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15 Questions to Laura Manzini

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I’m fine, thanks. I'm at home, in Rome.

What’s on your schedule right now?
To practise and rehearse with EsTrio (Laura Gorna, violin and Cecilia Radic, cello) and with Salvatore Accardo. I will have a number of concerts with them in the next period.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
It's difficult to say, I started studying the piano when I was five... but I’ve always loved pets, so maybe I would be a vet.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
Many different things influenced me: my teachers, the concerts I listened to, the great musicians with whom I performed and... my pupils. You can learn so much from teaching!

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest part regards the things you have to give up, the great self-discipline that’s required in preparing yourself and having to live a nomadic life, with your suitcase always close at hand. But the best thing is, you’re repaid tenfold because you’re doing what you really love the most in life.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I believe there’s been a general dumbing-down of the public’s quality and a decrease in the amount of interest on the part of the younger generations. There’s a risk of ghettoising classical music and speaking a “dead” language for too many people. I think many of the responbilities are the musicians’ – we must go back to playing “for” and “with” the public.

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 there’s always something interesting to say. Time passes, many things change in day-to-day life, and so does the perception of those who listen to the music. Certain marvellous and remote interpretations from the past already have a “historic” flavour...

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I believe that the emotion you feel when you play is different every time: there’s a form of reciprocal exchange with the public that makes certain performances magical in a way that’s almost impossible to explain. When I play I always feel moved and I always try to bounce back the emotions I get from the public.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
It means to breathe life into a piece of music and make it intelligible to the public while keeping the highest level of respect for the executed composition.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
True, it would be impossible otherwise seeing as the musician is a means through which music comes to life every time. But I also think the greatest compliment you can receive after a concert is: “Gosh, how beautiful that piece of music is!”, rather than: “Gosh, how beautifully you play that piece of music!”

True or false: “Music is my first love”

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
True. But there’s also an element of instinct which anyone can perceive and enjoy, especially from the great masterpieces.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
Varied programmes, which imaginatively include different musical genres, though without losing sight of quality. I’d favour the programmes to the musician’s names.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
Brahms, Strings sextett

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I habitually play the harpsichord even as a solist. I’ve had several experiences with the organ, but it’s an instrument which, given a choice, I’d rather avoid. As a child I studied the violin a little, though I don’t play it anymore. The experience however was very useful and formative.

Homage to Kreisler vol. I° (Fonè)
Homage to Kreisler vol. II° (Fonè)
Homage to Heifetz vol. I° (Fonè)
Homage to Heifetz vol. II° (Fonè)
Composer Violinists - Live Concert  (Fonè)
The virtuoso violin (Fonit Cetra)
Masterpieces for violin and strings (Fonit Cetra)
Adios Nonino (Fonè)
Le Grand Tango (Fonè)

Laura Manzini

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