On March 5, 1778, the cellist and composer Giovanni Battista Costanzi (Giovannino del violoncello) died in Rome. MyCello remembers him proposing a music video and the score of his Cello Sonata in C.
On September 28th, the XIV Edition of the Festival Violoncellistico Internazionale Alfredo Piatti was presented. The Festival, as usual, will take place on Sundays in November, in Bergamo, in Sala Piatti.
Thanks to the very high level of performers and the refinement of the proposed programs, the Festival is now considered a point of reference by cellists from all over the world. Alfredo Piatti, in fact, despite being a composer not particularly well known even to those who habitually attend concerts, is an undisputed ideal reference point for cellists, as is Paganini for violinists.
His 12 Capricci op.25 are universally considered the final stage in the course of studies, not only for their extreme technical difficulty but also for the genius of the composition invention. In addition to Capricci, Piatti also composed 2 Concerts and a Concertino for cello and orchestra, 6 Sonatas, fascinating variations on opera themes, delightful short pieces for cello and piano and also a vast series of compositions for voice, cello and piano, on texts in Italian, English, French and German. All compositions of which, over the years, thanks to the Festival, cellists and the public have discovered beauty.
Participating in the Festival and performing in public, in some cases for the first time, the compositions by Alfredo Piatti, for younger performers, is a very sought-after goal, because it often paves the way for a prestigious international career. But even for the great performers, participating in the Festival is a moment of great satisfaction, because the perfect acoustics of the Sala Piatti offers them the opportunity to express their artistic personality to the fullest.
The performance of Alfredo Piatti’s compositions almost always requires the performer to have a great mastery of the instrument, but also great artistic maturity. For this reason, the interpreters called on the Sala Piatti stage must always be of the highest level, not only technical.
The performers selected for the 2019 Edition by the artistic director of the Festival, cellist Andrea Bergamelli, will be Adrian Bradbury e Oliver Davies (3/11), Mr & Mrs Cello (10/11), Giovanni Sollima (17/11), Luciano Tarantino (24/11).
The detailed programs of the individual concerts were presented during the press conference followed by a short concert with free admission by the young cellist Eleonora Testa, accompanied on the piano by Eugenia Tamburri. All cellists participating in the Festival have been asked, as always, to include at least one of Alfredo Piatti’s compositions in the program, possibly combining them with cello compositions belonging to the lesser-known repertoire, of authors from all over the world and from every era.
The starting time of the concerts was confirmed, as in the previous edition, at 4.15 pm, because it was verified that this time slot, in addition to favoring the participation in concerts of elderly and families with children, is particularly appreciated by foreigners who take the occasion of the concert to spend a weekend in Bergamo.
The price of the admission ticket to the concerts was also maintained this year at € 10 (subscription to the 5 concerts: € 40 – subscription to the 5 concerts for adult + boy under 21 years: € 50).
To book tickets, send an email to email@example.com
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]
From the organizational point of view, the journey is the responsibility of the cellist. Board and lodging are provided by the “100Cellos” team. In the last reunions we tried the wonderful formula of being hosted by families of the city where the reunion is held. in exchange for hospitality we offer to the family to watch our show. Only minors, accompanied by their families, must organize themselves independently in finding accommodation.
How was the Macerata experience? (from the human and musical point of view)
To play with a sacred cello monster like Giovanni Sollima, believe me, it’s a fortune that doesn’t happen every day. His great humanity and his performances always keep us speechless. The ideas of Enrico Melozzi, then, are always crazy and unconventional and this is precisely what makes our shows magical. When someone asks me what I find so beautiful in these reunions, I always reply that I feel indescribable happiness, because I feel enveloped by a glass bell in which only music and friendship flutter.
The experience of Macerata was the confirmation of what I support: the union of people of a human depth that goes beyond any imagination, not only of the musicians but also of the families that welcomed us. My daughters and I, for example, have had the honor of being hosted by wonderful people, who have made us enter their home as if we were always family. And it only thanks to music, which I think is the only instrument that can currently generate intercultural dialogue. Suffice it to say that on the stage of the Sferisterio a fourteen-year-old Iranian singer performed with us, who cannot make her wonderful public voice in her country, and a group of asylum seekers who accompanied us with percussion in the Hymn to Joy of Beethoven. The exhibition with the PFM was fantastic: playing with a so important band it is not an everyday thing, especially for the rhythmic difficulties involved in their pieces.
At each meeting, we usually create small flashmobs in the squares of welcoming cities. That of Macerata, in my opinion, was the most sparkling: we played in the market stalls, temporarily blocking traffic and receiving fervent invectives from a policewoman asking us who authorized us to play there. the funniest thing was that the mayor of the city and the organizer of the Macerata Opera Festival were present, so she left with her tail between her legs while we continued unperturbed playing Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.
When and where will the next meeting take place? Will you go there?
A meeting closes today in Tokyo, but only a small delegation of Italian cellists participated. All others were selected directly in Japan.
In Italy, the next meeting will be held in Pavia on 4 February. I can not wait to go there. I have already asked my colleagues if they will cover my class (I am a primary school teacher) and they, like every time, have given me their approval with great enthusiasm. They are my biggest supporters! Now I only hope in the manager’s ok.
Thank you for your availability and … see you soon in Pavia!
Dear Maestro Gaetano Simone, good morning and thank you for your attention to our website. We thank you for the answers to our questions regarding the “Loiacono Prize”.
Do you want to remind us of the figure of Saverio Loiacono, to whom the competition is dedicated?
Firstly, thanks to mycello.it for giving space to our initiative.
I met M ° Saverio Loiacono, an austere but also loving man, when I was 11 years old and it was he who introduced me to the cello and gave me my first lessons in the music academy of my town, Polignano, where I had been studying piano for some years. He had just returned from South America after emigrating about 30 years before and having worked in Peru, Uruguay and Argentina in the most prestigious orchestras, including that of the Teatro Colòn in Buenos Aires. He was an extraordinary teacher, with an immense musical and life experience and it was thanks to his interminable lessons and to his being very demanding that some time after our first meeting, little more than an adolescent, I decided to start a musical career as a cellist. He was an extremely generous person, a father to all those who had the privilege of studying and working with him. You can also imagine lessons of 8 hours held at his house: what patience and perseverance he had!. Obviously during such long lessons there was also the time to tell anecdotes and experiences, like having played the tango with Astor Piazzolla and his violinist Antonio Agri, having attended a master class in Buenos Aires with Pierre Fournier who to verify the the bow’s tip, would give a sharp blow at the upward like a snap (ah, how teachers used to be!), or that an evening, before going onstage with some Colòn colleagues, he heard someone playing open strings in a dressing room and thinking it was a student entered the room without knocking finding the legendary Pau Casals who, with his famous pipe, was reconnecting with his Goffriller before performing the Schumann Concert. “Play open strings for all your life!.” He admonished them.
You see, now these stories may seem anachronistic or fictional, and I will never know if they were also partly an invention to encourage me to study the open strings, but imagine what effect they could do on a young provincial novice in a time when there was no internet and you could only rely on your imagination … and your teacher!
What are the reasons that led the Loiacono family to award this prize?
The Maestro died in April 2005 and I cradled the idea of organizing something in his memory for a long time, given the enormous gratitude I feel towards him. At the beginning of 2018 I personally took courage and contacted the part of the family who lives here in Puglia. They were immediately enthusiastic about the idea. Obviously then fate has put a hand on it, because alone I could not even remotely think of putting up anything: in the same period I discovered the cultural association Con-Fusion and especially its founder and illuminated director, Adriana L ‘ Abbate. The association aims to enhance the culture on the territory, with all the difficulties that this presents but also with the human resources it offers. Adriana and I immediately started working together with a first mini-cello festival, dedicated to the Maestro. We organized a first two-day event with young and very young cellists at their very first public experiences, in a country that has a deep thirst for culture and sharing. The Loiacono family has supported the initiative of a scholarship that, as the first time, has been equally distributed among the boys who have performed putting themselves at stake.
The atmosphere, those days, was dominated by emotion, disbelief for doing something new and exciting and the desire to meet again in order to work on the 2019 edition. [to be continued ⇒]
The musical instruments we know are made of very different materials: wood, metal, carbon and so on. In its evolution technology has allowed new ways to express/produce sounds. So the future can offer exciting new perspectives. And a very fascinating one is already present in our days: musical instruments made of ice.
American sculptor-luthier Tim Linhart has developed a truly unique project: to build musical instruments, among which a cello, out of ice. At the beginning he limited this experience to the manufacture of simple instruments like the drum, and then he went so far as to manufacture an organ with its reeds. Linhart’s final goal is, however, an entire ice orchestra. The artist himself guarantees that ice “has a very nice sound”. But what led the artist originally from Kansas, to New Mexico and then to the Presena glacier in Trentino, Italy?
In collaboration with Val di Sole APT and Trentino Marketing a new, itinerant project was born that brought all over Italy Linhart’s creation, an ice cello, which is played by the Sicilian Giovanni Sollima. This project is called N-ice-ello. It consists in a series of concerts meant to represent the journey of those who, following what was necessary for their survival, including water, migrated to the northern countries.
What thoughts, what ethics behind this project that is the result of the encounter of a natural element like ice with sound and music? First of all, in addition to the already mentioned itinerant element that reminds us of the current migrations of peoples, the project aims at sensitizing people to the study of the environmental conditioning to their existence but also to issues of pollution, ecological choices and the defense of nature on earth.
After starting from the Muse of Trento on 29th January, N-ice-ello brought concerts from the North of Italy to the South with stops in Venice, Rome, Palermo, keeping the ice cello in cold storage, to be dissolved, fragile material, in the Mediterranean waters once it reached them.
The story of this event / tour now is now proposed through a documentary written and directed by Corrado Bungaro: this documentary has collected the impressions and testimonies of those who participated in the event in its progress throughout the Italian peninsula.