Aldo Clementi was born in Catania, Italy. He studied the piano, graduating in 1946. His studies in composition began in 1941, and his teachers included Alfredo Sangiorgi [it; fr] and Goffredo Petrassi. After receiving his diploma in 1954, he attended the Darmstadt summer courses from 1955 to 1962. Important influences during this period included meeting Bruno Maderna in 1956, and working at the electronic music studio of the Italian radio broadcaster RAI in Milan.[dead link]
Poesia de Rilke (1946) was the first work of his to be performed (Vienna, 1947). Of more significance was the premiere of Cantata (1954), which was broadcast by North German Radio (Hamburg) in 1956. In 1959 he won second prize in the ISCM competition with Episodi (1958), and in 1963 he took first prize in the same competition, with Sette scene da "Collage" (1961).[dead link]
He taught music theory at the University of Bologna from 1971 to 1992.[dead link]
In 1983 David Fanning described Clementi's style of decelerating canons as "sharing in the widespread post-serial depression of the 1970s", while in 1988 Paul Griffiths referred to the "Alexandrian simplicity of his solution to the current confusion in music. Clementi himself described his works as "an extremely dense counterpoint, relegating the parts to the shameful role of inaudible, cadaverous micro-organisms".
Clementi, Aldo, Maria Rosa De Luca, Salvatore Enrico Failla, and Graziella Seminara. 2005. Per Aldo Clementi: nell'occasione dei suoi ottant'anni, 25 maggio 2005. Catania: Università degli studi di Catania. OCLC122259602
Cresti, Renzo. 1990. Aldo Clementi: studio monografico e intervista. Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni. OCLC28429364
Lux, Simonetta, and Daniela Tortora. 2005. Collage 1961: un'azione dell'arte di Achille Perilli e Aldo Clementi. Luxflux proto type arte contemporanea, Documenti 1. Rome: Gangemi. ISBN88-492-0779-4
Mattietti, Gianluigi. 2001. Geometrie di musica: il periodo diatonico di Aldo Clementi. Lucca: Libreria musicale italiana. ISBN88-7096-294-6
Osmond-Smith, David. 1981. "Aux creux néant musicien: Recent Work by Aldo Clementi". Contact, no. 23:5–9.
Osmond-Smith, David. 2001. "Clementi, Aldo". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
Seminara, Graziella, and Maria Rosa De Luca (eds.). 2008. Canoni, figure, carillons: itinerari della musica di Aldo Clementi: atti dell'incontro di studi, Facoltà di lettere e filosofia, Catania, 30–31 maggio 2005. Milan: Suvini Zerboni. ISBN978-88-900691-5-4.
Zaccagnini, Michele. 2016. "Deus ex Machina: Uncovering Aldo Clementi's System". Perspectives of New Music 54, no. 1 (Winter): 137–78.