But Sciarrino considers all the works before 1966 as an developing apprenticeship because that is when his personal style began to reveal itself. There is something really particular that characterizes this music: it leads to a different way of listening, a global emotional realization, of reality as well as of one’s self. And after forty years, the extensive catalogue of Sciarrino’s compositions is still in a phase of surprising creative development. After his classical studies and a few years of university in his home city, the Sicilian composer moved to Rome in 1969 and in 1977 to Milan. Since 1983, he has lived in Città di Castello, in Umbria.
He has composed for: Teatro alla Scala, RAI, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Biennale di Venezia, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Fondazione Arena di Verona, Stuttgart Opera Theatre, Brussels La Monnaie, Frankfurt Opera Theatre, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Suntory Hall. He has also composed for the following festivals: Schwetzinger Festspiele, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Witten, Salzburg, New York, Wien Modern, Wiener Festwochen, Berliner Festspiele Musik, Holland Festival, Alborough, Festival d’Automne (Paris), Ultima (Oslo).
He was published by Ricordi from 1969 to 2004. Since 2005, Rai Trade has had exclusive rights for Sciarrino’s works. Sciarrino’s discography is pretty extensive and counts over 100 CDs, published by the best international record labels and very often awarded and noted.
Apart from being author of most of his theatre opera’s librettos, Sciarrino wrote a rich production of articles, essays and texts of various genres some of which have been chosen and collected in Carte da suono, CIDIM – Novecento, 2001. Particularly important is his interdisciplinary book about musical form: Le figure della musica, da Beethoven a oggi, Ricordi 1998. Sciarrino taught at the Music Academies of Milan (1974–83), Perugia (1983–87) and Florence (1987– 96). He also worked as a teacher in various specialization courses and master classes among which are those held in Città di Castello from 1979 to 2000.
From 1978 to 1980, he was Artistic Director of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Academic of Santa Cecilia (Roma), Academic of Fine Arts of Bavaria and Academic of the Arts (Berlin), Sciarrino has
won many awards, among the most recent are: Prince Pierre de Monaco (2003) and the prestigious Feltrinelli International Award (Premio Internazionale Feltrinelli) (2003). He is also the first prizewinner of the newly created Salzburg Music Prize (2006), an International Composition Price established by the Salzburg Land.
In 2006 his new opera Da gelo a gelo, coproduced by Schwetzinger Festspiele, Opéra National de Paris and Grand Théâtre de Genève, was performed to great acclaim. In 2008 La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra performed his 4 Adagi and 12 Madrigali were premiered in the summer of the same year in a portrait series dedicated to him by the Salzburg Festival.