The 8th edition of the International Piccolo Festival took place from the 5th to the 9th of July in Grado (Gorizia, Italy), an event focussing exclusively on the piccolo.
Nicola Mazzanti, artistic director, and Giorgio Tortora, local manager, are the masterminds of this event which is one of the very few in the world, and its well-established history is truly unique.
The festival has always been held in a truly charming and picturesque location, mainly the town of Grado. Its tourism, lagoon, and historical and artistic characteristics present the perfect stage for an international cultural event.
This year the events were varied, numerous, and extremely interesting. Attending were 25 students, as well as numerous auditors, who online could follow the lessons and the events of the festival as if they were in Grado while remaining in their city: making this year’s festival truly special. Our five guest artists participated daily in lessons, workshops, as well as performing concerts. Two special guests considerably enriched the days, and the many exhibitors allowed students and artists to try and compare their instruments, as well as engaging in interesting and informative discussions.
The guest artists of the 2022 edition of the International Piccolo Festival who honored us with their presence are all
piccoloists of orchestras of great importance: Vincent Cortvrint, solo piccolo of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Lior Eitan, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Haika Lubcke, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Marta Rossi, Opera of Rome, and Nicola Mazzanti.
Among the participants were those who traveled from afar to reach Grado; students came from Japan, Brazil, Canada, Europe, and Italy!
Each morning the course began with half an hour of warm-up prepared and carried out by a different teacher; one then moved on to individual lessons, carefully organized and planned so that each student had the opportunity to take lessons with their chosen artists. After having lunch together, the day continued with various events which contributed to the lively atmosphere of this festival! Concerts performed by the teachers, concerts presenting the students, and a concert of the winners of the "S.Gazzelloni" and "A.Persichilli" competitions was among the highlights of the Festival. Interviews with our guests, workshops, and lectures added to make for a wonderful ambiance.
In addition to the five renowned artists and musicians, the festival had the pleasure of welcoming two special guests.
Lillian Burkart is a woman of great competence and culture and the founder of the Burkart company, a renowned manufacturer of flutes and piccolos. Mrs. Burkart spent her days at the festival in Grado, exhibiting instruments, discussing various aspects of the piccolo, and sharing her knowledge with students and faculty. She also related many of her experiences in a lovely interview and an interesting workshop where she spoke about the constructive and structural curiosities of the piccolo.
Another guest was the elegant and eclectic composer-musician Mike Mower. He interacted with the students, gave interviews, and created an inspiring workshop that was much appreciated by all musicians, during which he literally overwhelmed the piccoloists by proposing them play on stage, creating an improvised choir of piccolos! Above all, he dedicated one of his sonatas to the festival, which was originally written for oboe & piano, transcribing it himself for piccolo. The entitled "Grado Sonata" premiered during one of the concerts.
There was continually great enthusiasm in the exhibition hall, where the guest exhibitors welcomed the students and artists, to try and retry an impressive selection of instruments. One could exchange ideas with the retailers, technicians and producers, and even discuss future purchases through having made these valuable contacts. The festival had the honor of having in addition to Mrs. Burkart, the Bulgheroni company, an excellent Italian brand that is world-renowned among producers of piccolos. Among the exhibitors was: My Piccolo, a professional company offering vast experience to serve its customers; its founder is the piccoloist Alessandro Visintini. In addition, we were grateful for the attendance of Daminelli from Bergamo, Onerati from Florence, and Il Suono from Padova: all highly experienced dealers and technicians. Present was also Trubcher Music Editions, a British music publisher.
The end of the course was highlighted by a navigation to one of the islands in the lagoon. Everyone met at the Grado port to travel to Barbana which was this year’s chosen destination. A visit to the island and its attractions, the certificate ceremony at sunset as well as a fish dinner with fresh fish from the lagoon made the evening unforgettable. The final end-of-course party, which began on the island, continued throughout the return voyage and ended up in one of the clubs on the beach of Grado, showing how deeply the days in Grado united students, teachers, organizers, and staff.
The real heart of this festival is undoubtedly the members of the STAFF, four piccoloists, who tirelessly worked together with care, thoughtfulness and passion; combining their organizational, advertising, graphic and technical skills to serve and support the festival. Our thanks go to this amazing team of Daniela Vilasi, Valeria Di Pietro, Francesco Cirillo and Tatiana Fedi.
Looking ahead with the hope that our Festival can continue to grow, the International Piccolo Festival awaits you next year from July 4th - 8th, 2023, as always in Grado.