19 January, 2020
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Music breaks the barriers of language and goes beyond superstructures, judgments or stereotypes

Nil Venditti is more than a promise, in the field of classical music. Born in Perugia, 23 years ago, she is a real “magic wand“. Despite her young age he has already directed many orchestra. Recenty she has performed with famous soloists like Fazil Say at the piano and the Philarmonica of Ljubljana or Vladim Brodsky at the violin and Rossini’s symphony. In October 2017 she won the second prize, and the special prize of the orchestra at the Jeunesses Musical competition in Bucharest with Lup Octavian at the cello. Now she is attending the master’s degree in conducting at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich under the guidance of Master Johannes Schlaefli, one of the world’s most famous master for conductors.

 

Nil Venditti

What is your link with Umbria?

I was lucky enough to be born in the beautiful Perugia in a curious way: my mother is from Ankara in Turkey, she came to Perugia to study Italian at the University for Foreigners. My father, is from Ciociaria, he was born in Rome, came to Perugia supported in his studies by the ONAOASI. They met in front of the Fountain Maggiore, in Piazza IV Novembre, and there, their love story began.

You started studying and playing the cello, when did you decided to become a conductor?

More than choosing it, I was directed to it. I played in the Juniorchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia and one day the conductor, Master Simone Genuini, decided to encourage some of us to direct , for educational purposes. He must have noticed something interesting in my gestures because he directed me to the best schools and suggested  methe best Italian teachers.

At the age of 23, you have already directed a Christmas Concert in the Chamber of Deputies and one at the Quirinale and in 2015, you have been awarded the Abbado prize instituted by the Miur: where do you want to get there? What is your dream?­

It seems perhaps banal, even a little naive, but my greatest dream has always been to change the world through music. Music has supernatural power, capable of breaking the barriers of language and communicating directly with that part of us that does not depend on superstructures, judgments or stereotypes.

How do you make yourself obey by an entire orchestra?

Rather than being obeyed by an orchestra, I would say that it would be better if you succeed in seducing its components. If you get on the podium with humility towards people who are unquestionably much more experienced than me, you will always meet smiling eyes and, I dare say, musicians will be always ready to help you in order to realize a wonderful concert.

And above all how do you transmit your ideas, your vision of music to the other components?

The first rule to convey your ideas is to have them in mind. The clearer the musical idea is in your mind, the easier it will be to find a gesture for expressing it. Then it is clear that when the gesture is not enough we can resort to the use of the word, but this usually occurs rarely.

A necessary characteristic for a conductor?

Empathy. Anyone can study music in every smallest detail for years and years. But what can not be learned is the ability to communicate with many living beings in a few thousandths of a second and be able to create a serene and productive work environment.

The gestures that a director  seem almost made by chance: which  are the characteristic of the relationship to create with the orchestra?

Every little movement of a conductor is always a concentrate of information for one or more instrumentalists. There are no movements that means nothing. In general we use the right hand to give information about the rhythm, while the left hand to manage the expressiveness and interpretation of the piece that is being performed. The orchestra is always to be considered as a family and the conductor as a stranger, “a guest” who becomes part of that family for a couple of days. It is clear  that, not with all the orchestras there is always the same feeling but in any case we should be able to build the best possible contact so as to be free to perform the concert without stress.

The Umbrians, and especially the citizens of Perugia, have the reputation of being closed: do you consider yourself as a close person?

I was born, grew up and I learned to love it. Of course having traveled so much, I do not recognize myself  in this characteristic and I can not say whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Green, warm, protected.

The first thing that comes to your mind thinking of this region…

The wonderful Umbrian hills in the summer, covered with that particular green that we only have in our beautiful region.

«When I arrive in Citerna, I wonder why I came. Then, after a couple of days, I resume the human rhythm of these places and I would not leave anymore.» 

Journalist, television and radio author for Rai and La7, editor for Stream and film director for Tele +, everything driven by a single passion: cinema. Alessandro Boschi, born in Città di Castello, often returns to these places to rediscover the human dimension that this land can give.

 

personaggio-umbro

Alessandro Boschi

What’s your connection with Umbria, considering you have been living in another region for a while? 

Surely it is a register bond, since I was born in Città di Castello and grown in Citerna. In Umbria I have my family and memories related to my childhood. I often go back, especially to find a more human dimension. In Rome or Milan we lose these rhythms, everything is more frenetic, but my job has led me to forcedly leave Umbria. 

You deal with cinema: do you think Umbria is well exploited in this area or should it be strengthened? 

It is not badly exploited, but in Umbria it would serve a mapping of all the activities related to the cinema because, while being small, it has different ones and very interesting: I think of the cinema festivals, such as the Cdcinema in Città di Castello, of which I am the president, or Umbria Film Festival in Montone. They need structures that would organize and connect to each other all the small realities related to this world. Finally, the Film Commission should be restructured and have a greater power, as has in other regions.

As radio and television programs author, if Umbria was your program how would you enhance it? 

Umbria has identified and well exploited its  vocation – I think of the religious one. However, it would need external contaminations. Let me explain it better: we would keep our traditions, but they would have to be guided by someone coming from outside, to take away that provincialism that does not allow that real jump of quality that Umbria deserves. The region has to open up more and accept external contamination, which can only make it grow and improve. 

Have you ever felt that Umbrian stereotype of being narrow-minded, or did someone make it notice to you? 

Of course it exists, but no one has never make it notice to me. Perugia is even more closed: when I was in the college – I’ve been here for little time – I did very little friendship with people from Perugia. Umbria, unfortunately, has no mental openings, is an anachronistic reality. It needs social legitimation and it is necessary to open up our eyes as soon as possible and integrate.

Three words to describe Umbria

Appetizing, quiet and introverted.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about this region … 

I think about the map. The fact that Umbria is the only Italian region that has no outlets, either on the sea or on other countries, that it is closed and surrounded by other regions. Perhaps its closure can also come from this. 

He wears the captain’s armbund of Sassuolo every Sunday and, as a real midfielder, he runs and recovers balls for his team.

Francesco Magnanelli, born in Umbertide and raised in Città di Castello, is a DOC Umbrian, one of those who love territory and simple life, rather far from the stereotype of the modern footballer. He is a halfback, a dirty and hard work. A job done for the others. He started from the youth league of Gubbio and came to the Europe League with his Sassuolo, always carrying a piece of Umbria in his heart.

 

magnanelli_sassuoolo

Francesco Magnanelli, 33 years

What is your link with this region?
It is my land, my original family, my friends. I have a very strong bond with this land and for that I try to come back as soon as I can. I spent my holidays in Umbria, it is a very special and fascinating place. For me it represents simple things, the countryside, barbecues and barefoot walking.

So you still consider it your home, even though you have been living in another place for  years?
Of course I consider it my home. I always say that I have two houses: one in Sassuolo and one in Città di Castello. In Sassuolo I have my wife, my children and my work; in Città di Castello there are my origins and sometimes, when I am there, I do things I used to do when I was kid. I enjoy the countryside, together with a simple and real life.

In your field you are an Umbrian excellence: do you feel a bit of a representative of this region and of Umbrian sport?
Without exaggerating, I’m just a boy who has managed to get out of Umbria, a region that curbs you. I’ll tell you better: Umbrian young people often go to Perugia to do the university, but only a few of them really go away. Somehow it makes it hard to get out of. If I think of the soccer world, there are so many football schools, but there are few guys who can do extra-regional experiences. Today, I have to say that the situation has a little improved, you can hear of names of emerging young people who might have opportunities, but until a few years ago it was all blocked. In short, it is still difficult to get out of Umbria.

Can this happen with sports?
Exactly. Every village has its own team and there are so many football schools and by improving them, focusing on young people, we could stimulate sport, but also the opening up to the outside.

After your career, will you come back here or stay in Sassuolo?
I still do not know what I will do, for now I take life as it comes. Let’s see in the next few years.

What does it mean to be an Umbrian out of Umbria?
Umbria is a place you really appreciate when you live outside it. You can see from afar all its merits and its defects, that perhaps by experiencing it you do not perceive.

What are the advantages and what are the defects?
The benefits are tranquility, history, art, culture and simple traditions. Traditions, however, can be a double-cut weapon and become defects if they curbs you and block development. Among the flaws there is the lack of proper infrastructure, just think of the fact that Umbria is hard to reach by trains and roads.

What about the stereotype of being withdrawn: did someone or did you notice it?
No. Maybe only Umbrians notice this narrow-mindedness. For everyone else Umbria is a paradise. They only see the best and when they talk about Umbria they talk about it as a happy oasis, a perfect place to live.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?
Charming, origins – just one hour at Città di Castello and start talking straight into dialect – and nest meant as a simple life shelter.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about Umbria.
My return to the origins, to simplicity, to motherland.