HAPPENED TODAY - On July 23, 1933, the cellist and composer compositore Louis Abbiate died in Vence

A few days from the anniversary of the birth of Boccherini, in Lucca, I meet the Secretary-General of Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini and I take this opportunity for a brief interview.
When was the Study Center born? Who had the idea and how did he manage to turn his idea into reality?
The Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini was founded in November 2005 with the aim of first curating the editorial work of the Opera Omnia of Luigi Boccherini. The choice of the city is not casual: Boccherini was born in Lucca, so the Tuscan city was the ideal place to launch the Edizione Nazionale Italiana of his complete works. The idea was born among the founding members – Roberto Illiano, Fulvia Morabito, and Massimiliano Sala – all already collaborators of the Stichting-Fondazione Pietro Antonio Locatelli (Amsterdam-Cremona). On the death of Professor Dunning, who was managing the Fondazione Locatelli and who first promoted the project for a Boccherini edition, it was decided to take over the activities of the Fondazione itself, transforming it into a body governed by Italian law. We have therefore set up a non-profit organization in Lucca together with Professor Christian Speck, who directs the Edizione Nazionale Boccherini, carrying on the publishing heritage of the Locatelli Foundation, extending its contents and developing further activities with the opening of an international Masterclass of works, organization of conferences and more.

Who worked for the realization of this project?
Many people worked on the project: firstly the steering committee, as well as all honorary members (Lorenzo Frassà, Massimiliano Locanto, Simone Luti, Leon Plantinga, Rudolf Rasch, Sophie Louise Roland, Luca Lévi Sala). To these, we can add the members of the scientific committee of the Boccherini, Locatelli, and Geminiani editions, the members of the various editorial committees of our series, and of the scientific committees of our conferences. Thanks to the support of internationally renowned musicologists, the Centro Studi has become in a few years a center of excellence in the international musicological research scene. Today, 13 years after its establishment, the Study Center is recognized as one of the few Italian musicological realities that can boast a rich editorial and scientific production and has been accredited as a “Cultural Institute” by the Ministero dei Beni Culturali.

What were the main difficulties to overcome and what were the results achieved?
The greatest difficulty was to be able to find credit in the Italian cultural scene. The Italian musicological reality has undergone a profound change in the last decade due to economic and social changes in place in our country. As often happens in other fields, Italy has adapted very slowly to these changes, remaining tied for too many years to the idea of a welfare state. Instead, the Centro Studi has brought forward the idea of a culture that participates in the enhancement of the territory, both in qualitative and quantitative terms. We have created many tourist flows linked to cultural initiatives: our international conferences see the active participation of over 150 participants every year, from every part of the world, and our summer Masterclasses bring about a hundred people to the territory for a period of time. which extends from June to mid-August.

What are the current activities and which future projects?
Currently, we have an intense publishing activity, which involves the publication of about 8 volumes a year for Brepols Publishers (Belgium) and the Ut Orpheus Editions of Bologna. The Centro Studi conducts a dozen or so musicological series, to which are added works for the editions in progress and two international scientific journals. The Sextects Op. 23 and Boccherini’s Quintets for Guitar are now coming out in critical edition. They have just come out, in a critical edition and a practice edition, the two volumes of the Stabat Mater, both in the edition for soprano only, of 1781, and in the version with 3 voices, of 1801. Soon we will begin work on Quintets for strings Op.15. The first English monograph on Pietro Antonio Locatelli, written by Fulvia Morabito, has been published recently and now we are preparing the critical edition of the Sonata in G minor for violin and basso continuo by Locatelli (composition without opus number 1). Other projects in progress are a miscellaneous book about John Williams and the first volume of a new series, called Contemporary Composers, that has been inaugurated in April for Brepols, directed by Massimiliano Locanto and Massimiliano Sala. In addition, we will soon work on a volume dedicated to Camille Saint-Saëns and on other books dedicated to the relationship between music and power in the Baroque period, to the music scheduled in the nineteenth century, and to music criticism in the first half of the twentieth century. For the summer two operatic master classes are planned in collaboration with Wichita University of Kansas and the University of Western Ontario. The first, “Sing in Italy”, will end in June proposing a couple of lyric concerts for the students of the course, while the second, “AEDO – European Academy of Opera“, will end in mid-August when will be held an opera festival with the representation of Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart and the Serse di Handel, with a modern orchestra and a baroque one created apposite for the event and made up of both Tuscan and international professionals. We are also about to launch a new series dedicated to Music, Science, and Technology, and we have recently inaugurated a Network dedicated to the study of music criticism, which brings together international research groups on the subject, and hosts an online magazine, further publications, and archive material and databases.

The Center is therefore very active internationally, but is Lucca aware of the importance of Boccherini? Are there any city initiatives related to the figure of the composer?
Lucca has slowly become aware of the importance of Boccherini. If abroad Boccherini has always been considered a composer like Haydn and Mozart, in Lucca his fame has undergone the presence of another important great composer from Lucca, Giacomo Puccini. In recent years, however, various initiatives and events have taken place in the city to commemorate his figure, celebrating his work with concerts and music festivals. To these we also add our editorial production, which constantly spreads his work both through the edition and through a congress activity – it is worth remembering for example the Boccherini Studies, a musicological series dedicated to the composer who has so far his fifth volume.

Certainly very interesting for cellists. Thanks for the interview and good work!

March 8, 2018







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