“Emotional and vocally thrilling” San Francisco Bay Times
“Affecting, pure-toned…beguiling” Contra Costa Times
“Spunky” and “manages to move us to tears” East Bay Press
“A rich soprano voice,” The Chicago Tribune
Romina Di Gasbarro is a 2020 JUNO Nominee for her record, Risorgimento. Romina’s trajectory as a singer and musician is an adventurous pilgrimage of the musical heart. Nursed on Italian music, raised on rock and soul, trained in classical guitar, initiated into jazz, studied new-music composition, and developed into an opera singer, this artist matured into a creative singer-songwriter of serious genre-bending, creative proportions. From this personal perspective, Romina looks forward to new ground with lyricism and poetry, creating her own path as a music artist beyond categories. Romina has been a regular performer in Toronto since 2004 in venues such as: Heliconian Hall, Glenn Gould Studio, Koerner Hall, Hugh’s Room, Supermarket, Wychwood Barns, Lula Lounge, The Music Gallery and many more. Music festivals include Luminato Festival, TD Downtown Jazz Festival, The CNE International Festival, Young Centre Global Cabaret Festival, NXNE, and Indie Music Week. Romina’s has shared the stage and studio with JUNO celebrated artists from both the classical and jazz worlds such as: Andrew Downing, Roberto Occhipinti, Elmer Ferrer, Christine Bougie, David Occhipinti, Julia Wedman, Aisslinn Nosky, Karen Moffatt, Carina Reeves, Larnell Lewis, Ben Grossman, Jean Martin, Barry Romberg, Blaire Mackay, and Davide Di Renzo.
RISORGIMENTO & DISCOGRAPHY
Risorgimento, the 2018 release is here! Produced by Roberto Occhipinti and released on his label, Modica Music, Risorgimento’s roster of outstanding musicians includes: Elmer Ferrer, Roberto Occhipinti, Larnell Lewis, Ben Grossman, Lucas Harris, Francesco Pellegrino, Gianluca ampanino, Tommaso Sollazzo, Mike Herriott, Drew Jureck, Rebekah Wolkstein, Shannon Knights, and Rachel Pomedli.
Risorgimento is Romina Di Gasbarro’s third release. The title takes its name from the Italian word, “resurgence” used to coin the movement that unified Italy in 1861. Based on selected Italian historical and cultural events, the music of Risorgimento takes the listener on a journey of stories traveling through time in a myriad of musical traditions and cultural references. Like chapters in a book, each song in Risorgimento leads to the next song in building on the same themes that plague our post-modern society: the pursuit and cost of freedom in the face of good and evil. The stories draw from the past but look forward to a brighter future.
Risorgimento follows Romina debut full-length CD, Poema, and debut EP, Little Rome. Romina’s recordings were made possible through the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts (Risorgimento, Little Rome) and the Ontario Arts Council (Risorgimento).
Romina is a regular guest with the critically acclaimed, Vesuvius Ensemble. The group is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of Southern Italian historical folk and classical music. The group is lead by Francesco Pellegrino, lutenist Lucas Harris and ciaramella/mandolin player, Marco Cera. Other regular guests include ghironda/percussionist Ben Grossman and zampogna player, Tommaso Sollazzo. Romina collaborated as a singer and (battente) guitarist on Vesuvius Ensemble’s most recent CD, La Meglio Gioventú.
HISTORY & EDUCATION
Romina was born and raised in North Toronto, spending her summers in Italy growing up in her mother’s home. Raised by a family that taught her Italian folk, popular, and classical music, Romina grew up singing and voraciously listening to music from Motown to rock to folk and soul. She begged her father for violin lessons and eventually switched to the classical guitar, falling in love with Spanish and Latin American composers. She played tenor sax in school and attended Jazz Camps in northern Ontario under the influence of Canadian greats like Anne-Marie Moss and Renée Lee. She frequented open stages and sang her heart out. She dreamed of being a singer and songwriter one day…
Romina attended The University of Western Ontario earning a Bachelor’s degree in Music (classical guitar), and an Artist Diploma in Voice Performance. She earned her Master’s in composition at York University where she also started her PhD in music. Risorgimento is the subject of her 2013 thesis in music composition at York University.
Romina spent the latter part of the 90s living and studying opera in Milan, Italy. She has received numerous Diplomas in Voice including Accademia Musicale Chigiana di Siena where she studied with opera legend, Victoria de los Angeles who awarded Romina with the Chigiana Art Song Award and Scholarship. She later moved to Berkeley, California where she studied with the great dramatic soprano and teacher, Olivia Stapp.
SONGWRITING & COMPOSITION
Romina was an Array Music Young Composer, working under the guidance of composers, Michael J. Baker and Linda C. Smith. Romina’s music has been featured on platforms such as the Electro-Acoustic Symposium at U of T, Array Music and Earshot. She has attended composition classes with Franco Donatoni, Luciano Berio and Ennio Morricone at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. Romina has also embarked into the world of publishing and licensing with various groups including writing music for pop-opera group, Naria.
Romina pursued voice studies in Milan, Italy where she studied with opera legends like Victoria de los Angeles who awarded Romina with the Accademia Chigiana Award for Voice with full scholarship. She continued her studies in Berkeley, California under the tutelage of acclaimed dramatic soprano, Olivia Stapp. In the Bay Area and Chicago she began her professional opera career debuting in roles such as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, Sharon in McNally’s Master Class, Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and La Llorona in Hector Armienta’s opera, La Llorona. She has been a featured performer with Festival Opera, Berkeley Opera, North Bay Opera, The Willows Theatre, The New Music Theatre Collective, Vacaville Arts Society, American Opera Group and The Royal Canadian Opera.
York University Department of Languages, Literature and Linguistics, Book Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Modern Italian Culture. October 2011. Toronto, Canada.
Accademia Musicale Chigiana Award for Voice (by Victoria de los Angeles). August 1997. Siena, Italy.
The Dean Goodman Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre for Supporting Performance in Master Class (by Dean Goodman). October 2000. San Francisco, USA.
Arca Nuova Accademia di Canto Lirico Award. May 1996. Turin, Italy.
Onlus Euridice per la Musica e Melodramma Award. July 1998. Viterbo, Italy.
Array Music Young Composers Workshop. June 1995. Toronto, Canada.
PhD student in Musicology. Started date: September 2014. York University. (Toronto, Canada)
Bachelor of Education (I/S Music & Italian). Spring 2014. York University.
Master in Fine Arts (Music Composition). Fall 2013. York University.
Diploma in Voice. July 1998. Onlus Euridice per la Musica e Melodramma. (Viterbo, Italy)
Diploma in Voice. August 1997. Accademia Musicale Chigiana di Siena. (Siena, Italy)
Diploma in Voice. May 1996. Arca Nuova Accademia di Canto Lirico di Torino. (Turin and Milan, Italy)
Artist Diploma in Voice Performance. Fall 1994. The University of Western Ontario. (London, Canada)
Bachelor of Musical Arts (Classical Guitar and Music Education). Spring 1993. U.W.O.
Diplomas in Classical Guitar, Theory. The Royal Conservatory of Music. 1985-1989. (Toronto, Canada)