ArticlesFeaturedIssuesSeptember 2021

The 7th International Piccolo Festival in Grado, Italy: A Recap

The 7th International Piccolo Festival took place in Grado, (Gorizia, Italy) from July 6-10, 2021. This year’s edition of the IPF was very special. Nicola Mazzanti, the Artistic Director, wanted to create a place for full immersion into the world of the piccolo, exploring its endless facets and nuances. Our days at the IPF were characterized not only by lessons, but also workshops, interviews and time devoted to concerts held by Guests and International Artists. Every morning a different teacher led the collective warm-up, explaining their personal idea of sound and what exercises are the best to improve it. After this, individual lessons were offered. This year each student had three individual lessons with three different teachers. In the afternoon, after the lunch break, one could take part in workshops and concerts. In this special atmosphere, participants met and worked with Guests and Artists of International fame; performers with prestigious orchestras and important teachers from the most renowned academies. Last year, as a result of the COVID-19 situation, the festival was cancelled. During the last months preceding the opening of the 2021 edition of the festival, the pandemic forced the staff to frequently change and modify the event’s program. Despite the difficulties and with a great amount of effort, the staff managed it successfully!

This year’s participants were very lucky to have five great Guest Artists: Natalie Schwaabe (solo-piccolo – Bavarian Radio Orchestra and teacher at the University of Music & Performing Arts Munich), Nicola Mazzanti (Artistic Director, former solo-piccolo -  Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, teacher at the Lucerne University, the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and the Conservatorio "Verdi'' in Milan), Nicole Esposito (flute professor and head of the woodwind department at The University of Iowa School of Music), Jocelyne Fillion-Kelch (solo-Piccolo - Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra,) and Pamela Stahel (piccolo – Philhamonia Zurich (Zurich Opera) and  teacher at Zurich University of the Arts).

During the covid-19 pandemic we discovered a way to integrate the best aspects of technology at the Festival. This has been very inspiring! The result was that for the first time, the Festival had an online connection! It was a huge effort but we made it possible to view and enjoy all IPF’s events in live streaming, allowing viewers to interact with Guests with an online pass. This pass allowed one to participate at the festival and continues to give everyone the possibility to revisit all of the recordings for lectures, workshops, guest artist’s masterclasses, performances and daily warm-ups as well as concerts.

All the online events included a Q&A session with interaction between Guests and Students both in-person and online. This year the Special Online Guest Artist was Lowell Liebermann who, one evening during a beautiful sunset, gave an interview with Nicola Mazzanti. Two fascinating online workshops were also offered: “Body Mapping for Flutists'” with Rena Urso & “Piccolo Maintenance” which was presented by Janet Kinmonth (Keefe Piccolo Company). A third workshop with all our Guest Artists discussed “The three most important things to focus on for an orchestral audition”.

Listening to others perform is an important element of our professional experience and growth.  Live performances give us the opportunity to develop new ideas while sharing special moments together capturing the beauty of music. The world premiere concert focused on new works; several of which were commissions. One had the chance to hear some of the latest additions to our piccolo repertoire.

The magnificent Basilica of St. Euphemia of Grado hosted the Guest Artists’ concert. Accompanied by a chamber orchestra, they played well-known works of the piccolo repertoire as well as various transcriptions. The presence of the legendary flutist András Adorján made the evening extraordinary!

This year’s International Piccolo Festival brought special attention to young piccoloists, presenting a concert with winners of the 2019 “Severino Gazzelloni” Competition: Elena Ricci and Julie Romenstant.

The presence of exhibitors has always been an important and popular part of the festival. This was unfortunately not possible this summer.  We do hope that next year we will be able to continue with this tradition. Piccoloists love to have the opportunity to try out and discover new instruments and discuss their different characteristics with the builders themselves. In the past, a special interview with James Keefe from Keefe Piccolo Company completed our festival’s program. Last year an event with Lilian Burkart, founder and President of Burkart Flutes and Piccolos was planned.  The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone the event until next year.

The staff worked to make this year’s festival even more exceptional than ever. The level of our participants was superior. These young musicians came from all over the world and ranged from students, studying at well-known conservatories to solo piccoloists from international orchestras. They truly accomplished their goal to present the most exciting and unforgettable edition of the International Piccolo Festival, due in large part to the collaboration of the incredible Guest Artists and the respectful and positive energy of the participants.

The Guest and Student feedback help to make this visionary project even bigger and richer. This year’s International Piccolo Festival concluded with the final student’s concert. Our young piccoloists performed a beautiful chamber music concert. Every year the organizers strive to create a synergy between learning and sharing time together. The unification of our Piccolo community and the making of new friends are the most important elements for IPF’s Staff. After the conclusion of the student’s concert, we all boarded a boat for a trip and party in the lagoon of Grado! 

The internationality of the festival confirms that the interest and attention to the piccolo today is increasing in the music scene, and this is verified by the continuing increase in demand and the high level of participants. Each year the festival reaches its maximum registrations within only a few days.

To find more details about the International Piccolo Festival, visit our website and social pages:


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