Casalmaggiore International Music Festival 2015

Greetings from the homeland! I’ve made a safe and happy return to Canada and am looking forward to some fun projects in the coming months. In the meantime, I’d like to share a little update about my time in Casalmaggiore, Italy this summer.

Casalmaggiore International Music Festival (CIF) is always a bustling hive of activity, and this year was no exception. It was wonderful to be reunited with many dear friends and colleagues, and of course, to meet many new ones. There were at least two concerts every day, held in Casalmaggiore and the surrounding communities.

performing Frederic Rzewski's "Study II (Dreams)"
performing Frederic Rzewski’s “Study II (Dreams)” in the Museo Diotti courtyard. Another performer has left signs on the stage and disappeared, for Ben Vautier’s “I Will Be Back in Ten Minutes”

CIF has taken on more and more contemporary music projects in recent years. Inspired by previous “Contemporary International Musical Exchange: CIME” concerts we have performed, Casalmaggiore’s wonderful Museo Diotti planned an exhibition of Italian Fluxus artist Giuseppe Chiari to coincide with this year’s edition. Called “Giuseppe Chiari: Quit Classic Music”, the exhibit was curated by Anna Vergine and Gabriele Fallini in collaboration with Casalmaggiore-based musicologist Vittorio Rizzi. I worked carefully with CIME director Megumi Masaki and Vittorio to develop a program of Fluxus pieces and “events” to coincide with the closing of the exhibition. After many hours of rehearsals, our concert took place on July 24, outside in the museum courtyard.

conducting an international language choir in Alison Knowles's "Newspaper Event"
conducting an international language choir in Alison Knowles’s “Newspaper Event”

Curators Vergine and Fallini were special guests at our concert. Mario Chiari, son of the late Giuseppe Chiari travelled from Florence to attend. It was a beautiful and emotional evening, a true celebration of Chiari’s work. The audience in attendance was also surprised by many of the events – for example, the concert programs were distributed by being thrown as paper airplanes and crumpled paper balls in Mieko Shiomi’s “Fluxversion 1”. In my seven years of attendance at CIF, this may well be the concert I am proudest of! I thank festival director Anne Shih for giving CIME such a great platform this year, and Megumi, Vittorio, and the many contributing musicians for all of their hard work.

Vittorio Rizzi, Everett Hopfner, Mario Chiari, Megumi Masaki
Giuseppe Chiari: QUIT CLASSIC MUSIC. After the concert, with Vittorio Rizzi, Mario Chiari, and Megumi Masaki

The complete concert, including numerous audience interventions and three pieces by Giuseppe Chiari, was recorded by the festival. I will post links to the videos once they are processed and uploaded to the festival’s YouTube channel.

Casalmaggiore International Music Festival has become a very special place for me, in fact I’ve come to refer to it affectionately as my “summer home.” Thank you to the terrific administrative team and to the wonderful people of Casalmaggiore for welcoming us into their beautiful community and sharing in so many special memories for yet another year. Thanks also to the Manitoba Arts Council for its support of my attendance this year.

Up next: concerts in Brandon, Lethbridge and Neepawa. Stay tuned!