Composer Marco Di Stefano – ‘Why I love Garritan CFX Grand’

Composer Marco Di Stefano – ‘Why I love Garritan CFX Grand’

We love to hear how much you’re enjoying using your new plug-ins! And one recent review that stood out to us was from Italian composer Marco Di Stefano. Marco is an eclectic Italian composer who has been living in Brussels since 2008. His composition portfolio ranges from electronic to classical and modern to contemporary compositions.

Marco was full of praise for Garritan’s CFX Concert Grand plugin on the VI-Control forum recently, stating:

“I decided to buy Garritan CFX Grand and I am amazed and super satisfied with the level of realism that it expresses!”

So we thought we’d get in touch with Marco to find out how the love story between CFX Grand and Marco began…

What is your musical background?

I started to create music back in the 90s using a pretty primitive piece of midi software. Music and IT have, since then, sculptured my life.

Nowadays my time is split between being an IT freelancer and a composer. My musical studies kicked-off with guitar and piano lessons. From very early on I started to write my own music and focus more on composition and orchestration techniques. Since then I have had the pleasure of studying with three respectful composers: Giovanni D’Aquila (Palermo), Adriano Guarnieri (Bologna) and Luc Brewaeys (Brussels).

Together we explored both classical and contemporary approaches to composition. My composing style can be described as a mix of both paradigms with a continuous reminiscence of my early classical influences from composers like Chopin and Debussy. The top three composers I draw inspiration from are Ennio Morricone, Goffredo Petrassi and Igor Stravinsky.

How did you discover Garritan CFX Grand?

The piano is a critical component in my composition workflow. So when I recently decided to move to digital recording my primary objective was to achieve a realistic result.

I knew my two primary requirements were: playability and realism, and I knew I would not accept any compromise. I listened to hours of piano library demos and watched a lot of walkthroughs and comparison videos before making my decision. Then I came across Garritan CFX Grand, and I suddenly realised the research was over: it was the right one.

What do you particularly love about the software?

Often you find piano libraries that are very playable, but not realistic or vice versa. But this library is different; somehow it makes you forget you are not playing a real instrument.

What I love more is its realistic sound and versatility; it’s effortless to change mic sets using the different perspectives and to adapt the sound to the mood of the song. Another great feature I love is the half-pedalling feature; being a pianist, I could not live without it.

How long did it take you to get the hang of everything?

I was happy with the results since my first track, but clearly, recordings are getting better, song after song.
The learning curve wasn’t very steep due to the simplicity of the user interface and my previous knowledge of sound engineering also came in handy. I am sure to have found in Garritan CFX Grand a long-term partner.

Are there any tips or tricks you’d give to other CFX Grand users?

Use the different perspectives and light patches. I used to have a recording template with a light player perspective to achieve very low latency and a player experience; then I would transfer my midi recording into another template where I would have a full patch and all the necessary effects.

I recommend having the library on a dedicated HDD or SSD. I initially had my samples in the same SSD as Windows and moving them to a dedicated SSD has drastically improved the library’s performance.Garritan

If Garritan made a follow-up/update to CFX Grand what would you want to see added?

The possibility to detune a single note would be a nice feature. However, I’m not sure about its feasibility with a fully recorded piano library. I cannot think of anything more to add to the samples or the piano itself; maybe updates could focus on the engine.

What would you say to anyone considering whether or not to buy CFX Grand?

If you are looking for a piano which sounds amazingly realistic, that will let you immerse in the sound and drive your inspiration then this is the library you need!