Cristiana Pegoraro is an Italian internationally renowned pianist , defined by the New York Times “an artist of the highest caliber.” She will grace the Carnegie Hall in New York next November 17 with a her concert “Omaggio all’Italia” ( Tribute to Italy) .
Here’s what we talked about.
You left home at only 16 to pursue a career as a pianist. Where does the passion for piano come from?
I believe I had this passion since I was very young. I remember my mother aking me if I wated to start piano lessons when I was five, at that time I already I was already playing with musi in the kindergarten. Yes, my long love story with piano begun that day. Over the years nobody has ever had to force me to study piano. I was often told “Study less and go play with other children!”
First of all I love my country and I am proud to be Italian. Unfortunately, however, working in Italy is not easy, especially in the arts, and this is a contradiction because Italy is the country that holds the largest artistic heritage of the world. I found a lot more respect for artists and for culture iIn countries that do not have the privilege of having an artistic heritage like ours. Their will to support arts is bigger and there are countries where meritocracy still exists and the bureaucracy does not kill the desire to do so.
Artistically speaking, this project is the most important thing I made so far. It was an indescribable amount of work, 9 hours of study per day for about a year, but a journey that made me even more closer to who I consider my favorite composer. It was an opportunity to dig into his music, his personality. It has been a galvanizing journey and I learned something new every single day of it. The beauty of Beethoven’s music is that you never reach the end, you never end up to just a single truth. Facing all of it as a woman was a great challenge because Beethoven is the “machoest” musician of all.
Aside being a musician, you’re also a UNICEF ambassador and in 2005 you received World Peace Award at the Lincoln Center in New York from the Italian Cultural Club of the United Nations for your efforts in supporting world peace. Tell us about this side of yours.
Being testimonial of UNICEF, as well as other humanitarian organizations, is an important commitment that I embraced with much enthusiasm. Peace is one of the fundamental values of our life. Receiving the United Nations World Peace Award was a great emotion and it is always an inspiration to continue to promote the message of love and brotherhood through my concerts and my music.
I believe that an artist, and in general all those who through their activities attract the attention of an audience, have a duty to give voice to important messages. We must remember that many people in the world don’t have guaranteed the basic conditions of existence. This is why often, during my concerts, I act as spoke person of projects in support of world peace, or initiatives to combat violence against women and children.
You also organize the Narnia Festival, an annual festival of art, music and culture. Can you tell us about it?
The Narnia Festival is the expression of the love I have for my homeland, Umbria, for art and for the youth. The Festival, for which I am the creative and artistic director, is held every summer in Narni , during the second half of July. It is a large container of art that merges a vast range of offerings under the guidance of professors from major universities of the world. There are programs about Italian language and culture in collaboration with the Italian American Committee on Education, as well as culture and leisure programs for tourists and initiatives aimed to enrich the knowledge of the historical, architectural and spiritual side of Umbria. The Narnia Festival (www.narniafestival.it) has among its committee Katia Ricciarelli tenor Marcello Giordani, actresses Maria Rosaria Omaggio and Lisa Gastoni, RAI journalist Massimo Giletti, Mariah Carey, Olympic champion Massimiliano Rosolino and ballerina Natalia Titova, as well as the famous writer and director Enrico Vanzina. On 20014 we also received the Medaglia del Presidente della Repubblica award.
You have just started your world tour “Omaggio all’ Italia with 20 concerts around the world. What is the purpose of this tour?
The tour is an opportunity to share with the public in various countries the musical heritage and inspiration that Italy has offered over the centuries. The idea behind the program is to lead the listeners through the musical art of the greatest Italian composers or musicians with Italian influence. It is a personal and innovative proposal that combines the performance of piano in stories that involve the audience in a live contact and in an atmosphere of great expectation and participation.
Where will you see you next?
I will play Nov. 17 at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York. It will be a great emotion present the program “Omaggio all’Italia” in one of the most important concert halls in the world.
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