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

Sandro Laffranchini

Principal cello of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, passionate about cars, cooking, and nature. Agrees to answer our questions …
Son of a cellist. Your choice to play this instrument seems very natural, but … have you ever wished to play another musical instrument?
Of the cello, as of any other bowed instrument, the fact that it is only partially polyphonic weighs on me. Therefore, I would have liked to play the piano, which I play in an elementary way, in order to at least understand better the harmonies of what I am studying or writing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living under the same roof as your teacher?
From a strictly musical point of view, it is an advantage, because there is continuous control by the Maestro. By the law of retaliation, now that I’m a father, I tend to play a lot of games with my son.

What other cellists have been important in your training and from what points of view?
I have always had two teachers: my father at home and Maria Leali in the conservatory. Without her charge of positivity and confidence, I would have been unable to continue. For this reason, I realize that many of the kids often need to be supported psychologically, as well as being technically directed towards an in-depth and effective study method, for example, the study of the various types of vibrato, phrasing, etc. Returning to me, I then studied for 4 years with Rocco Filippini at Stauffer, and, with him, I had a great time: great culture, great refinement in the solutions of handling of the bow, and fingering that he proposed. With Mario Brunello, I attended courses at Romanini in Brescia for 3 years. His touch and communication in creating empathy for feelings with the public are absolutely unattainable. At the Musik Akademie in Basel, I studied with Thomas Demenga. He has been a wonderful teacher. A kind of hippie of great refinement and artistic caliber. It leaves the students free to express themselves, but also gives very technical / musical advice if asked. I certainly cannot forget the lessons in Venice, at the Fondazione Cini, with Eugenio Bagnoli, a great pianist of the past. He talked to me about how to improve my communication and expressiveness. And finally the chamber music lessons with the Amadeus Quartet, whose summer and winter courses in London I have followed for years.

Which cello do you play and which other cellos have you played during your artistic career?
The cello I currently play is a cello built in the early 1900s, whose characteristic is to have sound projection and ease of sound emission. Before, I used to play a 1730 Carlo Antonio Testore. Sweetness and quality, but we are in an era of Italy where there are no rooms with acoustics that allows these noble characteristics to emerge, if not supported by many dB. If I lived in Germany, Japan, Switzerland, it would be different for that a fantastic instrument, but here, with the dry acoustics of our theater, something that really pushes is needed.

A portfolio of important competitions. But, from your point of view, which were the most significant? Which one did you experience with the most emotion, and which one gave you the greatest satisfaction?
The chamber music and orchestra competitions I have made, and sometimes won, are the result of years and years of truly great sacrifices. I remember that the normal strategies of trying to always do everything better, in the classic triad of sound rhythm intonation, at some point were no longer enough, and I found my alternative strategies to try to differentiate myself from the competition. Some are small secrets, I can talk about others in general. However, a lot of creativity is also needed in the study phase.

[to be continued]