Born in Palermo, Italy, in 1979, grandson of a pianist, Francesco started playing piano aged 7, with Antonella Pratelli, then, since 1988, continued studying under Livio Bolone, nephew of Giuseppe Dispenza Zaccaria (author of the most important treatise on Sicilian organs) and Piano Professor at "Vincenzo Bellini" State Music Conservatory", which Francesco entered in 1992. That year, he also first played the organ at the RC Church of Bretoncelles, Normandy, France: henceforward, yearly family trips in Paris offered him the opportunity of accomplishing further harpsichord studies.

Ho iniziato lo studio del pianoforte all'età di 7 anni e mezzo, con Antonella Pratelli. All'età di 9 anni sono divenuto allievo del Prof. Livio Bolone, docente. Il maestro, allora, non accettava bambini: ma per me fece un'eccezione. Dopo qualche anno, mi propose di sostenere l'esame d'ammissione per l'ingresso in Conservatorio, avvenuto nel 1992. A differenza di altri docenti, il maestro (docente di pianoforte principale), non suggeriva l'ingresso in Conservatorio che ai più dotati. Allora, infatti, vigeva ancora il vecchio ordinamento, che, eccezion fatta per gli allievi della scuola media interna al suddetto, comportava una pesantissima doppia scolarità fra scuole ed accademia (forse non è superfluo aggiungere che qualcuno arrivava adddirittura a suggerire il ritiro dagli studi "ordinari")

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Livio Bolone, "pianist, musicologist, literatus" (quote by violinist Aldo Mausner), pupil of Vincenzo Mannino (author of the most famous Italian book of scales), and Nikita Magaloff, "belonged not to the category of pianists who use the literature to serve themselves, rather to the one of those who use themselves to serve the literature" (famous distinction by Piero Rattalino, in his "Da Clementi a Pollini" book): his large repetory included rarely performed works (like all Haydn's Sonatas), modern authors of the 20th century (Lancen, Ribicki, Szimanowski), and chamber music, played in various formations.

First of all, however, he was naturally gifted pianist, who played the entire collection of Fryderyck Chopin's Studies (Artur Rubinstein himself has declared not to have sufficient technique to execute them all!) a wise and respected piano professor (in contact with the very few Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli's pupils even), and, finally, an insatiable scholar, whose methods combined the traditional Italian ones with many others (especially Americans) of the various piano schools: in Italy, he contributed to propagate Heinrich Neuhaus' (Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels' master) principles, which, together with György Sándor's (pupil of Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, author of the famous "On piano playing" book), had the greatest influence on his pupil's tecnique.