A PODIUM FOR MUSIC’S PRIZE-WINNERS
The seasons of the Amici della Musica in Perugia have always been one of the most coveted showcases for young musicians, especially for the winners of international competitions.
The 2016-2017 Season is no exception and features a significant number of laureates at the beginning of careers that promise to be highly rewarding. Such are the members of the Hungarian Kelemen String Quartet and of the all-female French Quatuor Akilone, the first a prize-winner at the «Borciani» Competition in Reggio Emilia, the second at the Competition in Bordeaux, worthy successor to the now defunct Competition in Evian.
The Amici della Musica have long enjoyed a privileged relationship with the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, allowing the concert society to present the finest young musicians recommended by such a deserving charity organisation, a solid guarantee in terms of qualities that are out of the ordinary. Laureates of the BBT include the British Elias String Quartet, the already celebrated and much sought-after Argentine ‘cellist Sol Gabetta, and our own Beatrice Rana, whose remarkable piano recital last year in Perugia led to her nomination to the Trust’s Artistic Committee. Only a year later, she is being engaged by the world’s most important concert organisations and has recorded two CDs with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. We welcome her return in March, when she will perform a new piece by Luca Francesconi, one of the results of her generous award from the Borletti Buitoni Trust.
In April we will play host to the recent winner of Warsaw’s «Chopin» Prize, the world’s most important Piano Competition: the 22 year-old Korean Seong-Jin Cho will perform music by Mozart, Debussy and – it could hardly be otherwise – Chopin, his four much-loved Ballades. Also making her debut in Perugia will be the American ‘cellist Alisa Weilerstein, soloist in the closing concert with New York’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, today’s most famous conductor-less orchestra.
Freshness and youth are the distinguishing characteristics of the season’s opening concert, a welcome return by the Italian Youth Orchestra conducted by the Texan John Axelrod, much applauded in his first concert in Perugia two years ago. This year’s concert is a spectacular Italian vademecum: Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio italien, followed by Respighi’s Pines of Rome and Richard Strauss’s early symphonic poem Aus Italien («From Italy»).
Amongst this season’s pianists is to be found a fascinating «close encounter» between master and pupil, the 84 year-old Basque Joaquín Achúcarro and the 39 year-old Alessio Bax, Italian-born but today an American citizen, worthy heir to a true piano «school» which stretches back over many decades.
Andrea Lucchesini, a favourite of Perugia’s audience since 1985, returns with his old colleague Mario Brunello, whilst another return is that of the German Herbert Schuch, winner in 2004 of Terni’s «Casagrande» Competition. And a particular welcome is reserved for the return of two artists extremely dear to Perugia’s heart, Christian Zacharias and Mitsuko Uchida, the second of whom leads the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in two Concertos by Mozart, possibly the most precious pearl of the entire season.
After a long absence, Lorenza Borrani – leader of both the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Claudio Abbado’s Orchestra Mozart – makes her return to Perugia as a recitalist, together with the pianist Gabriele Carcano, another award-winner of the BB Trust. Nor, after their phenomenal success last year, could we fail to reinvite the remarkable wind players of Les Vents Français, who this time will perform in the Teatro Morlacchi, such was the request for tickets for their first concert in a packed Sala dei Notari.
The Orchestra da Camera di Perugia, to which the Fondazione Perugia Musica Classica has given its wholehearted support from the beginning, has established itself in a short time as a reliable source of musical excellence and will give two performances, one shortly before Christmas with the highly original ‘cellist and conductor Giovanni Sollima, the other in February together with the Trio Metamorfosi under the baton of Filippo Maria Bressan in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Mendelssohn’s «Italian» Symphony, a popular work which will bring the distinctive programme of the season’s opening concert full circle.
Lastly, the traditional dates with Christmas and Easter in the Basilica di San Pietro. The first will feature the legendary vocal group The Swingles in its famous «scat» transcriptions (well-known to television viewers of Piero Angela’s «Quark») and whose Winter Tales will be an ideal occasion for exchanging seasonal greetings. Easter will be a joyful celebration inspired by the 450th anniversary of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi, the father of modern music. The performance of his luxuriant masterpiece, the Vespers of 1610, is in the trustworthy hands of one of the composer’s finest interpreters, Rinaldo Alessandrini and his Concerto Italiano.