‘There is nothing like this’: despite the pandemic, conductor Gianluca Marcianò assures the InClassica Music Festival is better than ever
Ahead of his performance conducting the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra during the the InClassica International Music Festival in Malta, Gianluca Marcianò, the Artistic Director of the Lerici Festival and Principal Guest Conductor of the National Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus, gave an interview wherein he discussed his upcoming performance and offered a reminder of the importance of culture during times of crisis.
The music keeps playing
Much like every other profession, the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March of last year caught Marcianò by surprise-- one day, everything seemed to stop in place. Although the situation was and is dire, Marcianò says that he tried to make the best of things, using the period to reflect on the ways his personal and professional life intersect. Approaching the situation pragmatically, he also began to strategize safe and efficient methods to continue performing, contesting the notion that music is simply a luxury:
“Culture is necessary, it's one of our necessities in life because it nurtures the soul. Even doctors tell us that if we get depressed then our immune system goes down, eventually fails and so we get sick much easier. Then we are weak in front of this kind of illness.”
While musicians have been hit hard by precautions and forced to find temporary solutions such as virtual concerts, Marcianò stressed the importance of live music, and his hope that things would return to normal sometime in 2021. Regardless of what happens, however, Marcianò believes that the music industry can learn from the situation and grow.
“I remember as a teenager buying CDs and having to be very careful in my choices as I only had a small budget. I was also learning in the process. Now there are too many choices. It's like when you spoil a child. How will he be able to appreciate the value of a present he receives if he already has everything?”
In other words, the scarcity imposed by the pandemic might actually offer us the opportunity to appreciate music in a deeper way, reminding us not to take anything for granted. At the same time, however, the music industry has to adapt to changing conditions: while we might not want to drastically shift to totally online platforms, enhancing and supplementing live performances with contemporary technology is a must.
Star-studded friendships and collaborations
On a less dire note, the musician discussed his friendship with the famous tenor Joseph Calleja, who he describes as one of the most “humble and generous colleagues” he has ever worked with. In the course of their friendship and professional collaboration, Marcianò says he has learned that Malta and Italy are more similar culturally than one might expect. The two have a storied history, having previously performed together in Malta with Eros Ramazzotti. Although some of their plans have been disrupted by the pandemic, the two still plan on having a concert together on the 23rd of January at the Ljubljana festival in Slovenia.
The Classica Malta International Festival: back and better than ever
On the topic of upcoming concerts, Marcianò is currently preparing for the European Foundation for Support of Culture’s (EUFSC) Classica Malta International Festival, which the composer also participated in last year. Despite the difficult global situation, Marcianò stressed that the festival is poised to be better than ever:
“The staff that are working on this project are incredibly professional, serious and devoted to the cause I must say. These are all elements, ingredients for a successful story, and now you can definitely say that the festival that is coming in 2021 is probably the most incredible festival of 2021. The numbers of stars are almost absurd, it’s incredible!”
Marcianò previously worked with the EUFSC at a piano competition in Rome.
At the Classica Malta International Festival, Marcianò will be conducting the work of Alexey Shor, a composer who poses certain challenges for performers, but is always a hit with audiences:
“I have seen many times the happiness of the audience when they listen to the music of Alexey Shor, this is success.”
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