When did you start playing guitar and why?
We approached ourselves to the guitar in different times. Mario began at seven years old moved by the spirit of emulation against his father who was performing with electric guitar in a group of the sixties. Luca has undertaken the study of the instrument to eleven years old, after being fascinated by some executions of classical and modern guitar virtuosos (Segovia and Van Allen mostly). Marco started by himself very late, almost as a joke, around 16/17 years. Sharing a passion for guitar with friends and wanting to deepen the study of the instrument, at 20 years he enrolled in a course for classical guitar: from that day on the study of the instrument has become a fundamental part of his livfe.
What did you study and what is your musical background?
Mario: at seven years old I began studying privately. At eleven I entered the guitar class of the Donizetti Music Institute in Bergamo and, under the guidance of Giorgio Oltremari, I graduated with honors at age 19. I later attended courses with Angelo Gilardino and Tilmann Hoppstock, while I undertook parallel study of the electric guitar, self-taught. I then graduated in Musicology, always at Donizetti Institute,and in second-level instrument. Despite having a classical education, I love listening to a lot of rock and heavy metal, that I play even as interpreter and author with a rock group of friends.
Luca: I joined the Institute Donizetti in Bergamo, graduating under Giorgio Oltremari’s leadership. I was a member for several years of a rock band from Bergamo. For classical music I prefer the big baroque concerts and symphonic music from nineteenth century. About rock have a special devotion for great virtuosos like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Tony McAlpine.
Marco: from twenty years I have carried out parallel studies in musicology and the study of classical guitar, ending in the same period. I graduated by the Conservatory of Piacenza under Marco Taio’s guidance. I later attended master classes with Carlos Bonell and Giulio Tampalini and I achieved the best result the Second Level Diploma in Guitar Institute Donizetti in Bergamo, after two years of study with Luigi Attademo. It 's very difficult to summarize in a few lines my musical background. If I have to mention some reference point, I would say definitely Bach and many composers of the twentieth century: Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartok ... but also Charles Mingus, Jimi Hendrix (I’m left handed too..). About my personal listening i have preferences for chamber and symphonic music, where I get the main ideas for my interpretations.
What guitars do you play and what guitars have you played?
Luca has a Masaru Khono Special '89 and Mario a Masaru Khono Special '92. Marco currently plays a guitar made by Lodi brothers, but he has played for several years a guitar made by luthier Michele Della Giustina.
How did the Trio Chitarristico di Bergamo start?
Mario and Luca first met while studying at the Institute Donizetti, while Marco and Mario met in Cremona, both studying at the Faculty of Musicology. In the summer of 2008 we found ourselves in an orchestra of guitars led by a guitarist friend, Paolo Viscardi. That was an opportunity to meet again, and in a short time the idea was born, and so we gave life to the Trio Chitarristico di Bergamo.
How did you get the idea of your cd "Light Shadows of Ideas"?
Starting from the study of several nice transcriptions, we focused ourselves more and more actively in the study of the works for guitar trio. And we continued our research motivated by the desire to discover and learn even contemporary works. Playing many scores by Italian living composers had the effect to push themselves to compose and dedicate more new music for our Trio. After a few years, in a natural way, we get to the idea to reunion all these scores in a CD.
What is the significance of improvisation in your music research? Shall we talk about improvisation in a repertoire so encoded as the classic one or we're forced to leave it and turn to other repertoires like jazz, contemporary, etc?
It 'a very complex problem. Improvisation in "classical" music has always existed, at least until the beginning of nineteen century. The deepening of the concept of "repertoire" in the romantic era has pushed the schools of music, especially conservatories, to specialize themselves more and more in the training of interpreters, sacrificing the creative aspect that has remained the prerogative for composers only. Knowing how to improvise means knowing how to compose extemporaneously; a lot of contemporary music leaves wide spaces for improvisation, as well as Baroque music or other ancient music .. The problem is mainly bound to the nineteen century and nowadays we still suffer the legacy of educational and cultural setting tied to a static repertoire’s conception and a secularized musician’s figure. Nothing forbids us to learn to be performers, composers and improvisers. The modern education tends to unite and not to divide these aspects.
Berlioz said that composing for classical guitar was difficult because you had to be first and foremost a guitarists, these words have often been used as a justification for the limited repertoire of classical guitar in confront to other instruments like piano and violin. At the same time it has been more and more "confused" by the growing interest that the guitar (whether classical, acoustic, electric, midi) collects in contemporary music, not to mention the success in pop music, where electric guitar is now synonymous of rock music... what do you think it’s still true about Berlioz’s words?
Berlioz gave these observations in a specific historical context. The guitar began to be supplanted by a repertoire whose favorite instruments had a most sound impact. However, Berlioz’s words sounds somehow still present. Almost all the scores that we recorded in our CD for example were composed by guitarists-composers and part of the guitar repertoire is linked to the name of musicians who have learned the practice of the six strings. However, if we think of the twentieth-century repertoire for guitar, many masterpieces were conceived by authors who have often collaborated with their interpreters. But guitar still scares, this polyphonic instrument still requires a thorough knowledge, without which a lot of music that could be written would be not executable or otherwise with a low emotional impact. As for the modern guitar, whether electric or acoustic, we do not think that has challenged the classical guitar, simply we talk about a different instrument, which prefers other techniques and other types of repertoire (not necessarily incompatible).
Luciano Berio wrote "the preservation of the past has a way too negative, as it becomes a way to forget the music. The listener gets an illusion of continuity that allows him to select what apparently confirm that same continuity and censor everything that seems to bother it", what role can historical and musicological research get in this context?
The phrase Berio think is addressed to the detractors of the avanguard, but should be contextualized. Making musicological research, in function of performance practice and rediscover the masterpieces of the past does not mean closing the door to the "new", indeed it could be used as a valuable mine to allow the new music to break the feared continuity.
I sometimes have the feeling that in our time music’s history flow without a particular interest in its chronological course, in our discotheque past and the future become interchangeable elements, would it present a risk for an interpreter and a composer of a uniform vision? A "globalization" of music?
We think that it’s the duty of a serious interpreter select in his discotheque valid recordings, according to a criterion of choice that involves careful listening and a strong critical thinking skills. Nowadays (especially in the web) we face a so wide music offer that go beyond the simple need of the listeness, who face a lot of music in a very volatile and superficial way. It’s a duty of attentive listeners and good interpreters fight this superficiality, because the technological means nowadays, if well used, offer great advantages.
What are your next projects?
Recording a cd of nineteen music for guitar trio.