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HAPPENED TODAY - On November 12, 1944, the conductor and composer Edgar Stillman Kelley died in Oxford (Ohio)

Arianna Trusgnach


I meet Arianna Trusgnach while she returns from Macerata, where she was one of the “100Cellos” of the concert at the Sferisterio. I take this opportunity to ask you a few questions.
When did you start playing the cello and why the cello?
I started playing it when I was fourteen. Then I was studying piano and the director of the music school I was attending told me that they were going to set up a new cello course. Since they didn’t find any students, he proposed to me to do it because he knew I loved music a lot. I told him I could not ask my parents to pay me double fees and buy me another musical instrument. Then he reassured me by saying that they would give me one on loan for use and that I would only pay only the piano course. Then I said yes instinctively. When I embraced the cello for the first time it was love at first sight. I cannot describe how I would like the sensations that this instrument transferred to me, but I decided that this was to be “my instrument”. I continued the study of the piano and the cello together for another three years, then I gave the complementary piano exam as a private student at the Tomadini Conservatorio in Udine and decided to continue my musical studies only with the cello. The problem was that in September I found myself without a teacher. He had moved elsewhere and where I live, in Friuli, on the border with Slovenia, it is difficult to find someone to come and teach you because my village is a bit out of the world. So I had to give my cello back to the school and I never had a chance to play it again. I had always promised myself, though, that sooner or later I would buy one cello and start studying it again. So it was. After twenty years I bought a cello and now I study it with a great passion for six years, together with my two daughters Agnese and Cecilia. I started playing it when I was fourteen. At the time I was studying piano and the director of the music school I was attending told me that they were going to set up a new cello course. Since they didn’t find any students, he proposed to me to do it because he knew I loved music a lot. I told him I could not ask my parents to pay me double fees and buy me another musical instrument. Then he reassured me by saying that they would give me one on loan for use and that I would only pay only the piano course. Then I said yes instinctively. When I embraced the cello for the first time it was love at first sight. I cannot describe how I would like the sensations that this instrument transferred to me, but I decided that this was to be “my instrument”. I continued the study of the piano and the cello together for another three years, then I gave the complementary piano exam as a private student at the Tomadini Conservatorio in Udine and decided to continue my musical studies only with the cello. The problem was that in September I found myself without a teacher. He had moved elsewhere and where I live, in Friuli, on the border with Slovenia, it is difficult to find someone to come and teach you because my village is a bit out of the world. So I had to give my cello back to the school and I never had a chance to play it again. I had always promised myself, though, that sooner or later I would buy one cello and start studying it again. So it was. After twenty years I bought a cello and now I study it with a great passion for six years, together with my two daughters Agnese and Cecilia.

How did you hear about the existence of “100Cellos” and when, for the first time, you were one of them?
My cello teacher, Mariano Bulligan, had often spoken to me about the “100Cellos”. He had participated with them in the meetings of Rome, Milan, Budapest, and Turin. It intrigued me and I signed up for their Facebook page. One day I read that there would be a reunion in Vicenza on a famous TV show. The message invited all those who could play the cello, from beginners to professionals, to join this wonderful project. I asked my daughter Agnese what she thought of it and she told me to try it. So I sent the candidacy of both and we were taken. I did not believe it! A dream of my life was coming true. Thus we participated in Italia’s got Talent with a single song: The Best Rock Riffes vol.1, an excursus of rock from the nineteenth century to the present that Enrico Melozzi arranged for the occasion. They moved from Smoke on the water to the famous Pulp Fiction riff to Mussorgski, and then play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and end up with Queen’s flamenco solo by Innuendo. This track then became one of the “100Cellos” flagships. I still remember the panic when the part arrived: only two days before the recording of the episode! I began to study it like a madwoman and the day before we received the message: “Guys, you have to learn it by heart because on stage we are not there with lecterns. Too little space. We will also have to stand up! ”. I studied twelve hours without any interruption and our performance was a huge success, so much so that there was an unforgettable standing ovation.

Which meetings of the “100Cellos” did you attend and which was the most beautiful for you?
After the meeting in Vicenza, my daughter Agnese and I participated in the one in Ravenna, a “seven days” of full immersion in the cello world at the Ravenna Festival of Muti, where we could get to know and listen to the great cello elf Rushad Eggleston, to that of Rome, in which we played at the Circus Maximus in front of forty thousand people during the 2017 New Year countdown, at Lucca Classica Music, at the Como Città della Musica Festival, where we were also directed by Maestro Beppe Vessicchio, in Teramo , in the city of our master Enrico Melozzi, and in L’Aquila, for the inauguration of Il jazz per le terre del sisma, an event directed by the great Paolo Fresu. At the meetings in these two cities, for the first time, my youngest daughter also participated whose dream had always been to wear the “100Cellos” t-shirt (I’ll tell you a secret: she started playing the cello just for this reason !).
Only a week later I was already trying in the magical Spasimo of Palermo, the city of our other great master Giovanni Sollima, and then playing with all my “100Cellos” companions at the Teatro Verdura. The last meeting we attended was at the Macerata Opera Festival, inside the wonderful Sferisterio. Here we even had the honor of playing with the PFM!
The most beautiful meeting? In reality, something magical happens every time, but if I really have to choose, give me the possibility of a double option: Como, because I met fantastic people with whom an indelible bond was created and why I had the loveliest cellist of the world as a music stand companion, and Macerata, where we had the honor of playing in a wonderful place, the Sferisterio, in front of a very warm audience. Here everything was fantastic, even the convivial moments, that we always lived together: we had so much fun that even now, thinking about it, my smile comes on.

But are the “100Cellos” really 100? And who are they?
The “100Cellos” are, above all, Giovanni Sollima and Enrico Melozzi, the creators of this incredible visionary project born during the occupation of the Teatro Valle in Rome in 2012. Finding themselves together, a dozen cellists said: “Why not create an orchestra of 100 cellos?” The enterprise seemed titanic and impossible. Instead, the answer went beyond all expectations. The “100Cellos”, in fact, are sometimes even more than 100 and it is hard to accept all the applications. They are professional cellists, conservatory students and music schools, amateurs, all normally aged between 8 and 70 and who have a great passion for this wonderful instrument. They come from all over Italy and the world (Japan, USA, Turkey, Germany, Holland, Slovenia, Spain, etc.). It is a group in progress: the components change with each reunion. Some of them, about twenty people, constantly shows up at each appointment. These are great cellists, many of them students of Giovanni Sollima. They are the backbone of the whole group and always teach their “tricks” to those in need with great humility and availability.
Who are the “100Cellos”? One hundred friends united by the love for music and the desire to let the public know the versatility of their instrument outside of any pure academicism.

How are the meetings organized? (Is there a selection of participants?) If yes, who does it? Who prepares the arrangements? What criteria are the parts assigned to the various cellists? How many tests do you make? Who takes care of the logistics?
The “100Cellos” are a social group so, if you want to participate in a reunion, you need to always keep an eye on their Facebook page. A few months before, in fact, the city where the next concert will be held is announced and cellists are invited to register in the format on the site. The following are required: level of knowledge of the instrument, a brief description of one’s own cello history, her own magic move on the cello, a photo with your instrument, in which section you would like to play and which reunion you attended. Generally, the parts are conferred based on the requests made by the cellists. Sometimes it happens to be assigned to a different section, but the important thing is to be flexible and also accept this challenge because in this group the soloists, the union and the team spirit are not so important.

The arrangements are always prepared by Giovanni Sollima and Enrico Melozzi, our masters. We also performed pieces arranged by other historical members of the group, such as Andrea Cavuoto and Andres Lopez.
The reunions normally last three days, of which two are dedicated to indefinite trials (we play also until midnight/midnight and a half) and the last is for resting and the evening concert. Small concerts are also organized in particular places of the location of the day, where anyone can perform and show the public the fruit of their own hard study. This is also done in the “concertone” opening. While people take their seats in the theater, they have the pleasant surprise of listening to some performances by both professionals and children. There are also “Concerti fiume”, of which we know the time when they start but not when they end. The “night in cloister” composition competitions are very effective, where composers are locked up in the theater all night to express their musical inspiration. The parts must be found on the “100Cellos” music stand for 10 a.m. The “100Cellos” have a minute or so of time to do a little test of each song and then play it in front of a jury made up of great musicians. [to be continued]