Alfredo Lietti’s collaboration with Rai dated back to WW2, when he was a military officer of telecommunications. Later he was offered him a job as a technician, and accepted the position although he had other plans for his future (he studied physics and was attracted by scientific research). After a period at the Rai’s offices in Bari and Venice, he returned to Milan as head of the technical department and met Luciano Berio. Since the Rai management refused to assign funds for the equipment of the Studio, Berio proposed Lietti to design and build sound synthesis/processing devices from scratch, using spare electronic components that already existed in the warehouse stocks of Rai. Lietti accepted enthusiastically this challenge, and became the first technical director of the Studio. He began working on the first sinusoidal oscillators, using his knowledge of acoustics and his undoubted skills as a designer: in a sort of empirical “iterative design” approach, Lietti designed the first projects, then the most suitable electronic components were searched for in the warehouse and the pieces were assembled provisionally, finally the resulting sounds were carefully evaluated. If the result was not satisfactory, Lietti would adjust the projects and iterate the process. Within months, the Studio was equipped with a set of state-of-the-art devices.
In the late 1950s’, when the Studio had become a worldwide reference point for the composition of electroacoustic music, the pioneering spirit that had inspired Lietti’s creativity started fading away. His last known project for the Studio is dated May 20, 1959, at the time when Berio resigned as Director. No longer satisfied with his role in Rai, Lietti started looking for a new challenge, and at the end of 1961 he moved permanently to Lausanne with a job in nuclear physics.
Marino Zuccheri was appointed as the full-time technician of the Studio immediately after its official constitution, and played a key role in its entire history up to final closure in 1983, when Zuccheri himself retired at the age of 60. By skillfully tuning and controlling the electronic devices of the Studio, he provided a fundamental contribution to the integration between music production and technical means: he was a true “virtuoso” of electronic instruments, and always worked closely with composers, using his expertise to transform their ideas into conscious gestures and gestures into amazing sounds. This interpretational process did not just involve assisting the compositional process (with composers often having no specific preparation in electronic music), it also meant actually playing the tapes during concerts, designing the surroundings they were to be performed in, and acting as sound director for works with voices, instruments and electronics.
Luigi Nono described Zuccheri as a “true musician -technician-theorist-practical-teacher-interpreter-performer of uncommon virtuosity, extremely humane in his desire to understand and participate”. In a way, he invented for himself a new profession for the performance of electronic music, for which he had no predecessors. There was no specialist literature at hand, and no electronic instrument workshop for these kinds of musical applications. All he had before him were the new electronic instruments, and it was these that he then had to adapt to the needs of this new music.