1) How did you approach music? how was your passion born?
I started playing very young, thanks to my parents who, among other activities, directed me to the study of the piano. At the age of 11, I heard a girl play the lute and I was enchanted. So it was then my choice to enrol in the Conservatory and start this journey back in time.
In reality, the passion for ancient music has gradually come, let’s say that until I was eighteen I had different interests from reading anastatic copies of manuscripts and changing gut keys! Then I started playing with my colleagues and going to listen to concerts; so I started to immerse myself in the fascinating world of Renaissance and Baroque music. It seems absurd for those who do not belong to this musical world to be able to approach such a distant repertoire. In reality, paradoxically, the music of the seventeenth century of classical music is closer to modern feeling. Less codified, linked to affections, often improvised or combined with dance, ancient music can be interpreted in a modern way and at every concert, I find the confirmation of this thought.
2) Was it easy to follow this passion for you, or did you have difficulty? If yes, which ones?
Like all roads, even that of the musician is tortuous and complex. I think it is particularly so because it requires a series of qualities that transcend technique and study; the musician must know how to relate, self-produce, he must be diplomatic, he must learn and teach, he must always be ready for the disappointments and circumstances that affect the music, he must do the porter and often drive for infinite traits, clash with the Italian bureaucracy … and these they are just the first things that come to mind!
I feel lucky because even the most challenging days I live with a smile, satisfied and proud of every new goal achieved. But, like any work, even music is made up of challenges and complications and, like all good things, is complex. My difficulties have been and still are those of living in a particularly unlucky period, so you have to make do with everything and deal with a country that is not inclined to approach music that is not mass. But there is also a positive side to this; inventing languages, creating and renewing, approaching and intriguing, are all aspects that I find more stimulating than playing for an expert audience and without putting in my own.
3) What is your biggest success? And what made you most happy?
Fortunately, there are many successes and I do not forget to see even the small ones that contribute to achieving great goals in everyday life. Perhaps I can consider my greatest success the Quintana duo, with whom I did not play in the biggest stages but who was born and is growing with a regular and constant rhythm. So the satisfaction is to start from the small things and, following them daily, see them improve until they create an autonomous, sophisticated and engaging product.
So for two years with my duo, Quintana with Katerina Ghannudi to the baroque harp and sound voice in wonderful situations and every experience is positive and satisfying. This is because we have managed to create a mix of research and the right contact with the public that, every time, finds itself at ease with ancient music. This is the greatest satisfaction for us, collecting compliments like ‘thank you for this evening, I didn’t think about all my difficulties for a while ..’ ‘compliments because in your music there is a notion and there is heart’ ‘ thanks for having interested me in ancient music that I didn’t know ‘.
For us, this is a success and the daily dose of happiness. Another great success is the Laboratorio’600 ensemble with which I record the second album for the Spanish label Glossa next fall. From next August we start with a series of incredible dates between Holland, Hamburg, Slovenia, Poland
4) Have you collaborated with other successful artists? important collaborations?
The most important collaboration of my musical career has been and is that with Petra Magoni. An encounter that made a change in my life. I’ve never been able to see ancient and classical music as ‘the only music’. I played the electric bass for a while, I also play the electric guitar and, above all, I’ve always listened to other genres. I have constantly tried to use my instrument in a different way and the answer to all this was Petra. I contacted her through her booking and, being a helpful and curious person, she answered me after some time. We immediately played together and, realizing this magical synergy, started to collaborate.
We are the music of the show ‘The Blood’ with the famous recording and actor Pippo Delbono, a wonderful experience that led us to work in beautiful theatres, including the magical Parco della Musica in Rome. Then Petra and I recorded in London and, above all, made two incredible concerts in two cathedrals in Quito, Ecuador. Here, these were the two most exciting concerts I’ve ever done, especially the second one. Feeling such a warm audience, listening to Petra’s voice, playing a sacred and beautiful repertoire, a series of emotions that made the evening absolutely magical, unparalleled!
5) What do you think about today’s music scene?
Today’s music scene … I don’t want to join the big choir that is complaining about the disastrous situation. I prefer to find all the positive aspects of the period, such as the possibility of promoting yourself through free means and with the possibility of creating an unprecedented network of contacts and opportunities.
Of course in the Italian music scene, there is not much interesting and original. But I think the biggest problem is that here we have forgotten that to be successful, or simply to do things well, we must study. Just turn on the television and hear how people talk to understand that certain virtues are no longer needed to achieve fame. But I also believe that all these passing television phenomena remain only ephemeral career attempts which then prove to be without a foundation and collapse. Those who study and create their own path conscientiously remain perhaps more in the background but attain different satisfactions, simply true. Bands are born in Italy where the producer plays every instrument and the components create the image. I don’t think it’s a crime to focus on image or marketing because music is still a product and always has been. Even if we imagine Bach, Beethoven or Mozart with philology and purity, they too looked after and built their own characters and played for the wealthiest clients what was required. But the important thing is that the image is also accompanied by study, research and passion…
6) What does music mean to you?
Music has always accompanied me and means a lot to me! I find playing is the best way to spend time and listen to music, the perfect way to enjoy the moments I’m not playing! Obviously, I have many other passions, but the music remains in pole position.
7) Do you play a very special instrument that is not often seen in the world of QuadriProject, can you tell us a little about it?
The lute is now seen as a museum instrument and is played only in prestigious halls and other noble contexts. But in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was very common, as in the nineteenth century, the piano. And it was played in sacred and profane contexts, in theatres, in homes or on the street; it was exploited to the maximum because it was convenient to transport and perfect to accompany singers and instruments thanks to the polyphony that is created with such a high number of choirs, the name used to indicate the double string on the lute.
I think it is important to let people know about this fascinating tool that we are used to meeting only in ancient iconographies and, precisely for this reason, I believe it is fundamental to take it in non-elite or niche contexts but, on the contrary, popular!