspreis der Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikstiftung (Munich 2010).

From 2006 to 2008 Pierluigi Billone has been guest professor for composition at the Music University Graz, in 2009 at the Music University of Frankfurt, and from 2010 until 2012 at the Music University Graz. 2017 Visiting Professor at the Escola Superior de Música de Barcellona.

He is regularly invited as teacher and lecturer in composition courses such as: IEMA-Ensemble Modern Akademie 2008. Harvard University 2010. Columbia University NY 2010. MCME International Academy, Russland 2011. Ferienkurse Darmstadt 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018. Impuls Akademie Graz 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2109, 2021, 2023. Boston University 2015. New York University 2015. Tzlil Meducan Israel 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017. MCIC Madrid 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Royaumont 2016. Composit-Rieti 2015, 2016, 2017. Kalv Academy-Sweden 2018, 2022. Conservatoire Royale, Bruxelles 2020. APC-Lissabon 2021. Motocontrario-Trento 2022.

The works of Pierluigi Billone appear on CD-Labels: Kairos, Stradivarius, Col-legno, Durian, EMSA Sub-Rosa and Ein_Klang.

Pierluigi Billone

Tom Pauwels

In 1995, while still studying at the Brussels Conservatory, he founded Black Jackets Company together with four composers and five performers. Since then, he has been continuously active in performing new music, both on classical and electric guitar.

Since 1999, he has been the regular guitarist of the Brussels-based Ictus ensemble with which he has appeared as a soloist and as a member of the ensemble on the major European stages. He also collaborates on a project basis with the London-based collective Plus-Minus. 

He recorded solo and ensemble works by Helmut Oehring, Keiko Harada, Fausto Romitelli, Georges Aperghis (for Cyprès), Christopher Trapani and Larry Polanksy (for Sub Rosa). With guitarist Yaron Deutsch, he recorded works by Pierluigi Billone (for Kairos).

Between 2002 and 2017 he was in charge of teaching new music for guitar at the Conservatory of Gent where he has developed an Advanced Master program dedicated to contemporary music in collaboration with the Spectra ensemble and Ictus. In 2010 he launched the course for electric guitar at the International Summer courses in Darmstadt.

More recently he was involved with Ictus in the summer academies of Ticino and Royaumont (Voix Nouvelles). His broad interest in performance has led to collaborations with choreographers as Xavier Le Roy (see ‘Mouvements für Lachenmann), Andros Zins-Browne (The Funerals) and Maud Le Pladec (see ‘Professor’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Concrete’ and ‘counting stars with you’).

Today he is part of the Music Faculty of P.A.R.T.S (School for contemporary dance in Brussels) and acts as Artistic Director of the Ictus Ensemble.

The Course

Attendance as an actual student is €400; free access for auditors (subject to availability). Lessons begin on 13/07/2022 and end on 18/07/2022 (total n. 6 effective days). The course will be held in English/Italian. Lessons will be held at CDM’s premises.

The cost of the course includes:

  1. Composition lessons and workshop lessons together with the guitarists
  2. The possibility of attending all the lessons and/or seminar and lectures s held during the course
  3. The performance and recording of the pieces presented during the masterclass in a public concert organised by Foresty International Music Festival
  4. The use of study spaces, whose hours will be self-managed by the students and coordinated with the activities taking place. 
  5. Issue of certificates of participation authenticated by the teacher and the organisation
  6. The possibility, in the days following the course, to stay at CdM San Michele to professionally record at an advantageous price. For further information, please write to

Deadline for registration is: 19 February 2023.

A fee of €50 must be paid at the time of registration.


Payment details

Account holder: APS Montaldeo Musica
IBAN: IT02V0326848450052776248700
Reason of payment: Name and Surname – music masterclass 

By the 27th February you will be informed about the selection of the participants to the masterclass; in case of non-selection, the registration fee of €50 will be refunded. Payment of the fee, amounting to further €350, must be made by the 10th March.

The accommodation fee of €300 will be paid on site, upon arrival. Any payment and bank charges are the responsibility of the applicant.
In the event of late payment, for which bank transfer date of sending is decisive, a late payment fee of €75 will be charged.

At the beginning of March the pairs of guitarists/composers will be created and communicated; during the months of March to May it will be possible to schedule online meetings with Pierluigi Billone to discuss the compositional path of the guitar piece. Also during this period the pairs of participants are invited to make contact and exchange ideas and working drafts. The final delivery of the complete scores is scheduled by 5 June, to be sent to

Board and Accommodation (€300)

Casa San Michele offers accommodation in affiliated facilities (flats) in the village of Montaldeo (AL). If necessary, the structure is available to those who wish to stay the nights before or after the beginning and the end of the course (upon reservation) at an additional cost of €25 per night. The cost includes accommodation in a shared flat with a room with bed linen, bathroom and dinner (the latter at the CDM facility), served in the dining room or in the garden. Water is always available in the common area of CDM; other consumptions will be considered extra.

The lunch break is at your own discretion: two affiliated restaurants and a grocery shop are within easy walking distance, so you can choose from sandwiches to traditional dishes. The cost of lunch is not included in the cost; however, the use of the SPA is included, limited to the times agreed on the occasion of the course and in accordance with current regulations. Rubber slippers (non-slip) and a swimming costume are compulsory for use of the SPA.

The balance of any extras can also be paid on the spot by credit or debit card or bank transfer.

Please note that in the village of Montaldeo there are no tobacconists, pharmacies or ATMs; all necessary services are easily accessible by car or bicycle in the neighbouring villages.

How to reach us

The nearest railway stations are Ovada, Novi Ligure, Arquata Scrivia; a transfer service is available from the arrival station to Montaldeo at a cost of €15. The nearest airports are Turin, Milan, Genoa, with respective train connections. For those travelling by car, Google Maps shows the exact location by searching for “Casa San Michele Montaldeo”; the nearest motorway exits are Ovada (A26), Novi Ligure (A26/A7), Arquata Scrivia (A7).


Registration fees, net of bank charges, will not be refunded under any circumstances, except in the event of cancellation of a course due to force majeure or failure to reach a minimum number of participants. The accommodation fee will not be charged in the event of cancellation by the member.

Covid-19 regulations

CdM San Michele, in addition to taking all possible precautions and necessary equipment on site to prevent contagion and to comply with current regulations, will communicate after the registration the protocol to be followed for a course and a stay as safe as possible.

Apply for admission to the guitar composition masterclass and workshop