Born in 1968 in Quebec City, Canada, Francis Ubertelli began studying composition under Armando Santiago at the Quebec Conservatory. He later studied under Franco Donatoni and Azio Corghi at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, taking classes with Ennio Morricone and Luciano Berio. He graduated in 1996.
A few years later, following the death of his mentor, plagued by a profound aesthetic crisis combined with an extended nervous exhaustion, he quit music. That year, he met the shadow of the divine during a game of chess, which redirected his path in life. In 2011, he published his first novel in France, an essay comparing ongoing social changes with the 9/11 attacks, which he witnessed.
In 2015, after some years spent as a teacher, he returned to music following the birth of his son and a chance encounter with an old acquaintance. He is currently preparing his research defense and thesis as part of his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto.
Francis Ubertelli has written numerous works for chamber ensemble and received grants and commissions from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Italy, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto’s Arraymusic, the Charm of Finches flute quintet, the Sounds of Silence Project, Brussels’s Thelema Trio, the Fibonacci Trio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Alizée flute ensemble, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Antwerp’s Champ d’Action, the Alcan string quartet and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. In addition, selected works have been featured at the Conservatoire royale de Bruxelles’s trombone examination and at the Université de Montréal string quartet performance section. His music is regularly played in Canada, the United States, Europe and South America.
His works aim to blur the lines between a more traditional approach to writing techniques and futuristic gestures of the avant-garde compositional process. To that end, traditional musical materials subtly invoke eras of standard Classical repertoire, often nested within a single gesture enhanced in a large-scale periodicity, yet which never rely on the cultural conventions built up around these materials. Pitches present themselves in a hierarchy of importance, expressly giving precedence to the gesture—the gesture being that philosophical object passing by, through which the light of a form intuitively shines.