Born and bred with music in her blood, (her father Luciano was the composer, her brother Riccardo is the conductor) Cecilia Chailly has followed a very personal path with harp and voice, which has led her, after an important classical career, to write, play and sing her own music. She has an artistic personality but is also sensitive to her own generation's music. She is fond of travel and oriental philosophies which she has also studied through the practise of martial arts, dance and yoga; her rhythmic sense and an inborn improvisational ability lead her towards different musical areas.
Cecilia Chailly started to study music at the age of six, singing in the Roman Philharmonic Choir in Rome. At the age of ten, she began studying harp at the Milan Conservatory of Music, and continued her studies in France with Pierre Jamet and Jaqueline Borot, refining her interpretative style.
At sixteen she began studying music composition with Azio Corghi, and made her debut at the Gaudeamus Festival in Holland and at the Piccola Scala in Milan as an avant-garde performer.
At nineteen she made her appearance as first harp at La Scala Orchestra in Milan; this was to be the beginning of a long collaboration, lasting several years. She has also played with numerous orchestras including the Rai State Television Orchestra, Swiss Television Orchestra, the European Chamber Orchestra of Claudio Abbado, and many important chamber groups. She has worked with John Cage to a project where she directed a harp orchestra; she also worked with theatre and dance companies such as Piccolo Teatro of Milan and the David Parsons Dance Company, and for several internationally renowned designers such as Krizia, Missoni, Laura Biagiotti, Romeo Gigli and Nino Cerruti. She has also given concerts in Europe, China and Taiwan, interpreting the most important classical harp pieces, along with pieces composed for her by Italian exponents of the 'Newromantic' group, of which she has been a founder member.
She is the pioneer of electric harp, with which she recorded the CD 'Stanze', music by Ludovico Einaudi (Bmg Ricordi '93). Defined by Billboard (June 97) as one of the “ready for the World” Italian artists, she debuted with enormous success at the Queen Elisabeth Hall in London.
She has also performed in Mina’s CD ‘Ridi Pagliaccio’ (Pdu ‘88), Fabrizio De Andrè’s 'Anime salve' (Bmg Ricordi ‘96) Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Sogno’ (Sugar ‘99) and in the last Planet Funk’s album, “The Illogical Consequence” (Emi 2005).
Besides interpreting classical and contemporary music, she increasingly strives to explore music which takes her into territories beyond the strict urn of musical types. Her music brings together influences of world music, jazz experimentation, contemporary music, opera and pop reflections.
Her CD 'Anima', recorded in California and published by CGD-Warner in 1997, was her first album as a composer. Acclaimed by press and media, it was defined as “an innovative puzzle of emotions” and consecrated her as one of the main representatives of Italian music.
She won the 1997 edition of the De Sica Prize for Music.
In 1998 she performs at Premio Campiello book prize and in 1999 she is member of the prize jury.
In 1999 she played for the Dalai Lama during his four day visit in Milan.
In 2000 the Italian Ministry of Culture commissions from her the sound-track for Nino Criscenti’s short Paesaggi. Film director Dario Argento includes her tune “Finestra d'autunno” in the sound-track for his movie “ Non ho sonno”.
In October 2001 she has released her new album AMA (Sony Columbia), which she has produced and written music, text, arrangements and orchestrations; it’s her debut in the world of pop music, between songs and electronic sounds coming from electric harp, with lounge, blues, symphonic, techno, trance and world music influences. In the same year she won the “Premio Camogli 2001”.
In 2002 she participated at the Montreux Jazz Festival as the only Italian musician.
In 2003 she played for the Pope in the Vatican, and in 2004 at the Venice Carnival.
Her name appears in Who’s Who in Italy and she is one of the 100 Italian personalities portrayed by the famous photographer Bob Krieger. She has also been portayed by Melina Mulas, Oliviero Toscani, Alfredo Sabbatini, etc.
She has been member of the jury of the “Premio Milano Europa 2000” prize for Milan Town Hall’s Museum of the Present.
Currently she is composing the music for her new album.
After been the inspiration for Andrea De Carlo’s novel “Arcodamore” (Bompiani), in 1998 she surprised her public under her new guise as a writer with the publication of her novel “Era dell’amore” (Bompiani 1998) which won important awards such as Premio Pisa and Calabria Opera prima 1998, Rapallo e Procida Elsa Morante Opera prima 1999.
In 2001 her novel is translated into German and published by Lizt, and gets enthusiastic press reviews, especially from “Der Spigel” magazine.
She has conceived, since 1999, a successful column for the best sold Italian female magazine, in which she proposes a new image of a contemporary woman.
She is working on her second novel.