David Zard, a pioneering concert promoter who was the first to bring some of the biggest names in rock music to Italy, has died aged 75.
Born in Tripoli, Zard (pictured) emigrated to Italy in 1967, fleeing persecution of Libya’s Jewish minority after the Six-Day War, and over the next five decades established himself as one of the country’s leading promoters, organising stadium tours by Cat Stevens, Elton John, Tina Turner, Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, the Rolling Stones, Genesis, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Michael Jackson and more.
He was also a record producer, a longtime ILMC member and a booking agent, to Italian singer-songwriter Gianna Nannini, among others. In recent years Zard and his company, Saludo Italia, focused on stage shows, most recently producing the 2013 musical Romeo e Giulietta – Ama e cambia il mondo (Romeo and Juliet – Love and Change the World).
Vincenzo Spera, president of Italian promoters’ association Assomusica says he was left “speechless” by news of Zard’s passing on 27 January (also Holocaust memorial day). “Your voice, your teachings and your passion will never abandon us,” says Spera. “You will be greatly missed.”
“DAVID ZARD HAS DONE MUCH FOR ITALIAN MUSIC – MUCH MORE THAN ONE IMAGINES”
Writing for la Repubblica, Italian music journalist Erneso Assante describes Zard as a “visionary” who foresaw a modern concert industry worthy of the term “industry. But he was also a huge fan of music: he knew artists, genres, trends… nothing escaped his radar.”
He was, continues Assante, “gruff and sympathetic, affectionate and sharp, difficult and soft, an eagle and dove. A wonderful heap of contradictions, from which emerged his personality, his strong beliefs, his love for music. Yes, David Zard has done much for Italian music – much more than one imagines. And it will, rightly, be remembered for it.”
Barley Arts founder Claudio Trotta says Zard was a “visionary, proud, brave man” with “charisma, a personality and a unique character”. Trotta also praises his work in fighting against ticket resale, saying Zard was “one of my colleagues who spoke against the phenomenon of secondary ticketing, highlighting the abuse by some well-known multinationals”, and his recognition of the “undisputed talent” of Italian singer Angelo Branduardi, whose success opened the door other for Italian artists in Europe.
Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish Community of Rome, praises Zard’s contribution to the “history of music and entertainment in Italy. He brought prestige to the Jewish community, who now mourn their loss.”
Zard is survived by his wife, Patrizia Tomasich, and their son, Clemente, who now leads Warner Music Italy’s live operation, Vivo Concerti.
(This article was published in IQ Magazine on 29 January, 2018. Click here to read.)