20 Questions with Ivana Parnasso

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1) What is your name?

Ivana Parnasso

2) Where were you born?

Marsala, Sicily.

3) Where do you live?

Currently in Marsala.





4) How did you become interested in music?

Thanks to music which has always reigned in my family and above all, thanks to my father, a drummer, who introduced me to jazz, swing and other genres. When I was a teenager my father was one of the organizers of a major international jazz festival Marsala Jazz Doc Festival, that ran between 1994 and 1998. So as a kid to attend numerous performances by internationally-renowned artists such as Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Tuck & Patti, Steve Coleman, Manhattan Transfer and many others permitted me then to indulge in a sound certainly more complex for a girl that age.

5)How did you become a composer?

It all definitely started by play and curiosity to test myself. Considering my attitude towards art, I decided to try to express myself through sound and rhythmic play as I always loved to play drums. With time, based on listening to many musical genres, I fell in love with the experimentation of mixing sounds, genres and ethnic influences. In the past I had experienced live shows with particular musical themes, which then led me to want to search for something that complimented me, so I decided to do it myself and take the path of composition, more personal in terms of research and expression.

6) What are your musical influences?

I love particularly jazz and funk and all strands of vintage genres of the `60s and `70s with a detailed look at the soundtracks of classic Italian cinema of that period. I also draw influences from the genre of Italian and American crime film. As for names, I love Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin. In the Italian vein, I appreciate very much soundtrack composers such as Piero Umiliani, Piero Piccioni, Armando Trovajoli and even Gianni Oddi, who I was able to meet personally.

7) The creative process. From where comes your muse?

It is something very personal, my vision regarding inspiration is something transcendental, because by my nature I am very receptive to sounds around me, and as a result I am carried by them. For example, in my piece Comb In Samba on my third album I was influenced and fascinated by the mere sound of the teeth on a hair comb, which stimulated my creativity so as to make it become the protagonist of a composition in which the sound played by the comb created a somewhat original sound effect. Thus to understand the simple sounds of nature around me or those produced by objects are for me a source of inspiration, as it happens on my track Greenwich in which I incorporated the sounds of instruments which were being played by students of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in Greenwich, London, recording while I was walking in the park in front of the building. They fascinated me so much, that I wanted to merge them with the other sounds of my composition. My point of view is that everything can be music, even the smallest and simplest bits of sound.

8) Is there a music, a genre today in particular that you like?

Unfortunately I don’t listen often to commercial radio because there is really very little in terms of culture and musical taste, everything seems the same to something else, but there are many good artists who pursue the path of quality, composing songs rooted in the genres of the past, fortunately.



Ivana Parnasso Playlist


9) Food. What is your favorite dish?

I like many different dishes, but among my favorites is pasta al forno alla siciliana, cuscus di pesce and risotto.

10) Do you perform live, or just record in the studio?

In the past I performed many live shows, but more recently I have been dedicating myself to some DJ sets and to my studio productions.

11) What is your favorite song of all time? Does this exist?

Impossible, there are too many masterpieces to express myself in this regard.

12) Rocco Caramello, the founder and chief executive officer of Rocco’s Música!Musica! was a cat. Do you like cats? Do you have a cat? If no, why not?

No, I do not own a cat. Aesthetically I like them, but I do not have a great affinity for dogs or cats.


Bella (L) and Rocco (R) ponder Ivana’s feelings about cats. Or maybe they’re just looking at a bird.

13) Your music, at times, has a certain cinematic quality, atmosphere. Have you composed for the cinema?

No, it has never happened but I’d very much like to compose a film, a short film, as you yourself have noticed some of my compositions are reminiscent of the hypothetical images, panoramas and feelings from movies. It would be a pleasant experience to associate my compositions with visual sequences.

14) On the subject of cinema, what is your favorite film? Is there a favorite director?

There are many, but one of my favorites includes the classic spy flick with Steve McQueen Bullitt by Peter Yates and Three Days of the Condor by Sydney Pollack with [Robert] Redford. But I love also Italian films, some of the cult B movies of the 60’s and 70’s, like Operazione San Gennaro, La Ragazza con la Pistola, Bello onesto emigrato Australia sposerebbe compaesana illibata and many others, of course. I prefer even those films that have an “intriguing” soundtrack, as well as a nice texture. I do not have a favorite director, there are many that I admire.

15) What do you like about being a musician/composer?

I appreciate being able to express feelings, sensations and moods through harmony and sound in general. The musical composition is a means by which we express our human nature. Music can also be a spiritual quest that can lift our spirits.

16) Soccer. Who do you root for? If you do not like soccer, is there another sport?

I don’t like soccer, but I rather appreciate cycling.

17) “Curly Shirley” by Otto Sieben. Rocco likes it. Do you like it?

Yes, I like, but I think there are similar compositions superior in terms of sound and themes.

18) You are not only a composer but an artist in other disciplines. You are a sculptor and a painter. What type of sculpture do you do? With what materials do you work? And painting? With which medium do you work?


My studies are essentially based on figurative sculpture, I don’t like to work out of the box too much. I am methodical and academic regarding sculpture. The materials I prefer are clay, chalk, beeswax, resin and lead. As for painting the styles that I adapt are varied. But I rely also in this area on the figurative. I prefer to use media from classic works to the use of wood, using different materials and mixed media. I also love to experiment in recycled art with different types of materials creating original, functional items or simply for aesthetics. I plan to propose an exhibition about it.

click to enlarge

19) Who are your influences in these arts?

Regarding recycled art, I draw inspiration from some Italian designers like Joe Colombo, Verner Panton and many others. Beyond the sculpture and painting of the one and only Michelangelo Buonarroti, I adore also the more modern forms of painting, especially the works of Tamara De Lempicka. But I also appreciate Egon Schiele and Andy Warhol. And in sculpture Arnaldo Pomodoro. But of course there are too many artists, trends, works and expressions for being able to say to have only one stylistic influence.

sculpture1 canvas_1

20) Any new projects in the future? Perhaps a new album?


I have in progress a new album on which I am working. Also in time I would like to devote myself to the possibility of performing live my studio compositions, through the use of a loop station and an ensemble of musicians.


Ivana Parnasso Official Website