Mario Parodi


Mario Parodi has been a continuous source of research for years. A biographical search that progresses slowly, with only a few steps per time. Paradoxically, this challenges in unveiling who he was only accentuate the legendary aura surrounding this musician.

He was born in Turkey to a Genovese father, then from 1950 lived in Argentina, where he married and had a daughter, Silvia Parodi, who also became a guitarist. Details about his life beyond these facts are scarce, and he seemed to have lived an isolated existence within the world of guitarists in South America. After his death from cancer in 1970, his name was lost in the history of guitar.

Searching for him, for me, is more than just a historical quest; it is a musical exploration, a journey into a unique universe. He is a portal that helps approach a perhaps lost way of interpreting and listening to music.

During his years in Istanbul, he was initially self-taught as a guitarist. Still, he had a solid foundation in counterpoint, harmony, and interpretation from pianists, who likely adhered to the school of Liszt. It’s worth noting that many Turkish pianists studied or drew inspiration from the virtuoso.
For this reason, he learned an art of interpretation based on the ability to manage time, rubato, and work on sound by anticipating and postponing notes, manipulating sounds like a material, something to be shaped, much in line with the poetic of the late romantic pianists.

Fortunately, we have his recordings: extraordinary performances that testify to his approach to interpretation. Recordings that had and continue to impact many musicians significantly.  Playing his transcriptions and compositions and analyzing his recordings is a way to better understand this distant, refined, and poetic approach that can tell us a lot about the romantic art of interpretation.


  • In the process of writing an article about Mario Parodi, style of interoperation and the correlation with pianist of the school of Listz
  • Series of videos with his music and transcriptions
  • Concerts with his music
  • A radio program dedicated to his figure for the Radio Marconi

Parodi and Liszt

Liszt: Liebestraum No. 3, Notturno (Transc. Mario Parodi/Marco Ramelli)

Playing Liszt on the guitar can be seen as quite a risky endeavor, but it also offers an opportunity to gain a different perspective on Liszt’s music. Mario Parodi served as a gateway for me to embark on this exploration.

Starting from Parodi’s transcriptions of Liszt, it’s more than merely playing arrangements by an almost unknown self-taught musician. Mario Parodi is much more than that, and studying his approach delves into a sophisticated performance style that reveals much about the romantic tradition, not limited to the guitar.

Understanding Parodi’s background may help explain this perspective. He was born in Turkey to a Genovese father and later settled in Argentina in 1950.

During his formative years in Istanbul, Parodi initially taught himself to play the guitar but received instruction in counterpoint, harmony, and interpretation from pianists, as reported in the liner notes of his albums.

What kind of interpretative traditions were pianists teaching in Turkey?

Interestingly, many Turkish pianists were directly influenced by or drew inspiration from the legendary virtuoso Franz Liszt, particularly after Liszt’s visit to Istanbul in the mid-19th century.

One example is Faik Bey, also known as Francesco della Sudda (1859-1940), who was one of the most influential musicians in Istanbul in the 19th and 20th centuries. He received over three years of training from Franz Liszt in Weimar, during which Liszt affectionately dubbed him “Der Pasha.”

The influence of Liszt on pianist pedagogy in Turkey extended into the 20th century more than in other countries because it was less exposed to other interpretative traditions.

So, Parodi, in this context, absorbed an interpretive style deeply rooted in Liszt’s influence. His interpretations are marked by his skillful manipulation of time, use of rubato, and his unique approach to sound—anticipating and delaying notes, treating sound as a flexible material to be shaped.

Thankfully, Parodi’s recordings offer us a glimpse into his interpretive world—remarkable performances that echo the romantic tradition and reflect the legacy of Liszt’s teaching. He can be considered one of the last examples of this tradition, lost during the XX century; his interpretations are very much in line with the work of direct students of Liszt like Lamond.

In this playlist, you can listen to Parodi’s interpretation together with students of Liszt; much of his approach is shared by more famous pianists.

His playing was not understood by his contemporaries, particularly in Argentina, who didn’t comprehend this approach to interpretation and regarded him as an eccentric musician.

In my recording, I’m not merely reproducing Parodi’s transcriptions but rather learning an approach to transcribing and interpreting that is rooted in the idea very dear to Liszt: the idea of recreation. So, particularly in the cadences, I’ve incorporated my own creative approach.