Citizen of the World speaks from Experience.

Florian Goffin was born in Belgium and consider himself a world citizen. He is travelling the world by cycle to Central America for about 3 years to contribute in social/environmental projects and promote the societal changes to inspire people to make the world a better place.  Florian talks to Abhijit Ganguly about his travelling around the world on his bike.

When was the moment when you decided to change your life for good?

When I realized that I was not happy with that routine of life where I was a slave of a system that destroys us as human beings and destroy the nature we need to survive. That there were no reasons to be scared to listen my instinct to try to build my own project of life regarding my values.

What sparked your instincts for share by bike?

The wish to be free, live my life and follow my feelings rather than everybody else, the society, while doing something for others in the same time. Trying to experience everything I do… The main feeling is to live in Central America (Latin culture and tropical area) and build another life based on in-dependency and freedom of all ways for everyone, sharing and respecting nature and humans. I think living there, with all I will do and make my deeper feeling come true, will not push me to travel much more after, especially if I want to avoid taking planes. Also, I felt that I have to go to India and Canada before (2 big steps of the project, 6 months stay each).

My previous experiences of travelling in the usual way, by plane/car/walk, compare to my recent way to move only by cycle/train/car sharing in Belgium pushed me to do this project in a responsible/experiencing way. Bicycle reduces expenses and pollution, so more freedom and more respectful.

In Belgium, with the experience of organized/participated events in alternative initiatives (work to make things different/better) I realized that many people out of that other world under construction are, of course, asking for these things but don’t know where they are, where to look, where to start, … It was one of our task in the community that I was in Belgium (international community : “Transition network”), share, make awareness and bring the information to people to be able to make the first step if they want to.

So the sharing part, is quite the same, bring some of all the richness of the world that we don’t see if we don’t look after it… To most of the people I meet, the events I make, the interviews. The alternatives lived on my way or not, videos and websites from all over the world to help people to go further in their choices/actions. Plus, the travel by cycle (“slow travel”) and the beauty of the nature and humans around the world.

What's the most inspiring story you've discovered on your travels so far?

Everyone is inspiring with his own story but if I had to choose one, it would be “Project potential” in Bihar that is really close to my next project. A campus for youth to learn by experience and freedom how to build independence of life, sustainable development, etc.

What are the scariest experiences you've had?

Maybe few minutes a couple of time when I was camping, I heard wild elephants or some other unknown noises. I know I won’t have problems but too much television by the past make you think wrong sometimes… More experiences I have, less scared I am but I keep being careful and listen my instinct that know better what to do.

What has surprised you most about the trip?

The most amazing is the beauty of humanity that we don’t specially realize when we don’t travel and interact with locals, mostly because of the wrong ideas people shared in many places, so I listen my heart, not the wrong judgments.

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Yes of course I wonder sometime why I am doing this, and then I think about my freedom, the magic of life, the beauty of this journey with its all new experiences, all the things I can share with people. I have to do what I am doing the way I do it because I feel it to, an important journey to experience for me to go to the next step… Respecting the feelings coming from my inner self, have respect for others and nature as much as I can in my actions. If I don’t make it for me, nobody will and we live only once this human experience.

What is your advice for today’s youth who are aiming to embark on an adventure to promote a cause as you do?

What I say to everyone, no matter what they want to do, stop listening your fears and other people and start to listen to your heart/instinct that tries to tell you where to go in your life and never give up.


Reflections of a Poet

Alessandro Lutman is a student of Literature and History at the University of Udine, Italy. He wrote his first work in 2015, "Poesie d'autunno" (Autumn Poems), becoming the youngest poet of his region. "Poesie d'autunno" was translated to English, Danish, Russian, French and Slovenian. In addition to studying, he writes for local magazines about literature. Recently he was here for the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival(AKLF).

Was there ever a moment when you thought ‘I’m going to be a poet’?

I can't answer it because the right question is: Am I a poet? Is it enough write poems for being poet? I have no response. So, actually I can only say when I began to love and live completely poetry.  I was reading 'L'infinito' by G. Leopardi and I understand the beauty of this genre and the need to explain my feeling through it;

Is there a method you follow when while putting pen to paper?

I let speak my mind, probably it is the only method I follow while I'm writing. However it is very important the place where I compose, too.

Which literary cultures and schools of thought have influenced you the most?

 I have to declare my love for Romanticism, which influenced mainly my first poems. It is the only literary movement that hits me. Then there are a lot of poets who can be considered my masters but the most important for me is absolutely Pier Paolo Pasolini, an intellectual died in 1975. He was so different from the other writers that I realized early he would have had a primary role in my poetry.

What are some of your favourite poems you’ve have written? Which mean the most to you?

First I have to do a general reflection: my favorite poems change depending on emotions I feel. In this moment I find very beautiful"She was Love", "A call comes from the sea" and "Ten, a hundred and a thousand years". The first is absolutely the excellence respect my poems, even if after the India's journey I should be name "She is loved". Here in Kolkata I discover again Love. The last one was written for a wonderful person who helps me when I was child and now I hope she watch me from another world.

What aspect of writing poetry is the most challenging?

Absolutely sharing my poems and then speaking with people who are interested, as I made during the AKLF. Even if writing poems arise cause of my need not to become crazy! Writing is a need for my psychic safety.

How is poetry relevant or valuable to contemporary society and culture?

Poetry - like all art - should have a primary role in the society, above all in these problematic years. It should have but the reality show us a different situation where art lies only in the heart of few people. Someone says poetry will save the world, I am pessimistic, poetry will save nothing if people continue not to understand the significance and loveliness of the whole art. Surely in a utopian world everyone would consider art essential for life.

Has the internet helped increase the love for poetry?

In my opinion Internet could make poetry die if poets don't pay serious attention. It's not easy to explain why, I try. It's obvious Internet leads so many people to discover poetry, to read some poems and I can't deny that but this interest doesn't become love because Internet requires fast reading, on the contrary poetry requires quiet, calm and reflection. So a lot of people read without understanding the poem.


The art of emotion: exhibiting the human condition through sculpture

On the eve of the 45th year of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and India (1972-2017), a group of Vietnamese artists showcased their art work: twenty painters, sculptors and photographers from Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City gathered in Kolkata to exhibit their extra-ordinary art works. The exhibition consisted of two parts. The first part displayed artworks of Vietnamese painters, designers, sculptors, lacquer artists, do paper designers and the second part of this exhibition exhibited photographs of the panoramic and natural beauty, life style, religious beliefs, customs as well as culture as a whole of the people of Vietnam.  In the last 30 years, these art works are well appreciated and have received prominence worldwide. The exhibits of this exhibition had travelled from New Delhi to Kolkata, with the help of ICCR, FREED, Sampark Publisher and Alliance française du Bengale.  Do Thi Hong Hanh,a Sculptor whose work was exhibited shares her thoughts.

How did you become interested in sculpture?

When I think about fine arts, firstly I think about painting, drawing, but my strong emotions are sculpture.

How do you choose your subject and themes in your work?

My subject and themes in my work is life and the life of women. Images of the life of the women in all areas in my country, all changes in the life and how it affects humanity.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My draw my inspiration the society and the human beings.

What is the most difficult part of being a female artist?

Being a female artist it is very hard to work in fine arts. In Vietnam, female artists must earn money as a male artist, but their work is not as strong as male. They do not have enough time as male. Since they have to take care their family, cook and housework, and spend long time with the new born baby.

What's the situation like in the Vietnam contemporary art scene?

Vietnam contemporary art scene is booming. At present, I do not have any international exhibition but at the national level, I have a lot of projects.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?


Exploring the vastness of Indian classical music and sitar

Tadao Ishihama,a versatile sitar artist, was born in Osaka.Tadao started playing the sitar from the tender age of 15.After a period of intensive training in Japan,Tadao Ishihama came to India for the first time in 1997.After a few trips back and forth, he came back to India and started learning the sitar under the tutelage of the eminent sitar guru,Pandit Monoj Shankar of the famous Maihar gharana(also known as the Senia gharana),in Kolkata.Ever since Tadao Ishihama has been giving stage performances at various important functions and venues not only here in India and in Japan but he has played the sitar the other Asian countries. In Japan, he not only conducts cultural functions but has also dedicated himself to introducing and teaching aspirants to the heritage of the north Indian musical instrument-sitar.

At what point did you decide to start playing the Sitar as a professional?

I never decided myself, it happened naturally.  I started to play this instrument when I was 15 years old. In fact, I started to perform when I was young.  But, I came to know about the real meaning of profession years later.

(Performing in Japanese National TV)

Who are the musicians who influenced you?

Of course my guru Pandit Monoj Shankar, and his guru Ustad Bahadur Khan. I had a deep influence from them.  Also, I used to listen to R&B music, Rock, Pop, Jazz, and various types of music from my teen age. There is no end to put if I choose some names of the artists.I was learning painting from since I was 5 years old, and later on I graduated in Japanese ceramic art. I was also learning Manipuri dance under the guidance of Smt.Kalavati Devi since I was 21 years old.  So for me, I had influence from not only music. Any kind of art forms inspired me since my childhood. Everything came out through my music.

You have worked with a long list of collaborators in your career. How important are collaborations for you? 

Yes!! I have collaborated with various kinds of artists like, musicians, dancers, poet, visual artists, etc. I am Japanese, born in Japan, but for me Indian classical music and playing of the sitar is like a home, because my first proper music training was in Indian classical music.So, share the music and cultural back ground with some other artist, collaborations is always fun for me and I always get a different kind of idea and energy from those collaborations, then bring it back to my home Indian classical Music.
Luckily I had an opportunity to appear with many renowned artists like, Park Bum-Hoon [composer and conductor from South Korea], Astad Deboo [Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer] in the age of before 30. I learned quality of creation, atmosphere of stage, and many things from those experiences. So, collaborate with someone, perform with someone on the stage is the place to get a big perception also.

(Performing with Ansan traditional music orchestra conducted by Prof.Park Bum-hoon.)

An artist you would  like to collaborate with?

I have deep interest for Georgian Polyphony music for many years; I think that types of melody and harmony can be worked as well with our Indian classical music melody. But I don`t know anyone in that music. I hope that idea can be happen in future. I would love to collaborate with artists like Tigran Hamasyan [Armenian jazz pianist] Robert Glasper [American Jazz pianist and producer] T.L. Mazumdar [ Germany based Singer and composer] and many.

In recent times there has been lot of groundbreaking experimentation with the sitar. 

The Sitar is old musical instruments, but materials, number of the strings; sitar had many changes and improvements in the history. Still now some instruments maker made nice microphone for sitar, some maker tried with new materials etc. Of course it’s important to keep the old tradition, but same time all the instrument maker also should focus about possibility and experiences.

How important is improvisation and more experimentation in the sitar music?

About Improvising, it`s one of the special point for all the sitar players. We can be flexible on any kind of music because our Indian classical music is fully improvised music. It always keep changing.

Could you share with us the importance of Guru Shishya parampara in Indian classical music?

Teacher and Student,  Guru and Shishya, is different things, this  is same in Japan too. I think it`s same in any Asian country. We keep much deeper relationship with guru; also we learn not only music, like musical history, customs, behavior, and true musical training. Those things come out from guru shishya parampara. But that situation is getting change generation by generation now days. It`s difficult to say good or bad, we will see what is the changes in future.

It is often said the future of Indian classical music is facing a huge question mark in our country.  The popularity of this music has so plummeted downwards that only a handful of listeners attend these classical programs, with very few exceptions. Do you agree?

It`s difficult to make a answer, but yes, I agree with that many Indian young generation is getting far from classical music, and also many people say that music listener has been change a lot too. But personally I think, our Indian classical music should be more global. For example, there is many player from China, Japan and India in the western classical music, if Indian people think Indian classical music is only for Indian listener and Indian player, then Indian classical music will stay as just one of the world music. But if they think Indian classical music should be more world wide and international, that music will be flying to new music genre as Raga Music in many countries.

You word of advice for aspiring sitar players?

Our instrument Sitar is such a unique and beautiful instrument, you thinking you have chosen sitar? No, Rather sitar has chosen you.  We always keep strong mind to keep old and deep tradition, we always keep open mind for everything.

Tadao Ishihama Official website -


“Passion is the key element”

Tao Huong, Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Industrial Fine Art and a Master’s degree from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts. She is the  member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Club. Tao Huong is Fine Arts college teacher, Head of Fine Arts Department at Hoa Binh University . For the second consecutive year, the Alliance française du Bengale collaborated with the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam in India for an exhibition of works by Vietnamese artists at the ICCR Kolkata. Tao Huong painting was exhibited. 

What initially sparked your interest in painting as an expressive medium?

I choose art as a way to express my feelings and point of view with life and nature. Sometimes it helps me to speak up, to draw my own dreams. Whenever holding the paint brush in my hand, I feel relieved and be able to get closer to all desires that I can hardly touch in real life. That’s why I’m so attach to art as it also find me many sympathetic friends.

How would you describe your artistic work?

The artistic style that I follow is realistic and sometimes surrealist. Recently my art work tend to follow surrealist more every passing day. However, I still try to remain the softness and lovely vibe in every painting.

What is your preferred medium of work and why?

The materials I often use are oil-paint and acrylic. These two materials can easily impart the ideas that pop up in my head and support me a lot in depicting the beauty of colors through every art work.

What is your creative process like?

To create an art work, I first start off by arranging all the ideas that I’ve already got. The next step is to sketch them out with pencil(black and white).  At the same time I imagine these sketches placed on both rectangular and square canvas to decide which one fits better. Next, I put them all on the fabric by working with oil-paint color. This process may lead to many effects that I myself have never discovered. This is such an interesting process because the art work will still be imposed by ideas but also be guided by sudden inspiration. From that base, I slowly build up until I feel satisfied.

Do you have any specific projects you’ve been wanting to do?

I'm nurturing a project which connects groups of artists all over Asia. I found that the cultural diversity from each groups will attract artists as well as art lovers from other countries. Understand that we all share the same purpose is to seek for beauty in our lives, I’m truly want to arrange more exhibitions in both India and Vietnam. During this time, the artists will have a great chance to explore one another’s cultures.

Any advice to other aspiring/young artists/ creative students?

As an artist and a lecturer, after years of teaching, I found that passion is the key element which decide if you can create high quality art works or not. I believe that it is possible, especially when you draw something your heart wants, which came from the bottom of your soul.


Brothers And Baroque Music.

Daniel Zapico was born in 1983 in Asturias (Spain). Since his early youth he has studied the field of Early Music, specializing in the theorbo in 1999. Along with Xavier Díaz-Latorre, he finished his High Studies with the maximum rating from the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain). In 2012 he earned the Master’s degree in Musicology, Musical Education and Interpretation of Early Music from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) receiving unanimous praise of the court for his degree project about Robert de Visée. As a founding member of the ensemble Forma Antiqva, he has played extensively in important festivals throughout Spain and in several concert tours in Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Serbia and Singapore, obtaining the acclaim of the audience and critics. He performs with Enrique Solinís and his brother Pablo Zapico in Pulsata3. This ensemble won the INJUVE Musical Circuits competition in 2004.

Pablo Zapico was born in 1983 in the principality of Asturias in Spain. In 2006, he earned highest honors as he completed his Advanced Studies in Plucked Instruments with Xavier Díaz-Latorre at the Ecola Superior Música de Catalunya (ESMuC) in Barcelona, Spain. The following year he concluded his Formación Continuada studies and, in 2012, earned the degree of Master of Musicology with a specialization in musical training and ancient music from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. He has also participated in master classes offered by prestigious performers including Laura M. Pustilnik, Rolf Lislevand, Eduardo Egüez, John Griffiths, Juan Carlos Rivera Pecellin, Juan Carlos de Mulder, Luca Pianca, Toyohiko Satoh, and Hopkinson Smith. Pablo has performed as a continuo player and soloist in Forma Antiqva, OSPA, Oviedo Filarmonía, El Concierto Español, Estil Concertant, La Real Cámara, La Reverencia, La Ritirata, Cappella Mediterranea, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, Accademia del Piacere, La Hispanoflamenca, Académie Baroque Européenne d’Ambronay, European Union Baroque Orchestra,and the Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin, among others. In a special concert commemorating the 400th year anniversary of Miguel Cervantes, Daniel and Pablo Zapico played period instruments and music from the time of Cervantes at the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival 2016

How was your experience playing music from the time of Cervantes here in Kolkata?

Daniel Zapico : It was just great! We felt a very warm welcoming from the audience. One could feel they really enjoyed the concert, as they came afterwards to talk with us, take some pictures and ask many things about this music and our early instruments. As this is a classical guitar festival most of them already knew arrangements of the music for modern guitar but now they were experiencing and listening to the original works in period instruments such as the Baroque guitar and the theorbo.

Pablo Zapico : It has been such an honor to be the first musicians ever to be guests in this festival interpreting early music plucked instruments. It is rewarding to see these historical instruments included in guitar festivals.

What has been some of your memorable performances till date?

Pablo Zapico : I believe I can answer from the two of us when I say that one of our memorable performances was as continuo players at the Teatro La Fenice playing Purcell’s ‘Dido & Aeneas’ La Fenice is one of the most famous and historical theaters, and it’s placed in a marvelous city. We got to spend three weeks living in Venice and we saw the city full of snow!

You're often on the roads across various countries, whether to play your music, or to teach master classes. Besides performing, how important is it to teach, advice, and promote new talents?

Daniel Zapico : Teaching is as important as to learn! You need to be open to new ideas always, to listen to other musicians and to understand different points of view. As a professional musician, you must share your experiences with the people who are starting this wonderful but hard way of life. We love to teach and we both do so in our cities, and also when we are on tour. You never know something quite well until you have to explain it.

You have won several awards and prizes at prestigious competitions around the world. What is your opinion about competitions in general?

Pablo Zapico : Competitions are a good way to show yourself to the audience and the professionals that form the examining board, but they shouldn’t determine your career, in terms of success. Sometimes it’s difficult to agree with the board criteria and that shouldn’t be a matter of frustration. What I believe important is to learn something from participating, and understand that you are not alone in your opinion about musical aesthetics. There’s not only one way of doing things correctly.

Do you think they are good for developing young players?

Daniel Zapico : I think it is not. The real prize is the concert and the audience’s applause. I believe that the audience shouldn’t take the prizes and competitions awards as a guide to know who is better or which one they should listen to concerts. Nowadays we have several ways to discover musicians and that’s healthier and more important for us than a competition between us. Everyone in the audience can have an opinion; don’t follow only the members of the jury’s one!

You are active on Facebook. In your opinion, how important can the internet and social networks be to today's musicians?

Daniel Zapico : I often hear that social media is the future, but it is not: it’s the present. For us it’s a wonderful and a powerful tool of marketing and promotion. Through it we have the possibility to connect with other musicians, promoters, festivals and all kind of audience. We have the chance to get a straight feedback from them, to announce our activities and share them with everyone around the world.

Pablo Zapico : I’ve realised that most followers also want to learn other aspects of the artist’s lives. They want to know what we are practicing, playing, and what we are doing before and after a concert. The artists, in exchange, want to break the formalisms of a concert, and reach our audience showing more personal aspects of our lives.

How do you feel about the future of classical music and the future of baroque music?

Pablo Zapico : I always say that early music (that’s to say, music historically interpreted) is a door that, once opened, cannot be ignored. Comparing it to the cinema industry, it would feel like watching a film in its original version, enjoying the rhetoric's, the accents, breathing and the original voice of the artist. The tendency, and the future, goes towards the specialization.

What are your upcoming concerts and projects?

Daniel Zapico : I finished 2016 with a solo recital in Tarnos (France) and I will start the New Year playing the opera «L’Orfeo» from C. Monteverdi in Potsdam (Germany) and Gent (Belgium) with L’Arpeggiata. Also in January I will have some concerts with the famous Spanish singer Marta Almajano and the ensemble Tiento Nuovo, just before I go to La Folle Journée on February, a crazy weekend full of concerts in Nantes(France) to play with Ricercar Consort and also a solo recital with theorbo.

Pablo Zapico : I will go on tour in January with Valetta International Baroque Ensemble through Malta, Madrid and Berlin. Then, in February, I will perform in Barcelona with my ensemble Forma Antiqva and countertenor Xavier Sabata, and later on at the Theatre of the Zarzuela, together with my brothers ensemble, Concerto Zapico, playing ‘Fandango’ There are two upcoming projects that are special to me: I will be teaching my 11th Continuum Masterclass in Salamanca, and a solo recital in Calanda(Aragón),  inside the Festival in the memoir of Gaspar Sanz, the most representative Spanish composer for Baroque guitar.

What would be word of advice for aspiring musicians?

Daniel Zapico : Keep working to find your way of playing. You don’t need to be the best, you just need to create a musical attraction on your listeners.

Pablo Zapico : Above all, don’t try to imitate others. You can learn a lot by studying and listening to the great musicians, but in the end you need to offer more. You can’t be better than those you are imitating, unless you develop your own essence and go beyond.


“Painting is poetry”

YingLi Shao  from Tainan started to learn painting from HungChang Cheng. YingLi participated a joint exhibition “the Four Women” in ChengKung University in 2012. Shao joined Contemporary Art League of Southern Taiwan until present since 2014. Shao held a solo exhibition in Well Gallery in Tainan, Taiwan in 2015. Recently, she was here to attend the  7th International Art Meet organised by The Stadel in association with Dimension 4 (a non profit artists’ organisation in Kolkata).

What initially sparked your interest in painting as an expressive medium?

I’m not only painting, also i like to do some creatives of clothes and potteries.

How would you describe your artistic work?

I’d like to describe my paintings  as like a  poetry.

What is your preferred medium of work and why?

I like to use oil on canvas because i feel like it’s a medium of ancient cultures and there’s plenty of  historical meanings.

What is your creative process like?

I like to play some games on frame before I start to paint, and find  some hidden/ invisible lines beyond the canvas. To imagine the situation then put my instant feelings into it.

Where do you see your work heading in the future? Do you have any specific projects you’ve been wanting to do?

I want to push myself to create some large-scale-pieces. I will start few journeys next year to seek some inspiration.

Any advice to other aspiring/young artists/creative students?

For young artists and students who have great passion for art, it would be nice if there’s any chance to set feet outside of the boundary and experience different culture by traveling.


Highlights of a Tenor Magnifico

Recently, Victoria Memorial Hall and Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi  organised a musical evening of Italian Classics by Marcello Nardis - tenor and Roberto Prosseda - piano at Western Quadrangle of Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata.

Being already recognized as an established pianist, Marcello Nardis made his debut as a tenor in 2003, singing for Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the World Youth Day (Canada). Since then he has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Chung, Inbal, Luisi, Mehta, Muti, Pešek, Rousset, Savall, Steinberg, Zagrosek, Badura-Skoda, Campanella, Canino, Ciccolini, etc. and has sung at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and Salzburg and Ravenna Festival, amongst others.

Mr Nardis, how did you become interested in music and opera? Any influences in your family?

My grandmother was a great opera fan. She used to narrate to me great, magic stories to me as a child, combining Wagnerian memories and plots. This made me familiar with Lohengrin, Brunnhilde, Elsa, and Hans Sachs much more than with the Italian Tosca, Aïda, Rigoletto or Figaro. These 'poetic' contents already belonged to my childhood imagination when I really started my first musical adventure with the flute. I later on moved to piano with a great pianist and teacher named Rodolfo Caporali. He was an old gentleman and a brilliant pupil of a pupil of the last pupil of Chopin... Since I was a child I used to listen to sacred music, just to share moments of intimacy with my father: Gregorian chants, Machaud, Palestrina, Bach Motets and Passions. No opera. There was never opera, if not in my grandmother’s singing, when she tried to put her narrations into sound. I attended my first opera at the age of 12 and it changed my life. It was Nabucco at Caracalla: it was an enchanting performance. I became an avid opera listener, and a few months before my piano graduation in piano I started to play with singers. I used to suggest colors, dynamics, musical intentions, and the best way to transmit my ideas to the singers was… with my voice, singing myself. So I can say that singing was a direct consequence of playing together with singers.

Who are your musical role models in terms of the tenor voice?

A lot of artists, and not only tenors! Every artist can be a source of new learning. Pianists, Violinists, Cellists, Flutists can suggest a peculiar sense of the musical phrase, or how transmit some intentions. Even in this Indian tournée I had the honor to share the stage with a great pianist like Roberto. He is fantastic. Every concert with him has been a different experience: when he suggested a specific color in his playing, I took his color in my singing and vice versa. He gave me a lot of suggestions during his playing. Furthermore, he knows how to breathe “in unison”: this is the greatest quality for who works with singers. Music is made of intuitions, images: singing or playing means to “suspend” your mind as far as you can reach. Limiting the field of my inspiration to singers, I consider Callas more than a model: she is a real archetype. Of course, Lauri-Volpi, Miguel Fleta, Pavarotti, Kraus, my beloved Peter Schreier, Florez are some of my personal points of reference when it comes to tenors. I adore Cecilia Bartoli who taught me a lot!

Which composer do you consider closest to your heart and why?

Mozart is always a deep experience for the soul: you can feel touched by the hand of the Lord. I adore Bach and Händel, Rameau, Couperin, and the Italian repertoire known as Scuola Napoletana: Leo, Porpora, Scarlatti, Pergolesi, Vinci, Jommelli and many others; they wrote gorgeous pages in their operas, intermezzi and sacred music.

Can you tell us about your experience of singing for Pope John Paul II?

It was a great and unexpected occasion, a challenge: I was coming back to Europe after my very first tournée when I received this offer. I had no time to decide when I realized I would have sung for the Holy Father and thousands of people. Today I can say that I had no time to understand exactly what was happening to me, and what kind of milestone was being set in my human and artistic life.

What is the most important element of vocal technique?

Certainly a lot of single factors need to be combined when trying to get the most compete result: breath, focus of the sound, projection... one cannot go without the other, and no artistic performance can be sustained unless all of these elements are present at the same time and in the correct ratio.

How has a career in opera impacted your life?

As I am used to say, I consider myself as “a man who sings”, but I dislike to be labeled as "a singer": we have a lot of different attitudes that we can express in our life, so many forms of art, poetry, taste...  A life truly and deeply devoted to music cannot be fully expressed solely through singing. It needs other stimulation's and it has to draw inspiration from the most varied cultural fields. Obviously singing opera requires a lot of dedication and a particular hygienic style: just like a sportsman, a singer has to pay attention to several risks.

What would be your word of advice for aspiring tenor singers?

Consider your singing as a starting point, and not as a final destination. Through singing you can (you should, in fact) discover a lot of different contents of life. Don't use your entire career focusing on reaching the highest notes... don't aim all your energy on your own voice: the voice is a mean, not a goal.

Roberto Prosseda is one of the most important Italian pianists of his generation. His dedication to the piano music of Felix Mendelssohn, including recording the Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly, have won much acclaim in the press. In2014, Prosseda completed his 10-year project of recording all of Mendelssohn’s piano works for Decca on 9 CDs. In 2010, Deutsche Gramophon selected twelve recordings by Prosseda to add to the box set, “Classic Gold”. Roberto Prosseda has performed regularly with some of the world’s most important orchestras and conductors. He has now embarked on a project to record all of Mozart’s piano sonatas and also to revive the pedal piano which was popular in the time of Gounod, Liszt and Alkan.

Mr Prosseda, when did you know the piano would be your life?

I started playing the piano at two year-old. I soon felt that it was extremely natural for me to make music through the piano. But I would say that music is my life: the piano is just an “instrument” to make music alive.

Tell us about your philosophy as a pianist?

In these days I am writing a book about this question! It is hard to synthesize it in few words. I can just say that I like to share the intense feelings that are in the music with other people, and being a concert pianist allows me to fulfill this wish. Sharing beauty and communicating with other people's souls is a great privilege and helps us to live better, in a more intense and natural way.

What are some of the favorite all-time pieces you have performed?

My repertoire includes more than 1.000 compositions from Bach to contemporary works, written in 2016. Among the most popular pieces, I often play Mozart's Turkish March, which I just recorded for Decca, within my 6 CD's project dedicated to Mozart's complete Piano Sonatas. I often play Chopin's Nocturnes, which are perfectly written for the piano and its resonances. And on YouTube you can also find my own rendition of Beethoven’s “Für Elise”: a piece which is extremely famous, and maybe a bit overrated, but today's it is rarely performed by professional pianists.

What led you to dedicate the early part of your career to the discovery of piano works by several neglected Italian composers, such as Antonio Salieri, Gioachino Rossini and Roffredo Caetani?

I feel that the mission of a performing musician is also to rediscover and promote music which deserves a better divulgation. The piano repertoire is very wide, yet many pianists only focus on the mainstream pieces. I find very exciting to bring new light to the unjustly neglected compositions, and the piano music of Italian composers, as the ones above mentioned, certainly deserves more performances and recordings. When I perform abroad, I often try to include some Italian pieces in my concerts programs. The concerts that I just gave in India with Marcello Nardis were a very good example of promotion of Italian music, and the enthusiastic response of the audiences was a great joy for us.

Teotronico is a standout robotic musician with a good ear for classical. Could you elaborate more on the lecture-concerts you conducted with robot pianist TeoTronico?

I conceived the project with TeoTronico to explain the complexity of classical music to new audiences. The format is a “Piano battle: Robot pianist vs. Human pianist”, in order to show the importance of the human expression in music, which cannot be replaced by any form of automatic or electronic reproduction of the score. Today many young listeners are used only to the midi or digital reproduction of music, and they risk to loose the sensitivity to percept the most subtle nuances, and their meaning in term of emotions and feelings. I think that every artist should do his best to help the audience to a deeper awareness of musical appreciation.

Could you share with us the activities undertaken by  "Donatori di Musica?

Donatori di Musica is a network of musicians, doctors and volunteers, born in Italy 2007, which organizes concert seasons in oncology departments of Italian hospitals. This is a path which I feel very important and hope that will be shared by many others musicians. Music is able to improve ourselves, to take out the best of us, to produce a positive circle of good energies. That is why I cannot stop making music.

Mr Nardis, Mr Prosseda, let’s talk about your duo: what is the main focus of your artistic research, and what differentiates your approach from other ensembles?

Marcello Nardis: There are two basic aspects that Roberto and I share in our musicianship: being chamber musicians and being Italian. What we strive to do is to incorporate these elements in our performances, by combining the value of our professional experience with the heritage that comes with our artistic identity. “Italy” is written all over the birth certificate of opera, but the supremacy of melodrama in the Italian culture shouldn’t cast a cloud of forgetfulness over the precious vocal chamber repertoire that blossomed in the country. The program we performed in India and that we plan to present during our next international tours as well, aims to the rediscovery of this repertoire: Roberto’s first-class experience as a chamber pianist and my expertise in the Lieder and chamber song field appear to create an ideal environment to highlight the worth of this music – that, besides deserving international exposure, still needs to be deeply explored even in its home country.

Roberto Prosseda: Since I was very young, I have always been a passionate advocate of Italian instrumental music. My first CD recording was dedicated to Goffredo Petrassi, and the second to Luigi Dallapiccola (Naxos). I feel that for an Italian musician it is important to promote the great composers of our country, and in particular the lesser known repertoire. For this reason, I very much believe in this new project with Marcello Nardis, dedicated to the vocal chamber music by Italian great composers. I am especially happy to rediscover and divulge a very refined repertoire, which is unjustly neglected still today, often ignored also by the great Italian singers. Marcello is the perfect partner for this mission, as he has a great humanistic culture and a wide experience both in opera and in  vocal chamber music, also in German Lieder repertoire. This makes him an ideal interpreter for this music, as he gives it the right noblesse and finesse, with a full palette of nuances. His interpretations show that these works are gems of poetry, which deserve a worldwide promotion and appreciation.


“You have to have patience and perseverance”

Lautaro Tissera is an Argentinian guitarist who studied at the Conservatorio de Música Popular of Avellaneda (Argentina).He performs on stage as soloist, is part of the Orquesta Típica La Sacada and member of the quartet El Mondongo de Palermo, bands for which he also does composition work and arrangements. Furthermore, Lautaro Tissera is the founder of the Espacio Cultural Don Juan, located in La Plata (Argentina). He still assumes the artistic direction of that Institution. Recently he performed at the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival 2016.

Photo Courtesy - Calcutta Classical Guitar Society
What triggered your interest in playing the guitar?

The guitar was always a very close instrument in my life, as a boy at family gatherings I sang and played the guitar, in my childhood the guitar was always present.

What made tango music so attractive to you?

Tango is a complete musical genre, it has melody, counterpoint, harmonies, polyrhythm’s and all the technical elements of occidental music. On the other hand, it is the classical music of my country.

Who are your favorite composers?

The composer that I like the most is Beethoven.

What are the differences between a classic, and a tango guitarist, when playing tango?

To play tango guitar you must have classical guitar technique, after having a great command of the instrument you can begin to incorporate the technical elements of tango, all musical genres have their own language.

What do you like most about being a musician? What has been your best musical experience?

What I like most about being a musician is traveling to other cultures where Argentine music is not so widespread. The best musical experience was my 2016 tour.

Could you say something about your upcoming projects?

In addition to my career as a concert performer, I manage a tango orchestra called "La Sacada Orquesta Típica" with which I will present our last album in Argentina. In 2017 I have several other projects, including introducing myself to the Kaluga Guitar Festival in Russia, in Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina, I also have several presentations in other countries that I am finishing concreting.

What is your word of advice for aspiring guitarists?

For the guitar you have to have patience and perseverance, the conditions or talent is for the television.


I would love my art to be about how important and brilliant our planet is for all life.

In the field of “Environmental Art” Japanese “environmental artist” Shoko Miki   mainly uses some sort of natural resources as the art materials; soil, stones, wood, trees, leaves and so on. She has been to Fukushima many times to photograph the silent voices of the tiny plants which have lived there alone since March 11, 2011. She also kept making installations with the photos for the people who have suffered diverse calamities all over the world, not only in Japan. Shoko Miki believes that continuing these artistic projects is her life’s work, as all as “praying for” and constructing a “no more” attitude. Recently, she was here to attend the 7th International Art Meet organized by The Stadel in association with Dimension 4 (a nonprofit artists’ organization in Kolkata).

Your primary focus has been on environmental art. What drew you to that? What is your creative process like?

In the field of “Environmental Art”, I mainly use natural resources like soil, sands, stones, wood, and leaves. I would love my art to be about how important and brilliant our planet is for all life.

Where do you derive your inspiration from?

I am inspired by many natural things living on our precious planet and they always encourage me to continue creating more art.

What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?

I believe that nature is as it should be, I simply bring into the key elements my environmental art instead of attempting to make a good composition.

What message do you want to convey through your artworks?

I would like to express and share earth's irreplaceable natural elements with the viewers through my artworks. Unfortunately, it seems so difficult to convey my feelings with words.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

I often say to myself “You can do it as you want, never stop believing. You or anybody else does not know what will happen next in your life. Art is long, life is short.” I hope this message will be good at motivating new artists.

Could you tell us a bit about the future projects that you have lined up?

In January 2017, my exhibition, ‘Takarabune Exhibition’, will be held at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan. In March, there will be the 'Dialogue with Fukushima 2017’ exhibition at the Williamsburg Historical Art Centre, New York, USA. And in June, there will be the ‘Terra-cotta Biennale in Indonesia’ at the ARWA Museum, Bali, Indonesia.


Classical Guitar in the Modern Day

                                                              Pic Courtesy - Calcutta Classical Guitar Society

Noted as, “a talented guitarist and an artistic proponent of the Spanish culture”, Jose Manuel Dapena performed a classical guitar concert commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Spanish composer Enrique Granados at  the 7th edition of the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival. José Manuel made his Carnegie Hall debut in February 2008 and most recently at Columbia, Miami, Kiev, Madeira, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Bangkok, Kirov, Túnez, New Delhi, Moscow and Shanghai guitar festivals. Recently he recorded two CD´s: "Rincón mágico: Complete Turina works" and "Al pie de una guitarra: Guitar music inspired by poetry of Miguel Hernández".Since Dapena first began studying the classical guitar he took classes in Spain with David Russell who had a great influence on his conception of the instrument.

                                 Photo by "Guitarreo"
When were you introduced to classical guitar?

I was introduced by Román González my first guitar teacher in Vigo Conservatory, Spain.

You took classes with David Russell who had a great influence on your conception of the instrument. Could you share your thoughts?

At the age of 14, I received my first guitar lesson from David Russell who shape my nails and when I was an elementary student and put me in the good way for the guitar. I think his teaching influence all guitar world but I was lucky he married María Jesús from Vigo, where I am from, so I had more opportunities to receive his advice.

Are there any composers you’re particularly fond of or inspired by?

Bach is one of my favourites but last years I am focusing in Spanish composers. I will try to be an specialist of these music playing the anniversaries of great Spanish composer like I did with Granados this year.

What is the toughest part of being a classical guitarist?

Practice every day and dealing with office and marketing emails with computer. Also, if you want your transcriptions well publish, engraving music is hard and recording even more.

                                                 Photo by Adolfo Enríquez
What are some of your memorable experiences?

Carnegie Hall debut in New York was one of the most wonderful experiences in terms of career development, an artistic moment difficult to not remember.

Does the internet play a role in your career? And how do you utilise it?

Yes, of course. I also do online lessons and publish all my recordings with iTunes, Amazon etc. Facebook, YouTube are today the only way to be in touch with classical guitar fans.

What piece(s) of advice would you give the guitarists just emerging from the conservatories around the world and what realities do they need to face?

The best they can do is securing a position as classical guitar teacher in a conservatory or in a private studio. Something that you can pay your apartment every month. Then try to concertise as much as you can and carve a niche in any genre of music you like. Chamber music is a good option too. A lot of work can be done accompaniment singers and this music use to be done with piano only. Go to competitions if you like but It takes more than talent to succeed in music. Cultivate an entrepreneurial approach and understand the business side of the profession.

What are your forthcoming projects?

Recording the complete 12 dances by Granador for the 150 Anniversary of the composer.


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