HAPPENED TODAY - On December 6, 1953, the composer Andrew Violette was born in New York

Francesco Dillon (3)

Quartetto Prometeo: what can you tell us about this project?
It is a fundamental part of my activity and my being a musician. I helped found the quartet in 1993 (it really makes an impression to write this date so far away!) So I literally grew up with and together with this formation, making music together in a widespread and in-depth way. Beyond the numerous satisfactions, tours, concerts, published records and awards obtained by the quartet, what is most dear to me is precisely what I have learned and still learn, in “dissolving” my individual part, my sound, in an agreement, in a multi-voice musical discourse. It is a different perspective of making music, which must include, at the same time, an active presence/participation and a real “listening” at the very moment you play. A lesson that inevitably deeply influences my way of making music.

Ensemble Alter Ego: another important collaboration.
The Alter Ego experience also began many years ago – again in the 90s, when Salvatore Sciarrino, my master of composition in those years, asked me to replace their cellist for his Trio n.2 in a concert scheduled a few days later. This “dive”, a little improvised, proved to be a splendid experience destined to continue for many years and to evolve into a contemporary chamber music activity of great liveliness and variety. The quintet has had a trajectory and a freshness of approach that had often anticipated the times and trends (in the varied repertoire, in the freedom to combine chamber music with electronic language …) opening over the years to an enormous variety of aesthetics and often breaking that somewhat “ideologized” and very institutional rigidity that characterized the music scene still in the last years of the twentieth century. The only compass was to try and play music we believed in and that we felt significant and artistically original and strong.

His biography shows a great interest in contemporary music: why this choice? Which composers did you collaborate with?
I have always felt strongly the “ethical” theme of making new music – of carrying on the creative process in our time, of reacting to an education and an institutional system often focused on the music of the past. But it was a choice only partially: in addition to the rational decision that I have described (and which I would not hesitate to also define “political” and “progressive”) in fact, I have always felt absolutely natural and I would say any music necessary – from the most radical to the more traditional, from the repertoire of tradition to what did not yet exist. Naturally, Sciarrino and my classmates during our studies were the first composers with whom I collaborated closely. Later, I have always chosen, with a large breadth of views, the pages that somehow rang in me. There are too many names to mention: Fedele, Filidei, Francesconi, Gervasoni, Romitelli, Scodanibbio and among the foreigners Bauckholt, Glass, Harvey, Hosokawa, Lachenmann, Lucier, Part, Reich, Saariaho to name only the most famous. The complete list would be truly endless… and in any case to be updated with new names almost every month!

When you collaborated with Stefano Gervasoni (from Bergamo, like MyCello): do you tell us about this partnership?
I have known Gervasoni’s music since the early 90’s when, with Alter Ego, we regularly played his chamber works: one of our workhorses was the splendid “Two French Opera by Ungaretti“, for soprano and quintet. We soon became friends and the collaboration continued over the years, until the desire to create a cello concert for me. In 2014 this mutual dream came true and in the best possible conditions and context. The first performance, at the Teatro alla Scala with the Philharmonic conducted by Suasanna Mälkki, of his wonderful “Heur, Leurre, Lueur”, a piece of great imagination and really surprising colors that I hope to resume at the most prest.

[to be continued]