"Our vision is to bring the amazing beauties of classical music everywhere around the world"

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Recently, the Victoria Memorial Hall,Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi and Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata presented a western classical concert by Quartetto di Cremona featuring works by A. Webern, F. J. Haydn and F. Schubert. Since its formation in 2000, the Quartetto di Cremona has established a reputation as one of the most exciting chamber ensembles on the international stage. Regularly invited to perform at the most important festivals and concert seasons across Europe, South America, the United States and the Far East, the quartet has garnered universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its high level of interpretive artistry. They are a regular feature on radio and television broadcasts around the world (RAI, WDR, BBC, VRT, SDR, ABC) performing their extensive repertoire which ranges from early Haydn to contemporary music. 2017 will mark the release of the final volume in their complete recording of the Beethoven quartets, on the German label Audite. Simone Gramaglia who is considered one of the best Italian violist and also the manager of the group shares his thoughts.

Would you share a bit about Quartetto di Cremona’s vision and mission?

To have a vision is very important if you have a project. If you have a project without a vision it like to have a flower without water. It won’t grow. Our vision is to bring the amazing beauties of classical music everywhere around the world. Our mission is to realize it!

The quartet has collaborated with numerous artists of international renown. What are some of the most rewarding experiences?

I can for sure mention the amazing collaboration with our friend Lawrence Dutton, violist of the Emerson String Quartet. We played many concerts with him and it was always fantastic. Or with my great friend the cellist Jamie Walton. He is just fantastic. 

The quartet frequently conducts master classes. Could you describe the master class experience and the value of working with young musicians?

Teaching at a certain point of life becomes essential. You physically need to pass your experience to others and working with young musicians it’s always very stimulating. And it help to learn many things too!

The effect of a piece doesn't merely depend on the performance of the musicians, but also on the place it is performed at. How do you see the relationship between location and sound?

This is a very clever question. I think if many artistic directors around the world would think a bit more to this matter we would have a much easier life...The location and its acoustic are fundamental for the sound. Specially talking about strings. If it’s too dry or too resonant or too big audience will loose most of the quality of the interpretation and many details of the piece. 

Quartetto di Cremona is an Ambassador for the International ‘Friends of Stradivari’. How important is to promote and develop stringed instrument making from a cultural standpoint?

It is extremely important. We are very proud to bring around the world the great value of what Italy and Italian artists where able to produce and it means the best fine string instruments in the world.  

Increasingly, performers, orchestras and record labels are thinking beyond the traditional concert in an attempt to get classical music heard by new audiences. Can classical music reach a new audience through unlikely venues?

I don’t think it’s a matter of venues. It’s more a matter of education. If you don’t bring music to young children you can’t pretend they will attend a classical concert even if you propose it in a cave on Mars. It always and just a matter of education. If you know something you can decide what to do. You can accept it or not. But if you don’t know something

                                                   -  Simone Gramaglia

What are some of your goals and aspirations as a quartet as you look towards the future? Are there any recordings on the horizon for you?

As artists we have many goals, the main one is to play all the most beautiful music written for string quartet. We already played a lot but still we have a lot to do. 

Recording? Yes! Our beloved Franz Schubert with his quartet op. 161 and String quintet op. 163 with two cellos. 

Since you manage the group, how challenging is your role? What would you say your top priorities?

It’s not easy being a musician nowadays. Specially a classical musician. 

Lot of my colleagues and students still spend the all time of their time practicing in their room and waiting for a “phone call” that will change their life. Maybe this was possible years ago. Not anymore. A musician today of course has to be gifted, super well prepared but then he needs a clear vision and a very focused strategy. I started the quartet when I was 25 yrs. After 5 years of pure studying and competitions I took our career in my hands. And since then I had two works. Violist and manager. I’m almost 43 now. I brought the quartet everywhere around the world. I built a super-network of contacts. I planned and realized all our recording projects. It has been a super hard work. Lot of nights spent to create projects, ideas, possibilities. Challenging. But essential for our career.  At the end I can say my top priorities are beauty, a clear vision and enthusiasm. 


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