Francesca Romana Di Nicola is an unconventional harpist who walks a long, creative outstanding professional path. Her way of playing the harp, making music and composing gives new light and personality to her instrument. She reinvents and renews the concept of the harp and all its stereotypes, always on the lookout for refined sound, unexpected bold colours and astonishing character.
A highly sought-after versatile musician, Francesca performs a very wide range of repertoire as a harp soloist, in chamber ensembles and renowned orchestras with reputed conductors: Zubin Mehta, Daniel Oren, Peter Eötvös, Robert Trevino, Eliahu Inbal, Antoni Wit, Jun Markl, Pinchas Steinberg, Pierre Boulez and Valerij Gergiev amongst others. She has performed in the most world famous concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the KKL Auditorium in Lucerne, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Prinzenregententeather in Munich, Teatro Real and Auditorium Reina Sofia in Madrid, the S.Petersburg Conservatory Concert Hall in Russia, and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Thanks to her vast experience, she is asked to play in prestigious musical tours such as in 2019 on tour with the Marinsky Theater Orchestra of St. Petersburg under the conductor Valerij Gergiev, or in 2011 on a European tour with the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris under the conducting of Pierre Boulez.
Francesca is regularly invited to play as a harp soloist with orchestras and ensembles from all over the world such as the Ensemble Intercontemporain of Paris in France; the Marinsky Theater Orchestra of St. Petersburg in Russia, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in U.S.A., the Das Neue Orchester of Cologne in Germany; the Syrian Symphony Orchestra, the Algerian Symphony Orchestra. In Spain, with the Opera Orchestra of the Palau des Arts of Valencia, the Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias, the Real Filharmonia of Galicia, the Oviedo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaga Symphony Orchestra, the Navarra Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary Music Zahir ensemble of Seville, the Basque Symphony Orchestra, the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. In Italy, with the Officina Musicale Italiana, the Orchestra Sinfonica Umbra, Camerata Strumentale di Prato.
Soon widely recognised for her brilliant talent, Francesca started to study music at the age of six in her native land, Italy. She graduates in harp at the Superior High Conservatory “A. Casella” in L’Aquila (Italy) with full marks and honours, and perfects musical studies abroad with Fabrice Pierre, Anna Loro, E. Fontane Binoche, Judith Líber, Marie-Pierre Langlamet. Winner of numerous scholarship awards and suitable at the OGI Italian Youth Orchestra, in 2006 Francesca obtains a master’s degree in orchestral repertoire at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence (Italy), under the direction of Zubin Mehta. In 2007 she gets another higher degree in Harp in Spain at the Superior High Conservatory of Music of the Basque Country Musikene under the guidance of her principal teacher Frederique Cambreling.
Francesca reveals an incredible multifaceted spirit that leads her to explore many music genres: in addition to the classical harp, she also plays different kinds of harp such as the South American Jesuit harp and the Celtic harp. Particularly attracted by contemporary music, in 2011 the prestigious Lucern Festival Academy in Luzerne (Switzerland) awards her a master’s certificate in contemporary harp and contemporary orchestral repertoire under the guidance of Pierre Boulez.
Her career opens up even to the world of contemporary jazz and pop music: she performs with giant artists such as Gregory Porter and Quincy Jones, Gil Goldstein, the Swiss sextet Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, Ryan Truesdell, Paolo Fresu, Steve Wilson, Lewis Nash, Jay Anderson, Take 6, Dee Dee Bridgewater , John Clayton, Ivan Lins, Noa, Alfredo Rodriguez, Patti Austin, John Scotfield.
Francesca combines her time between musical career, composing, teaching and artistic creation in various forms. In the classical, traditional, popular, baroque and contemporary music field she creates original projects always aiming at making her instrument as widely known as possible. She presents harp music performed in premiere sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Italian Embassy in Algeria and Russia, promotes the recovery and rediscovery of harp repertoire unknown or forgotten. She spreads her instrument and projects in several interviews and documentaries for the Radio and TV (in Italy for Radio Rai3, Radio Mondo, Opus Musik; abroad in Quebec for Radio Cibl 101,5 and in Algeria for Alger National Radio and TV, among others).
Since 2014 Francesca composes and transcribes specially for harp and other instruments; many of her works published and performed in world premieres, in several theaters, choral and didactic projects always aimed at the diffusion of the harp. Her main project of 2020, “Miniature”, is a recording of her compositions for solo harp inspired by emblematic landscapes and memories, emotions from her time spent in Italy and the Basque Country.
She makes recordings for prestigious labels like Naxos or Deutch Grammophon, as well as for Radio Rai3, Equilibrium Music 1 and 2, Elkar, Claves, Orpheus, Ibs classical, Ondine amongst others. As a Harp Soloist and in other many chamber /orchestral ensembles for contemporary music composers: Toshio Hosokawa, Luis De Pablo (Zahir ensemble), Maria Eugenia Luc (Kuraia ensemble); soundtracks music for Spanish cinema by Fernando Velázquez (Goya Prize 2017). Teacher for almost four years of “Italian and phonetics applied to singing” at the Superior Conservatory of Pamplona (Spain), she’s appointed in Italy as artistic director of the Stradella Young Project, which approaches young singers and instrumentalists to baroque music and especially to Alessandro Stradella’s music. Currently Francesca also devotes herself to teaching her instrument with great passion, and from September 2021 she teaches Harp and Chamber Music at Francisco Escudero Conservatory in Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain).