Two women, of different nationalities, of different walks of life, united by a passion for music and a bridge that - in one way or another - connects both of them: Italy!
Double interview between an Italian pianist working in Portugal and a Yugoslav violinist working in Italy.
Pianist: Daniela Ignazzitto
Violinist: Jasenka Tomic.
As a child, I always thought that musicians should be 'out of the ordinary' people.
Being able to play a musical instrument, seen from the eyes and, heard from the ears of those who are strangers to this, seems a privilege reserved for only a select few. Relatively speaking, the various degrees of possession of musical or professional skills.
As you grow up, you realize that it is a bit 'on the other hand, like the effect that is created for any profession, for any activity, outside your reach, your predisposition, what you, personally, it fascinates and you practice in your daily life.
But for the practice of music, the differences between people multiply. For the practice of musical instruments, even more.
Classical music, in particular, either you feel it inside you, or it makes you carry it away, or you get so excited that you are distracted from any worry, even though you are not particularly expert at music notes or compositions, or it is better that changes musical genre, but at least, without attributing to the 'classic', the responsibility of being a music that 'is not for you'.
Nobody's fault: On the tastes there is no question, -so, - not even on what inside it includes the fusion of the language and tastes of all the Muses.
And the Muses were many, so they gave us their art, based on our tastes! They were the ones who adapted to our tastes and preferences. For this reason, once, a Muse smiled when she heard the man whisper, immediately after hearing a sound emanating from herself:
"This is music to my ears ..!"
And who more than the Muses, has a musical ear!
However, while the Muses are privileged to possess such a special place in the divine hierarchy, when life makes you aware of musicians, you realize that they are, particular and common people, at the same time ... but above all, they are endowed with a innate sensitivity and delicacy.
[legend title = "Daniela Ignazzitto" style = "4"] Born in Palermo, Italy, the 10 March 1974. He began studying piano at the age of ten. His contact with music starts at an early age, as his father plays guitar and is passionate about opera music. He began studying piano privately, until he entered the "Vincenzo Bellini" Conservatory of Music in Palermo, where he finished the piano course in the 1997 with the highest marks and honors. The Composition course also follows. For a few years, he also studied the cello.
After graduating from the Conservatory, he began his specialization with the pianist and teacher Lya De Barberiis, in Foligno, Osimo, Rome and Venice, attending various courses.
In the 1999 he receives the teaching invitation from the Conservatory of Music of Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, where he teaches for two years. Later, he competed at the National Conservatory of Lisbon, where he is currently Piano teacher. [/ Legend]
[legend title = "Jasenka Tomič" style = "4"] The 24 August 1961 was born in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, in the former Yugoslavia.
He graduated in the same city with Boijdar Bratoev, then continued to Moscow with Boris Belinky, where he graduated. Very young, she won numerous competitions in Yugoslavia and performed as a soloist accompanied by the Zagreb Philharmonic.
In Italy, he takes part as the first violin or shoulder of the latter, in the Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia, Carme di Milano, Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Orchestra Regionale Toscana and Sassari, playing with some of the greatest conductors of our time such as Zubin Mehta , Seiji Ozawa, Myun Whun Chung, Riccardo Muti.
Since 1998 he has been a regular collaborator with the Arturo Toscanini Foundation of Parma. Founding member of the Leonardo Quartet, he often performs also in the formation of the duo with piano and duo of violins. [/ Legend]
When did you decide to become a musician?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] I decided more or less at the age of 17 years. [/ toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] When I was 3 years, they gave me a toy piano, which I took it since then, 'very seriously'.
I began to study music, without thinking of becoming a violinist. At the age of 10 years I started playing the mandolin. Then I played the violin, starting from the age of 11-12 years. [/ Toggle]
Are there other music-loving members in your family?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] Yes, my father plays the guitar by ear. Not having had himself, the means to study, my parents, they always did everything, so that I could continue to follow this passion. The elder sister plays the piano, although she does not practice it as a real trade. Even the mother, while doing the housework and the profession of dressmaker, sewing her beautiful clothes, sings continuously. She is the one who makes my beautiful and very elegant concert dresses. Even if they tell her that she is out of tune, her mother continues to sing. This is something that belongs to her and, in the family, to her voice attribute the saying "accorded in a proper way".
But I perceived this beautiful voice, "for me instead intoned," since I was inside its belly. [/ Toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] No, there are no musicians in my family. My father was an airplane pilot and his mother, if not a musician, was an artist. She was involved in theater, painting and loved writing and translation.
Today, I am happy that my son is studying music and playing the cello, this by his choice, not by imposition on my part. [/ Toggle]
Is music a challenge for you, or is it an experience that can only be carried out by doing this profession?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] I would say both things are correct: it is a challenge, as it puts me in front of works of art, in which I have to give my best, both from a technical / physical point of view and from under the psychological and spiritual.
Without a doubt, it is a unique experience that no other profession offers, because it is a work of introspection that demands a continuous digging in the score and parallel in our artistic soul. [/ Toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] No, for me, music has never been a challenge. It is a passion, a way to express emotions, emotions that in words, I could not describe. But I think that if passion is invested in all professions, emotions are obtained in the end, in proportion to what you do. It is very important to instill passion and dedication to work for children, even as children. In our case, we need to put so much seriousness and commitment, as we musicians, who are the performers of musical and non-composer pieces, in order to be able to perform a piece in the best possible way, we should deepen the author's life, the story of that piece, the its emotional charge that comes from the moment it was designed as a work. It is the history of art. [/ Toggle]
Your career as an artist, - decisively, - when and how did it start?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] When I decided that nothing like music could allow me to express what I felt inside. [/ toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] Ever since I was in Macedonia, even though I left my land for only 19 years, right after I graduated, - I had an artistic career started. [/ toggle]
So leave for abroad. What does life abroad look like for an Italian or foreign artist in general?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] The choice was, an invitation I received at a time when I had just completed my studies at the conservatory and I didn't have a very happy view before me. The colleagues who had graduated before me, had encountered serious difficulties in finding a job related to music and I didn't want to abdicate the idea of working with music all the days of my life. And so I jumped at it, even if at the beginning it was very hard, because I didn't know the language, nor the culture, and because the Azores are very isolated. [/ Toggle]
So leave for Russia and then for Italy. What does life abroad look like for a Yugoslavian or foreign artist in general?
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] I leave very young to Russia, where I graduate after 5 years, at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
It was a wonderful experience for me. We lived 600 foreign students in the same residence. Afterwards I moved to Italy, to Florence, where a job opportunity presented itself to me, but in Italy I faced the usual bureaucratic problems because, in order to compete for a permanent position in our field, in an orchestra, we must have citizenship Italian. So it took years of sacrifice. After obtaining Italian citizenship, I then had the opportunity to compete and get the place in the orchestra. [/ Toggle]
The piano, how would you describe it differently?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] An orchestra at your fingertips. [/ toggle]
The violin, how would you describe it differently?
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] The violin, I could not consider it as an 'object'. For me, the violin has a soul. Become one of your cohabitants, it is something that establishes a relationship with your inner 'I'. Sometimes, it corresponds to your restless state of mind, sometimes, to that serene, because it reflects you, it reflects your mood. This is a relationship that goes hand in hand with the study of the violin: the more you study it, the more you become fond of it, the better your mutual knowledge. That's why I think this tool has a soul. [/ Toggle]
You are Sicilian. Between the beauty of your land and that of music, which element could constitute a common denominator?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] Contrasting landscapes, cultures, colors, scents, flavors. Without a doubt, my Sicily and music both have an infinite world to know and love. [/ Toggle]
You come from the former Yugoslavia. Between the beauty of your land and that of music, which element could constitute a common denominator?
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] It is the variety: between my country, where there is a mixture of various ethnic groups, cultures, beliefs, languages, flavors, folklore and music, with its various genres, authors, interpretations , sensations. [/ toggle]
In your work experiences, did you happen to learn about particularly important figures in the music world?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] Continuing the improvement in various courses between Italy and Portugal, with my teacher Lya De Barberiis, with other famous Portuguese and foreign pianists, I also graduated in Portugal, in Lisbon, in 2004, at the Higher School of Music. I continued my career as a pianist, both as a soloist and in various chamber ensembles between Italy and Portugal, playing for the most important cultural associations and institutions. From the 2001 I record various concerts for a live Portuguese radio station. Therefore, I am in continuous contact with figures of depth in this artistic world. [/ Toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] Certainly yes. This, both in terms of soloists and conductors, such as Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Myun Whun Chung, Placido Domingo, Rostropovic, Russian cellist, Misha Maiski etc .. [/ toggle]
Would you like to return home?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] I think that on one hand, it would be great, because it would allow me to enrich my experience with my experience of now 14 years outside of Italy, my land. Yes, I'd love to, if I could continue to do what I left my roots for. [/ Toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] You know, with the passing of the years, the nostalgia for your land, - for those who live far from it, - increases more and more. Of course, I miss a fact: to play live and be heard live by my family, relatives and old friends in my country [/ toggle]
Currently where are you working? Future projects, concerts in sight?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] Yes, many projects, especially in the field of chamber music that I like more every day.
I will play in trio, with my Trio "Pleasure" here in Lisbon, at the Cultural Center of Belem in December, with a program that includes the trio op. 114 by Brahms and two works by two Portuguese composers that they composed by dedicating to my trio these two works that will be performed in world premiere.
In September I will have my first concert with another trio, violin, cello and piano, the Trio Casella. We will always play here in Lisbon, trios by Haydn, Schumann and Smetana.
I will play 4 hands with my former colleague, also a student of Lya de Barberiis in two concerts, one here in Lisbon for the Italian institute and one in Rome, both concerts will be dedicated to Lya De Barberiis who passed away February of this year at 93 years. [/ Toggle]
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] I currently work with the orchestra of the Arturo Toscanini Foundation in Parma, the Emilia Romagna Orchestra.
My current job is related to that of the orchestra. I'm glad I started playing mandolin again, after 40 years ..
As future projects, I'd like to propose some musical initiatives in my hometown and here, some chamber music concerts in various chamber ensembles [/ toggle]
Your relationship with the kitchen?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] I really like to prepare for my friends typical Italian dishes, but also Azorean and Portuguese, especially desserts.
When it's my turn to be invited, I prepare a tiramisu or an azoriano cake with maracujà (the passion fruit), or a chocolate cake, called 'brigadeiro', typical of Portuguese gastronomy instead. [/ Toggle]
I know that there is a typical specialty of Balkan cuisine and that we, in Albania too, prefer very much, "the Byrek", which you - among other things - prepare very well, isn't it?
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] Of course, I like the "byrek" a lot and I often prepare it. Another of my favorite dishes is "Il musakà", also the "baklava".
Then, having traveled a lot, I like a bit of different culinary peculiarities, typical for example of Lebanese cuisine, the "pilaf" of Uzbekistan etc. [/ toggle]
Other passions besides music?
[toggle header = "Daniela"] I like to study the human psyche, the part related to health, to care in general. Massage, therapy, psychotherapy and music therapy, why not, I always do that with my students and with the audience to whom I dedicate my interpretations. I like gardening - one day I would like to study medicinal plants - and gastronomy, without a doubt.
Cooking relaxes me, it's a kind of mental yoga.
And besides, I love arts in general, theater and dance.
[toggle header = "Jasenka"] As a young man I practiced various sports like: Handball, swimming, - I was a champion, athletic, high jump and even women's soccer.
My interests include archeology, astronomy and the sciences in general. [/ Toggle]