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Cipriana Smărăndescu Teaches Italian Children How to Play the Harpsichord
What was it like to move to Italy, to Rome?
It was wonderful to move to Rome, albeit very difficult; because it isn't very easy to enter the musical society of an European capital. Everything looks extraordinary when you look from the outside; but when you get to know the tangible reality, things get tough, but, more than ever, when you manage to do something right you are even happier with what you have accomplished. Musical life in Rome is varied, it offers unlimited possibilities, but it has also very high standards, so the demands are great. Fortunately, I have managed - step by step - to meet several great musicians, very talented, very important, with whom I have created an early music group here, in Rome, and thanks to them we managed to establish a musical life at the Accademia di Romania; of course, it mostly revolves around baroque music, which I believe is very important. The audience likes us; they come to our shows, and this gives us double satisfaction: firstly, a personal one, and secondly, a satisfaction related to the fact that a Romanian person can show the world, at the Accademia di Romania, that Romania has great talents in the field of early music, as well.
What is the name of the group you play with?
The group I play with started under the name of 'Aliusmodum'. Now we have broadened our perspectives and we include contemporary music, as well, so the group is now called 'Altre Risonanze'. One of its members is Mauro Lopes Ferreira - the first violinist of the Italian concerto led by Rinaldo Alessandrini, a violinist that plays with Jordi Savall's group, so we are talking about a very high level here. There is a quartet including him and Pierlugi Tabachin and Diego Roncalli, who are both renowned musicians in Italy who teach at various conservatories there, and play with very important groups.
Is it difficult for a Romanian artist to stand out in Italy?
No! We should consider that the Eastern European music school, the Romanian one, is regarded very well. Italians often say that they study less, while we study much more, we are more thorough in what we do, and I can say this has been an advantage. When you are diligent and you show your qualities, people appreciate you and look at you keenly. I have never faced problems related to my not being an Italian woman, on the contrary, I have been regarded nicely and I can say I have managed to form a wonderful music group where we are all friends.
Do you remember your first concert in Rome?
Of course, I do. The first concert in Rome was a harpsichord recital in 1998; I was at the Accademia di Romania, I had rented a marvelous instrument, built by Andrea Di Maio, a very well-known harpsichord manufacturer. It was an amazing concert and I shall never forget it. I also have fond memories of the first concert of the 'Aliusmodum' ensemble in Rome, it was the autumn of 2004 and I played within a quartet - all of these are moments one does not forget. Besides these events, I shall always remember a few other concerts at the Oratory of Gonfalone in Rome.
Do you believe you have an extra advantage for having launched your career in Italy, as well? Where do you see yourself in the future: here or in Romania?
I don't think I have an extra advantage, I think I have the advantage of living in Italy and playing in Italy, and of doing what I like both as far as concerts and teaching are concerned. Luckily, I have my own instrument here, it is a copy of a historical instrument, and somehow I have the power to do exactly what I like. I don't know if I would have had these things in Romania. Besides my love for the stage, I have been moving towards teaching for the past few years; I even managed to attract four-year-olds who start learning how to play the harpsichord. I already have a class consisting of 5-6 harpsichord students, which is fantastic. So, I believe my love for this instrument is somehow related to - and I dread saying it - Italy alone. I have tried to come back to Romania as a harpsichordist and I wasn't welcome.
Translated by Irina Borțoiand Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University