BMus (Hons), MA Music (Distinction)
Son of a Dentist and a housewife, Felipe Senna was born in São Paulo in 1979. Showing particular interest for his grandmother’s piano since his very early years, he began his musical education at the age of 6. Surrounded by music lovers and amateur players in his German-Brazilian family, Senna was the first to follow the path professionally, initiating his career as a pianist and music instructor with 14 years of age. He graduated in Composition and Conducting by Unesp-the State University of São Paulo (2002), winning a scholarship from FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) from their Scientific Initiation program.
Senna has performed as music director, arranger and pianist with important names of Brazilian music, such as Toquinho, Claudete Soares, Jane Duboc and Cibele Codonho, Grammy winner Airton Moreira and Grammy nominees Nailor Proveta and Filó Machado. Claimed by international critic “an exciting new discovery at the realms of piano soloing” (Martin Longley, Spannered-2007), he founded the Brazilian jazz Trio Quatreta (2003) and, alongside percussionist Marcelo Costa, the Na Corda Bamba duo (2004) – currently based in France.
1st Prize Winner of ‘Camargo Guarniere Composition Competition’ National Award (“Danzas for Orchestra”, 2007) – Brazil´s most important prize in this field – and also 1st Prize Winner of National Competition Ritmo e Som (“Gonzagueân’o”, 2002), Senna has been writing for several symphonic and chamber groups in Brazil, such as Osusp – Symphony Orchestra of University of São Paulo, State Symphonic Jazz Orchestra of São Paulo, Orchestra of Taubaté, Limiar String Orchestra, São Paulo Young Symphonic Wind Ensemble, HSBC Young Orchestra, Camerata Vale Música and Unesp Chamber Orchestra, highlighting his extensive collaboration with BSESP – Symphonic Wind Ensemble of the State of São Paulo: his transcription of Villa-Lobos Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra “Momoprecoce” (2009), for the celebrative concert of the composer’s fiftieth death anniversary, featuring acclaimed Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz, is becoming a standard in Brazilian´s symphonic band repertoire.
Senna orchestrated the musical play “Edu and the Magical Orchestra” (Fonterrada – 2004), and composed the original music for “A Midnight Summer’s Dream”, Paulo Ribeiro’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s text (2010). He adapted, re-orchestrated, conducted and was the Music Director of George Gershwin´s Opera “Porgy and Bess” (2008), presented at São Pedro Theater by Paulista Association of Art´s Friends (APPA) season, nominee to the XII Carlos Gomes Prize as “Best Opera Spectacle in 2008”. Creator and Artistic Director of HSL Ensemble (since 2004), he also directed “Tribute to Musical Education” (2004) and was Assistant Musical Director of BSESP at the world premiere of Ronaldo Miranda´s Opera “A Tempestade” (based on Shakespeare´s “The Tempest”, SP-2006 – 1st Prize Winner of the Paulista Association of Art´s Friends – APAA award).
In the musical theatre, Senna has participated in great-productions such as “Chicago” (Fossy, SP-2004) and “The Phantom of The Opera” (Webber, SP-2005-06) whilst composing incidental music for the Brazilian plays “Baile Estelar” (Possi Neto, SP-2005) “Opera do Malandro” (SP-2009) and “A Gota D’Água” (SP-2012). He was Music Director and Principal Conductor of “The Producers” (Mel Brooks), the first great-production to tour Brazil (2007-2008), and “Hairspray” (Sheiman, RJ-2009/SP-2010), again receiving special attention from the critic: “Felipe Senna directs with tenacity and orchestrates well the magic of the night” (Tania Brandao), “It´s mandatory to point out the spectacular work of Felipe Senna, who directs the show with total dominium” (Isabel Cavalcanti) – O Globo, June 19, 2009. As music- and co-artistic director of “Into The Woods” (Soundheim, SP-2010) he bid farewell to the Brazilian musical theatre scene in order to pursue the art of music within moving images while dedicating a broader scope to his creative work.
Felipe Senna has been living in Europe since 2010. He recently premiered his “Concertino à la Brésilienne” in France (work commissioned by the Orchestre à Projets of the École de Musique et de Danse Jean Wiener) and his “Chrysalis – Narrative for Cello Solo and Images” in London at the Digital Shoreditch Festival 2013. Currently working on commissions for French and Brazilian projects, he is also preparing an album with his own compositions for piano and percussion to “Na Corda Bamba duo”.
Having studied at City University London under the Newby Trust Scholarship (2012/13), Senna graduated with Distinction in the MA Music in Composing for Moving Images program, with a nomination for the Golden Eye ‘Best International Film Music’ as a finalist in the Zurich Film Festival’s/Forum Filmmusik’s ‘International Film Music Competition’ (September 2013).
- Golden Eye ‘Best International Film Music’ – Zurich Film Festival/Forum Filmmusik:
International Film Music Competition – nomination (Switzerland, 2013)
- 1st Prize Winner of ‘Camargo Guarnieri Composition Competition’ National Award (Brazil, 2007)
- 1st Prize Winner of ‘Ritmo e Som’ National Award (Brazil, 2002)
- ‘Folha Award’, 2nd Prize Winner as Best National Concert (2009)
- ‘XII Carlos Gomes National Award’, nomenee as Best Opera Spectacle (2008)
- ‘Paulista Association of Art’s Friends – APAA Award’, 1st Prize Winner as Best Experimental Opera (2006)
- The Newby Trust Scholarship (MA – City Universtity London) – 2012-2013
- RCM Scholarship (MMus – Royal College of Music) – offer, 2012/13
- FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation) Scolarship (Technical Training Program, after grad.) – 2003
- FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation) Scolarship (Scientific Initiation) – 2000-2002