Born in Galatone, Southern Italy, Francesco Libetta studied music in Italy (piano with Vittoria De Donno; contrapoint with Cosimo Colazzo and Igino Ettorre; composition with Gino Marinuzzi; conducting with Alberto Maria Giuri) and in France (composition with Jacques Castérède). He moved to Lecce, where he has taught Chamber Music at the "T. Schipa" Conservatory.
Described as a "poet-aristocrat of the keyboard with the profile and the carriage of a Renaissance prince" (M. Gurewitsch, New York Times), he first came to the attention of piano cognoscenti after his live performance of 53 Studies by Godowsky based on the 27 Studies by Chopin. Performances included: 1990 in Galatina; then 1994/95 in Milan; Naples, Florence; 2006 in Milan; 2010 one day in Brasília. Libetta's repertoire now encompasses a very wide range, including all of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas (performed first in Italy, 1993/94), several Mozart and Beethoven concertos, the complete Handel and Chopin works, as well as major works by Schubert, Schumann, Debussy, and Ravel.
He is active as a conductor (in symphonic repertoire, as well as collaborating with the Balletto del Sud in major Tchaikovsky ballets). He is also a composer. His works include three piano concertos, symphonic pieces, electronic music, and ballet and movie scores. His writings include historical and aesthetic essays.
In 2009, his first opera was premiered. Ottocento ("Eight Hundred", about 800 victims of religious war in South Italy in 1480) was performed in Otranto and Rome. John Ardoin declared that among the new generation of pianists, Francesco Libetta is "the most inspired and creative".
One of his DVDs, with the recording of a recital held at the Festival de La Roque d'Anthéron (France), created by Bruno Monsaingeon, was awarded the Diapason d'Or and the CHOC de Le Monde de la Musique.
Critics have praised his qualities: ". . .elegance and charm, (...), with a hint, a touch of aristocratic frivolity that we did not think we would ever witness again." (F. M. Colombo - Corriere della Sera); ". . . a breadth of knowledge that extends far beyond the world of music and the piano repertoire." (A. Mandelli - PianoTime); ". . . such miraculous virtuosity and such a delicate feel for melody that one cannot help wondering whether any other artist of his generation - whether in Italy or elsewhere - can be compared to him." (P. Isotta - Corriere della Sera).
He was Artistic Director of the Miami Piano Festival in Lecce (a summer festival which brings to Lecce musicians, professors and students from all over the world since July 2003) and of the Michelangeli Festival in Rabbi. He has published essays on history and aesthetics, including music by Renaissance composers, reconstructions of Madrigals, cultural life in the late eighteenth century.