(Rome, 22 Nov 1896 - Rome, 1 July 1973). Italian composer, music organizer and critic. He studied with Respighi and G.F. Malipiero, graduating from the Parma Conservatory in 1921, but in his work on behalf of modern music he came closer to Casella. He actively participated in the affairs of the Corporazione delle Nuove Musiche and the Italian section of the ISCM; and he showed the same zeal as director of the music division of the Direzione Generale dello Spettacolo attached to the Ministry of Popular Culture, as well as later in his post as manager of the Teatro Comunale, Florence (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), 1936–44. He was then artistic director of the Teatro alla Scala, Milan (1947–9), and a director of the music department of Italian radio (1949–58). In 1959 the centre of his activity shifted to Venice, where he helped to organize, among other events, the Venice festivals. In the 1960s he also taught music history at the Università Italiana per Stranieri in Perugia.
Despite his copious activities as a critic, and as a music organizer (documented in his invaluable, partly autobiographical L’usignolo di Boboli), Labroca wrote a fair number of compositions, at least in the earlier part of his career. His style at first followed that of his teacher Malipiero: the Ritmi di marcia and Suite for piano contain unmistakably Malipierian acerbities and luminosities. Malipiero-like, too, is the vivacious First String Quartet, although Labroca’s rhythmic and formal methods are more orthodox, less wayward and improvisatory. During the 1920s Labroca was briefly associated with Massarani and Rieti in a group calling itself I Tre, in imitation of Les Six. Unlike Rieti, however, he never revealed obvious French influences in his music. In the 1930s, rather, he showed signs in some works (e.g. the sunny, ebullient Second String Quartet) of continuing to develop in parallel with Malipiero; while in others, like the rather laboured Sonata for orchestra with piano, he moved closer to Casella. These two influences fuse in the Stabat mater, a restrainedly moving personal statement that is probably Labroca’s most important composition. Among the few works he wrote after 1940, the Tre cantate sulla Passione turn to a more sombre, chromatic manner; a certain sluggishness, particularly in rhythmic invention, confirms that by 1950 Labroca’s creative urge had lost its former compulsiveness.
(selective list)
Dramatic: La principessa di Perepepé (children’s op, B. Bartolazzi), Rome, 1927; Le 3 figliole di Babbo Pallino (children’s op, M. Pompei), Rome, 1928; Lamento dei mariti e delle mogli (canti carnascialeschi, L. Alamanni, A.F. Grazzini), 6 solo vv, small orch, Rome, 1929; 2 ballets, unperf.; incid music; film scores
Orch: Sinfonietta, small orch, 1927; Sonata, orch, pf obbl, 1927–33
Vocal: Stabat mater, S, chorus, orch, 1933; 3 Liriche (G. Vigoli), 1v, pf, 1937; 3 cantate sulla Passione di Cristo, B, chorus, orch, 1950; 8 madrigali di Tomaso Campanella, Bar, orch, 1958
Chbr and solo inst: Suite, pf, 1921; Ritmi di marcia, pf, 1922; Str Qt no.1, 1923; Sonatina, vn, pf, 1923; Suite, va, pf, 1923; Pf Trio, 1925; Str Qt no.2, 1932; Str Qt no.3, 1939, inc.
Principal publishers: Ricordi, Suvini Zerboni, Universal

Parole sulla musica (Milan, 1954)
L’usignolo di Boboli: 50 anni di vita musicale italiana (Venice, 1959)
Other books, many articles etc

G. Rossi-Doria: ‘Giovani musicisti italiani: Labroca, Massarani, Rieti’, Il pianoforte, v (1924), 303–9
A. Casella: ‘Jeunes et indépendants’, ReM, viii/3 (1926–7), 62–70
G. Calandra: ‘Musicisti contemporanei: Mario Labroca’, Augustea [Rome], xvi/3–4 (1940), 20
J.C.G. Waterhouse: The Emergence of Modern Italian Music (up to 1940) (diss., U. of Oxford, 1968), 210, 215–17, 221, 670–76
F. d’Amico: ‘La parte di Gatti e quella di Labroca’, NRMI, vii (1973), 171–5