An Interview with Aurelio Porfiri

by Gordon Nary



Gordon: Where did you study Music and what was your favorite course and why was it your favorite?


Aurelio: I have studied music in Rome and I was so lucky to have as my teachers and mentors Maestro Giuseppe Agostini (1930-2020), an outstanding organist, and Maestro Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci (1917-2013), former conductor of the Sixtine Chapel Choir, both a decisive influence in my life. Then, since I was adolescent, I get the chance to conduct, sing, compose, play for our beautiful Roman churches and this has given to me a great experience of sacred music and of the importance of music in the liturgy.


Gordon: Who is your favorite composer and why is he your favorite?


Aurelio: My favorite composer always has been Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. He is the master of masters and the peak of Renaissance music. He was really able to transform prayer in notes and his music make you feel strongly. I think certainly he is one of the three greatest composers in western music, probably in the company of Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. For sacred music I would say he is the greatest.


Gordon: When did you serve in Macau and what were your primary responsibilities?


Aurelio: At a certain point in my life I was invited to be University Professor in Macau to what is called now University of Saint Joseph (2002-2012). I will then be Director of musical and choral programs in two Catholic secondary schools, Santa Rosa de Lima English Section and Our Lady of Fatima Girls’ School, until I return back to Rome in 2015. It was an extraordinary experience because make me being in contact with Chinese culture and with these lovely students, that remain always in my heart. I have tried to teach them about sacred and choral music, and these girls trusted me and allow us to organize memorable concerts and events.


Gordon: You have said that in 2015 you returned back to Rome. What you did from that year until now?


Aurelio: I continued my collaborations with major blogs and continue to publish my books. Then I have created a publishing company based in Hong Kong, Chorabooks, and we published mostly Catholic oriented books, as my History of Catholic Sacred Music (Forever I will sing: A short history of Catholic sacred music). I continue my collaboration with other publishers In January, my new book is coming out about liturgy I wrote with Bishop Athanasius Schneider (The Catholic Mass: Steps to Restore the Centrality of God in the Liturgy).


Gordon: Can you give some other examples?


Aurelio: Sure. My You Tube channel (Ritorno a Itaca) it has now few thousand subscribers. In it there are programs in Italian and English with several guests. Then recently I started three newsletters, two in English (Ritorno a Itaca and Cantus) and one in Italian (Traditio).I really hope to get many more subscribers willing to support these projects.


Gordon: Thank you for a beautiful interview.

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