Lanza studied composition and piano at the Conservatorio B. Marcello and musicology at Università Ca' Foscari in Venice. He also attended the Cursus Annuel de Composition et Informatique Musicale at IRCAM in 1998–99.
Among his many honors are First prizes in the Valentino Bucchi in Rome (1996, for Gli occhi urgenti di barbugno) and Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa in Potenza (1998, for Barocco) competitions. In addition, he was among the finalists in a competition for the realization of an opera project at the Aix-en-Provence Festival (1999) and in the Klangfiguren Projekt in Frankfurt am Main (2000). He later served residencies at Le Fresnoy in Tourcoing (2005–06, with the video artist Paolo Pachini), the Fondazione Civitella Ranieri (2006) and the Académie de France à Rome (2007–08). He has received commissions from the chorus Accentus/IRCAM, the radio programme Alla Breve, the festival Archipel/IRCAM, the Biennale di Venezia, the Cité de la Musique/Jeune Chœur de Paris, the Europäischer Musikmonat in Basel, the government of France/Court-circuit, the Opéra de Paris/IRCAM, and the REC Festival in Reggio nell'Emilia. His music has been performed in Canada, France, The Netherlands, and Switzerland, including portrait concerts at IRCAM (2002) and the Archipel festival in Geneva (2004).
He has worked as a research composer and teacher at IRCAM since 1999 and has taught computer-assisted composition at the Conservatorio di Cuneo since 2004. He also taught composition as a guest professor at McGill University in Montréal in 2004–05.