Berio and Maderna founded together the Studio di Fonologia Musicale (1955) where Mutazioni, Perspectives and Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) as well as Différences were composed. They also established a journal, Incontri musicali (1956–1960) a title which they also gave to a concert series, with Boulez, Scherchen, Maderna among the conductors. (“We had many enemies. I remember on one occasion, when Boulez was conducting, it came to a scuffle so that the police had to intervene”).
Next to Ghedini and Maderna, Berio also learned a great deal from Pousseur whom he had met in Darmstadt in 1954. “If I look back at those years – he was to say – I feel gratitude to three people: Ghedini, Maderna and Pousseur. After all, I was still the young man from Oneglia and I needed their help to understand many things about music”.
Over the years and decades, Luciano Berio grew to become a towering figure in international musical life. Similarly to a handful of other composers, all born in the 1920’s (including Boulez and Nono), whatever he produced became a milestone in the history of music – whether works for solo instruments and solo voice (the Sequenza-series), pieces for chamber ensemble (including the Chemins based on some of the Sequenze), orchestra (Sinfonia – with eight voices added to the ensemble - is to this day a representative composition of the 1960’s),chorus and orchestra (Coro being an emblematic treatment of folk music within the framework of a contemporary composition), voice and orchestra (such as Epiphanies), solo voice, chorus and orchestra (Berio’s farewell to composition: Stanze for baritone, male chorus and orchestra) and all his music theatre pieces (Passaggio, La vera storia, Un re in ascolto, Laborintus II…).
He never lost his awareness of and interest in his predecessors – hence his reconstruction of an unfinished Schubert symphony in Rendering, his arrangements and instrumentations of Purcell, Boccherini, de Falla, Verdi, Mahler, Puccini, Weill. Neither did he close his ears to music outside the sphere of the concert hall and theatre: he was an admirer of the Beatles and arranged some of their hits. He also orchestrated a bunch of folksongs under the eponymous title Folk Songs which has in its turn also become a hit.
Luciano Berio was conscious of his responsibilities as a member of society. He said he could not understand composers who deluded themselves to be a mouthpiece of the universe or mankind. As he put it: “In my view it is enough if we endeavour to become responsible children of society”.