Vanni is an American born composer, pianist, and singer based in Milwaukee, WI. Over the last 20 years Vanni has earned a rather eclectic education and set of experiences that contribute to his music style.
As a young child, Vanni struggled to learn to read but showed an early interest in music and was enrolled in piano lessons. Bouncing from one piano teacher to the next, he had difficulty connecting with each teacher well enough to thrive under their guidance. One teacher in particular told his parents that he would never be a professional musician and that piano would amount to nothing more than a hobby for him. In high school, however, he found a teacher who understood how Vanni thought about and approached music and he was able to begin studying to audition for college music programs. At the same time he was beginning to hear the musical value in mistakes he made while practicing. Those mistakes started to turn into his first compositions until he began intentionally writing new music of his own.
Vanni’s passion for piano and composition and his drive to prove himself lead him to University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point where he planned to study piano and composition. But during his sophomore year he became dissatisfied with the program. At the same time he was coming out as a transgender man and felt a call towards activism and a career in social justice. He began studying political science and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political Science with a Music minor. He spent the first year and a half following graduation as a grassroots organizer and program coordinator for LGBTQ youth with a public health agency in Milwaukee.
But music was still calling him and after a year working in the non-profit world and feeling like he was making no real impact on the lives and health of LGBTQ youth he decided to return to music and use his skills as a composer to help create social change through music and collaborations with other artists.
He spent one year in the Music Composition and Technology program at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee getting an in depth review of music theory and composition, an introduction to electronic music production and programming, and lessons in musical experimentation and the avant garde movement. He now studies independently with various mentors in piano and composition. He believes that musicians and composers at every level should never stop learning and is constantly seeking out new things to study and experiment with in his music.
Vanni writes concert works for large and small ensembles as well as instrumental solos. He currently has several new pieces for ensembles and piano duets, quartets, and solos. He also is in collaboration with local dancers and musicians and has written music for theatrical productions of Stop Kiss and Twelfth Night, and for the documentary series I Am The T.
Keep Up or Shut Up
Inspired by the daily struggle to fight for your dreams while also fighting to keep your head above water, Keep Up or Shut UP bounces between optimistic dreaming and modern life overwhelm.
Written as scene transitions for a play by the same name. Stop Kiss is a story about two women who discover they are attracted to each other. This being the first time either has had an attraction for another woman, they struggle to navigate the new experience and all that the world can throw at two women in love.
i am isak
Written in collaboration with Matthias Grimm, the Isak Suite is the full soundtrack for I Am Isak crafted into one piece.. I Am Isak is a documentary discussing the life of a transgender man in Norway. Isak was able to find some level of acceptance from his friends and family, though struggled to find the same level of understanding at work.
Nima was written for a trailer for the second installment of the documentary mini series. Nima is an Iranian-Canadian transman living in Vancouver struggling to find acceptance from his family due to cultural and generational boundaries.
The creative team’s goal was to show the lives of transmen around the world, showing how different cultures react to transitions and that transgender people exist in places all over the world.
Original music can be commissioned from Vanni for film, theatre, dance, concert performance, video games, and events.
Vanni is also excited to collaborate with other performers for social justice and community based projects.
Vanni teaches piano, music theory and composition. Lessons can be done in person if the student lives in the Milwaukee, WI area or via Skype if the student lives elsewhere.
Piano lessons are $30 for 30 minutes and $50 for hour lessons.
Music Theory and Composition lessons are $40 for 30 minutes and $75 for an hour.
To commission Vanni or to schedule lessons please email Vanni at firstname.lastname@example.org