Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Tuesday 7 March, sold out for the concert of the Erasmus Orchestra, which traditionally opens Didacta Italy, the most important national event on school innovation.
Doing the honors was Sara Funaro, councilor for education, welfare and immigration of the Municipality of Florence, who defined Didacta as a unique event of its kind, capable of creating synergies between different institutions to achieve important results. Funaro underlined the significance of the Erasmus Orchestra as an extraordinary initiative for the opportunities for discussion it offers to young people, through music. For the councilor, “being in the Salone dei Cinquecento means opening up a citizens’ place, giving home, in this case building bridges of culture, education and music, together.”
Alessandra Gallone spoke on behalf of the Ministry for University and Research, announcing the Ministry’s willingness to include the arts among its responsibilities, equating in all respects the Higher Artistic-Musical Education sector with university courses.
Sara Pagliai, coordinator of the Erasmus+ Indire Agency, briefly retraced the history of the orchestra, which since 2017 has appeared on stage each time with a different staff, made up of Erasmus students guests of Italian conservatories and musical institutes and by Italian Erasmus students. “The Erasmus Orchestra represents an innovation in the communication and promotion of the Programme at European level, it is a symbolic symphony orchestra of all the values of Erasmus and of Europe.”
Directed by Maestro Elio Orciuolo, the talented musicians filled the Salone dei Cinquecento with enchanting music by Cimarosa, Mozart, Rossini, Mascagni and Piazzolla, concluding with an unscheduled performance by Nino Rota.
“A totally new concert compared to previous experiences – Maestro Orciuolo told us – for the first time without singers and with a programme aimed at enhancing individual elements, part of the orchestra, who performed as soloists, to underline the meaning of the Erasmus Orchestra as a training project”.
In the wake of the collaboration with Egypt, which recently saw the Erasmus Orchestra protagonist of three concerts in Cairo, Luxor and Alexandria as part of the Study in Sicily project, the Egyptian flautist Huda Mahmoud also performed in Florence. Among the musicians, there are also students from China and Armenia, while the principal violin, Andrii Kulis, is a Ukrainian guest student at the Monopoli Conservatory, testifying to the fact that Erasmus+ is now open not only to Europe, but also to all the rest of the world.
The Erasmus Orchestra, a training path
The young orchestral players, who arrived from various conservatories in Italy, rehearsed together for four days, guests of the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence at the Villa Favard venue, under the direction of Maestro Elio Orciuolo and two tutors.
A few days to get to know each other, listen to each other and resonate together, adapt, get out of their comfort zone, create music and build the orchestra together, in a spirit of collaboration and solidarity that truly represents the added value and uniqueness of the Erasmus Orchestra. In this process the role of the two tutors, the Maestros Flavio Maddonni and Vincenzo Anselmi, both professors of the Monopoli Conservatory, was fundamental.
“I spent wonderful days with the youths of the Erasmus Orchestra as a string tutor: I found in them great commitment and desire to achieve goals and mutual solidarity; and above all a vision of the future, a musical and human future. I thank them for the vital energy they have transmitted to me and I wish them a radiant future”, Maestro Maddonni, told us.
Maestro Anselmi also gave us his vision of the Erasmus Orchestra experience: “I accepted the invitation to participate as wind tutor of the Erasmus Orchestra in Florence with great enthusiasm. I had heard of this orchestra, I read the various social media posts related to the various concerts and tours, but I didn’t expect to be able to collaborate in any way. Already from the whatsapp group created for the occasion I noticed the friendly and serene atmosphere. I found enthusiastic but above all technically well-prepared young instrumentalists. For this reason, my intervention could not be reduced to making everyone study their own part but had to go further, had to get the music out of the notes! Which I immediately told the students, trying to analyze the interventions of the wind section within the score and the balance between one instrument and another and between the wind section and the rest of the orchestra. It was a wonderful experience that will remain engraved in the hearts and memories of all these young musicians for the rest of their lives. I wish them a brilliant musical career.”
Violins: Arianna Albi, Febe Bellaroba, Alice Bottacchi, Marta Collu, Alessia Freno, Andrii Kulis, Niccolò Laiso, Alessandro Liguigli, Laura Panza, Liu Ruoxi, Simone Spilabotte, Vincenza Tizzone, Ilaria Venuto, Chiara Stella Zollo.
Violas: Gabriele Catapano, Eugenia Cozzolino, Alba Rita Roma, Sargis Sarukhanyan, Leonardo Sobral.
Cellos: Gaia Ferrantini, Alicia Gonzalez Mayo, Fabiana Iovene, Teresa Mondati, Jose Pablo Torres Arias.
Double basses: Pablo Escobar, Arianna Giuliani, Ziyi Xi.
Flutes: Gilberto Accurso, Huda Mahmoud.
Oboes: Antonino Facella, Dario Pillitteri.
Clarinets: Domenico Cetera, Ezio Ferrusi.
Bassoons: Daniele Castagna, Leonardo Percival Paoli.
Horns: Loris Nastasi, Francesco Ursi.
The next appointment
The Erasmus Orchestra will play again in Florence, on May 6, on the occasion of the Festival d’Europa 2023.