Roberto’s early performances in a wholly extemporized style belong to the days of his debut concert, at the age of thirteen, at the Teatro Ciak in Milan, his home-town; and to his first professional studio recordings, at the age of sixteen, improvising for the soundtrack “Le corderie dell’immaginario” – shown at the Venice Film Festival (Biennale).
In the late 80s, still during the years of his classical music training, Roberto recorded two avant-garde jazz albums for the pianist Gaetano Liguori and toured all over Italy with him, receiving public and critical acclaim.
In 1990, Roberto relocated from his birthplace in Milan to London after he was offered a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. This presented many musical opportunities for Roberto, including forming his own band. In addition to his group, Roberto worked on various projects at this time, collaborating with artists in the studio including the avant-garde synth-pop group Art of Noise.
Between 1992 and 1994 Roberto collaborated in the studio and on the concert platform with guitarist and songwriter Rory Gallagher.
During the mid-nineties, the idea of creating a whole improvised chamber suite led to the recordings of the five part Phoenician Dream suite featuring Jonathan Gee on synthesizer and Rhodes piano, Pete Lockett on percussion and Davide Mantovani on bass. The Phoenician Dream album also contains the (1994) wholly free-improvised session recordings with Rory and Pete.
Roberto’s Fihavanana album featuring Toty on Bass, Silo Lovasoa on synthesizer and Rhodes piano and Nini Vahiniri on drums was recorded in 2001. At times introspective and personal, the album takes off with a series of electric jazz compositions written and arranged by Roberto during a year spent in Madagascar (2000). The Fihavanana album also contains few important tracks from earlier sessions.
Most recent live work has included Polaris, a project co-founded with the bass player Davide Mantovani, and N-harmonix, a collaboration with the pianist Mario Mariani. Both projects shared a common ground in the interplay between improvisation and composing ‘in real time’, and typify the constant search for new means of expression that remains central to the thinking of Roberto Manes.
Media work includes solo violin for:
- Oliver Parker’s “Dorian Gray”,
- Angelina Jolie’s “In the Land of Blood and Honey”,
- the BBC drama documentary “The Last Days of Lehman Brothers”,
- Channel Five documentary “Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour“,
- BBC series “Jonathan Creek“.