An Interview with Giulia Panchieri: the youngest member of the Organizational Committee


Born in Lucca, Giulia had her first contact with the world of music thanks to the creative vision of her mother, who enrolled her in a music course for pre-school children. Then she attended the preliminary music course at the Institute L. Boccherini of Lucca and later the viola class of Prof. Claudio Valenti, with whom she continued studying until her diploma. At the same time she attended the Machiavelli high school of Lucca and since graduation has devoted herself entirely to the study of the viola and the musical profession.

After earning her degree, she moved to Lugano to study with Maestro Danilo Rossi, principal viola soloist of the Teatro alla Scala, with whom she earned in two years her Masters in Music Performance. “The Lugano experience was undoubtedly important for me: it was the first time that I lived abroad and that I challenged myself far from home. The result was very positive: I met many young musicians, made friends, expanded my horizons and above all, improved my playing. The most comprehensive experience for me was in the next three years, when I had the fortune to study at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Coppet (Switzerland) in the class of Maestro Ivan Vukcevic, principal violist of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. They were very hard years of intense study, but of course with many satisfactions: I had the chance to play around the world in prestigious concert halls and festivals, to receive lessons from Maxim Vengerov, Artistic Director of the Academy, and learn discipline and respect for this craft. I still remain tied to Switzerland collaborating as a violist in the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano.”

What inspired you to become a violist?

I always preferred the tone and color of medium-low register instruments; they are closer to my character but I was undecided between the viola and the cello. What helped me to decide were the human and artistic qualities of the teacher who held the viola chair, Maestro Valenti.

Who were your principal mentors?

I thank all the teachers I have had until now; with Maestro Danilo Rossi I developed over the years a very strong relationship: professionally, for everything he has taught me, and also on a human level, he remains for me the main point of reference in Italy. I feel a special gratitude to Maestro Ivan Vukcevic: I owe him so much. He allowed me to study at the Menuhin Academy and has patiently followed me for three years teaching me so much; his rigor remains a beacon for me. Finally I will always carry with me the moments spent with Maestro Vengerov and all that I learned from him.

Musicians (eg. Conductors, soloists, colleagues) that have left a strong impression on you?

Maxim Vengerov, for his discipline and his extraordinary musicality

Gyorgy Pauk for his timeless seriousness

And then all of the high-quality soloists that we orchestral musicians have the privilege of observing while playing in concert together: Marta Argherich, Misha Maisky, Mario Brunello, Radulovic

What is your current job?

I have begun to work more continuously just recently, until last year my main activity was studying, even though at a very young age I got to play in important orchestras, such as the Teatro Regio di Torino and the Teatro alla Scala.

At the moment I work with the Tuscany Regional Orchestra and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana.

I continue doing auditions in search of a stable position in an orchestra.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?

The job of musician, as in all of the professions that involve art, is as beautiful as it is difficult and exhausting. What gives me the most satisfaction is the achievement of a goal after a long preparation, the moment of the concert after weeks of study, for example. I also really enjoy the teamwork involved when we prepare concerts in an orchestra or in chamber ensembles.

Are you working on some special projects?

I have in mind some projects, mainly aimed at young musicians: the creation of a festival in which they are finally the protagonists could be a start … Let’s see if I have the strength to carry them forward.

What do you think about the violistic environment in Italy?

I am critical of the Italian system of musical education, particularly that for the viola. Students in Italy are very slowly formed, they become “formed” violists later than other young Europeans, and are often forced to move abroad in search of adequate training. An act of truth is necessary to that effect: if our young musicians often decide after finishing their studies to continue their specialization abroad, there must be a reason, right ?! There is not a large school of reference, a national academy that would attract young Italian and foreign talents; internationalization is essential in today’s world. As always we rely on the skill of the individual teacher but without the support of a system that functions. The old and new energies are not lacking in our country, but we have to get them to communicate and create a “system”.

At the congress you represent the younger generation. Can you tell us about your experience as a young Italian violist today?

As I said, to further my education, after graduation, I had to move abroad. On a personal level it was an enriching experience, though sometimes difficult to sustain; certainly an indication that the Italian education system is not up to standard. Then I experienced personally the fate of Italian youth of today: even in the world of music we are witnessing the precariousness of the workplace. Auditions for fixed positions are increasingly rare and instead are replaced with auditions that swell the ranks of the substitute players. This, as well as having very negative consequences on the lives of young people, also affects the quality of orchestras. As a musician and citizen I ask for a change of perspective so that Italy may once again occupy the place it deserves in the international music scene. The young Italian musicians should make themselves heard.

What do you think of the Viola Associations?

To be honest I only know the Italian Viola Association (AIV). Even before the organization of the Congress of Cremona, I appreciated their initiative of the ViolaFest, real violistic marathons, of one or more days, on a city, regional or national level. The gatherings are important because, as we all know, they become opportunities of stimulus, for sharing, opening horizons, a chance to perform and thus improve. This is the purpose of the AIV which I fully support and respect and to which I am committed to give a hand.

Have you participated in other congresses? What do you expect from the Cremona Congress?

Unfortunately I have not participated in other conferences, so Cremona will be a first with a bang! I expect above all a big party, people with their violas on their shoulders and smiles on their faces walking in the streets of Cremona pleased to participate in the Congress.

I expect a great time of sharing and growing, a full immersion in all aspects concerning the viola. I expect to have the opportunity to learn having fun and getting to know many violists with whom there may be the possibility to establish beautiful friendships and professional collaborations. Two words on the title and central theme we have chosen for the Congress: Connecting Cultures and Generations. I hope it is a small seedling for a change of course in the Italian music scene toward greater attention and altruism on the part of the “old” and more experienced generations towards the “new” who are entering the world of work and that often, instead of finding arms outstretched to help and accompany this process, find walls and obstacles difficult to overcome. That from here begins a message towards greater internationalization of the Italian musical world. It takes more curiosity and openness towards the experiences of our foreign colleagues. And that merit prevails! Always!

A message to the violists who are reading this?

Meanwhile, participate in great numbers! Occasions like this are very rare in Italy. And then, have fun!!

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