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15 Questions to Edoardo Catemario

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hello, I am fine and, right now, at home on the hills near Firenze (Italy).

What’s on your schedule right now?
The next three months: Practising, then again concerts. I have had several months full of events: recitals, concertos, a new recording and some master classes.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
I don't know. Probably working in Africa or India...

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
My first teacher of music (not guitar): Titina De Fazio. She was a fantastic musician able to play organ, piano and other instruments as well as being a composer. Then the meeting with Celibidache and the recordings of Dinu Lipatti and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
It's hard being sensitive in a world that goes at a speed very different from yours. The scale of values is reverted. The best is the perception of a world where creativity, imagination, feelings, discipline, knowledges, culture, intelligence all live together.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
There has been an incredible crisis. I think that classic music has reached the lowest point of the last two centuries. It seems to me that there is some small improvement. People are bored with “plastic” music and now want something that intrigues them. Classics can be an answer to what they are looking for. More and more I  see young people at  concerts. It's over now when people leaving a concert used to say “maybe I didn't understand it”. More likely, today, they would say “I didn't like it at all”.  So much more “healthy”!!

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?

I think that there is no need of more bad recordings -there are plenty. There is, instead, always a place for good ideas, I don't think that the world can or should just stop.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

When you can feel the musician make that little magic that makes you forget where you are and for how long you stayed there, this is a good concert! When I am on the stage I feel well. I think that all those people have come to my concert to have a good moment after a long day. They deserve the best that I can offer. Once I take place on my seat, I think to the first sound, I begin and let the music flow. Music happens...

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

A composer puts his life experience, his feelings, his sound into a sign. A performer goes in the opposite direction. From the sign to a world of emotions through sound. Literally, interpretation means substituting a sign with a sound (itself sign of a mood, feeling, experience, emotion...). Interpreting the sign is somehow a puzzle that, once composed, gives you the key for a new puzzle and so on. You go from one level to a deeper level of comprehension  becoming one thing with the music that you are playing.

How do you balance the need to to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?

Even if you try to be “crystal clear” in your approach to the music, there is your own persona that makes whatever interpretation “your interpretation”. There is no need to abuse the position of interpreter and impose your personality, it will show off anyway.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False. You don't need to be graduated to understand how beautiful is the Cappella Sistina by Michelangelo. On the other hand, when people listen to more classical music they become more and more aware.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
I am an artistic director. With my association (QuattroQuarti) we manage three festivals in three different towns (Firenze, Siena and Roma). One chamber music and two, smaller, guitar festivals. We have had fantastic artists like: Aquiles Delle Vigne, Cristiano Rossi, Antonello Farulli, Sylvie Gazeau, Kurt Widmer, Gabriele Cassone, Alfonso Fedi, Tomoko Kato, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Frank Wibaut... In the future we plan to invite Lewis Kaplan, Choong Mo Kang, William Ramson and others. I do encourage these fantastic artists to enclose contemporary music in their programs. We had several performances of music by Parth, Berio, Ligeti, Canino, Ginastera, Kurtag among others. This, of course, well balanced with something that our audience already knows (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and so on).

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
As natural. I don't think of it.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?

I had to play piano for three years when I was young (I hated it). I play the mandolin (quite badly) and violin (very badly). One of my dreams is to learn cello...

Conciertango (ARTS Music) 2006
Mauro Giuliani Concerto n3 and Quintets (ARTS Music) 2005
Mauro Giuliani Concerto n1 & 2 (ARTS Music) 2004
Guitar XX (Arts Music) 2003
Italian Virtuoso (Blue Line) 2001
Piazzolla Complete Works (ARTS Music) 2000
Guitar Concertos (ARTS Music) 1996
Barocco Napoletano (ARTS Music) 1996
Spanish Guitar Music (ARTS Music) 1996

Edoardo Catemario

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