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 ⇒]