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Radio Roma Capitale
Interview with Anna Lisa Bellini
edited by Enzo Ferreri 
Sutri Beethoven Festival 2012 
July 21, 2012

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Radio Vaticana Diapason
Interviews to Anna Lisa Bellini
April 26 th 2010
Sala Assunta

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Radio Vaticana Diapason
Interviews to Anna Lisa Bellini
April 26 th 2010
Beethoven Festival Sutri VIII edizione- 2009

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Radio Vaticana Diapason
Interviews to Anna Lisa Bellini
March 30 th 2010
Beethoven Festival Sutri VIII edizione- 2009

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Radio RAI Three Suites
July 05 th 2009 extracted from "First Line"
Interviews live broadcast to Anna Lisa Bellini and Angelo Persichilli

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Ten questions to Anna Lisa Bellini
27 February 2009 Of Riccardo Lancellotti

Anna Lisa Bellini

1) You began studying the piano at the age of seven. How did you discover that you had talent and who directed you towards studying music and an instrument?
I have a very distinct recollection of the sensations that I had when I experienced music as a child. My family had recently moved to Viterbo and, reflecting on this now, I realize that most of my earliest memories are linked to situations in which I experienced music in my own way: a light blue record player on which I constantly played some singles which I had come to love, my sister’s blue recorder on which I would play notes to recreate melodies, the teacher who would call me out to the front of the class to sing and my mother who conveyed this love of music to me and was able to see the possibility of directing me along this path by sending me to piano lessons.

2) You were a child prodigy. What was this experience like for you? What was that extra something you thought you had with respect to your peers, or what did you envy them or maybe feel that you were missing?
I don’t recall thinking of anything that I might have been missing, I already had what I wanted: a piano at home and a marvellous teacher who soon became a “second mother” to me (as she affectionately defined herself). The extra something that I thought I had with respect to my peers, was the good fortune to have already found my way and the awareness that I did not want to change this. Today I would add my family who proudly supported and defended all my choices. I did not realize then, taking it for granted, that there was anything exceptional in their behaviour, whereas now I often notice that this does not always happen. It was my decision to dedicate such an enormous quantity of hours every day, sitting at the piano, to my “studies” and this has always been a part of my life. I was not able to easily explain this to my classmates and then one day the Latin teacher drew the class’ attention to the original (and often little considered) meaning of the term “study”. The barrier which had separated the meaning that I had always given this word and that given to it by my classmates, which implied a feeling of obligation and negativity, finally disappeared. “Studium” was translated as passion, vocation, attraction, craving, inclination, longing, yearning, zeal, interest, fervour, desire, love, ardour: the list in the dictionary was very long and perfectly exhaustive, it would have been difficult to exclude even one of the definitions.

3) Child prodigies are rare, yet it is in the musical sphere that precocious talent manifests itself most frequently. Amongst contemporary pianists one need only name, amongst others, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Maurizio Pollini, Claudio Arrau. The latter, having performed for the first time at the age of five, later became depressed and had to begin analysis when, at the age of twenty, his debut in the United States was not as successful as he expected. How did you feel on making the transition from being a child prodigy to that of adult pianist?
I will borrow a motto from the violinist and great teacher Wolfgan Marschner: “child prodigies” do not exist only “parent prodigies” do. I believe this gives a good idea of the oppression and manipulation that affects the future of certain great talents, be it at the hands of their families or through the power excerted by success. Often excessive protection can become a form of abuse, by losing sight of the importance in the formation of the personality and character of a child, of simple, small, daily setbacks. I did not experience this and believe that I was simply able, in a very natural manner, to allow all my energies to converge towards studying something for which I was gifted and therefore I obtained results. I do not see anything of the “prodigy” in me. I do see something prodigious, however, in the events that led to my living my life in this way. I still have a very stong desire to learn and my only fear is that this possibility could be precluded. It is difficult for me to clearly identify the change from being a child to an adult as this happened so quickly.

4) May we discuss this aspect in more detail: what did you wish for as a child? Looking back, do you think that your life has developed as you expected, or not?
As a child my dreams were for the short term. Allow me to explain. I have always lived my life as if it were a kind of relay race in which the continuous flow of study constantly rewarded me with the achievement of small goals, which, once reached became the starting point for ever more important goals. I have always lived one day at a time, without a specific final destination, my only aspiration being that of continuing to live with and for music without losing any of my enthusiasm for life. This continues to be true even now and every day that passes adds another small part to the mosaic. What more can I say: when you have the great fortune to be able to be tangibly involved in a Nocturne by Chopin or a Concerto by Beethoven and you see people, for the first time after one of you recitals, whose eyes glisten and who are full of emotion......this is a precious gift and one that exceeds all my expectations.

5) Music is a great and wonderful game (in the highest sense of the term). Maybe this is why precocious talent finds such fertile terrain in the sphere of music. What part of the child pianist at her debut still remains inside today’s affirmed performer?
Sound does not require the mediation of words or gestures and this allows it to be a fundamental vehicle in communication from the earliest age. The purity and innocence of music find fertile terrain in children’s sensitivity and they without doubt discern its emotional strength. I still find within me the capacity to be wonder-struck and the curiosity of a child: each and every day music restores the passage of time. Obviously many parameters have changed as the years have passed and I have had to come to terms with ever increasing professional comittments. Frequent changes of concert programme (often with only a few days between each programme), travel, teaching, managing the Beethoven Festival....life is ever more elusive and precious.

6) Your vast repertoire includes authors from the late Classicism and Romanticism periods (which coincide with the affirmation of the piano), but also reveals great interest in contemporary music. It would be trivial to ask you who your favourite authors are, instead, could you try to define some of them using only one adjective, in order to help us understand their “resonance” within you?
Bach absolute, Mozart perfect, Beethoven complete, Schubert lyrically fluent, Chopin profound, Schumann poetic, Brahms mighty, Debussy limpid, Schoenberg essential, .....but they all are eternal.

7) Alfredo Casella, in his famous book about the piano published by Ricordi, recalls that Ferruccio Busoni used to say that teaching someone to move their fingers over a keyboard is a rather modest task and that a piano lesson should be a lesson on life, or the “essential event that dominates the week”. What lessons were taught to you by your teachers and what, if you find the time to teach, do you try to transmit to your pupils?
You mention one of the greatist musicians in Italian history: Alfredo Casella. My piano teacher, Giuliana Bregola Bordoni, was one of his pupils and this great teacher often dominated her stories and anecdotes. Busoni’s affermation, highlighted by Casella, is a great truth: I still remember, despite the almost thirty years that have passed, that my lesson was on a Friday, in room 11 on the second floor, and that it not only dominated my whole week but also revealed everthing that I had thought or felt during that week to my teacher. She always used to say: “I understand what you are thinking as soon as you sit at the piano and start to play”. And it was true! I owe everything to her; my development as a musician and as a teacher. She had the ability to be moved even if she had heard me play the same piece many times. She was acute and always understood every nuance, she missed nothing. This was immensely gratifying and rewarding. Then I began my specialization with Maria Tipo who, despite her marvellous career as a performer, dedicated the utmost attention to her pupils. She was able to give her invaluable advice at exactly the right moment: not too early, or they might have upset the budding creativity linked to the newly studied sonata, whereas given at the appropriate time they contributed to its growth. The relationship between teacher and pupil when studying an instrument is always out of the ordinary, both in a positive and negative sense, it is always a predominant and decisive bond in both their lives. The sum of emotions experienced in life are simultaneously transmitted and received through music and is is impossible for both the teacher and the pupil not to share them despite the often great age difference. Something new is learned by both of them each and every time and their spirit is touched at every new goal reached, whether they are sitting in front of, or beside, the keyboard. The daily battle to dominate a passage, to refine the expressiveness of sound and to put oneself at stake by revealing the most intimate part of your sensations, are shared. It is possible to say much more regarding this topic and perhaps one should, but it would also be impossible to reach an ideal and comprehensive argumentation through the use of words alone. I have been teaching for many years and only now, as a teacher, do events experienced as a pupil assume evident significance. Those who teach take on enormous responsibility because the relationship is direct, strong and in some cases even runs the risk of becoming oppressive. I try to transmit the correct use of gesture to my pupils in order to permit them to become accustomed to speaking and expressing themselves through their instrument. My other concern is that they gradually become aware of their own aptitude and personal abilities, something they will soon have to manage autonomously. This is very similar to what happens between parents and children.

8) You concieved the idea of the “Sutri Beethoven Festival” ,which began in 2002, and are it’s Artistic Director, a role you hold in conjunction with that of being a performer. What is the meaning of this event for you and what do you believe that you bring to music and to the public through this festival?
I must give a brief explanation as to how the The “Sutri Beethoven Festival” was conceived, thanks to a great friendship and collaboration with other musicians. In the late 80’s the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena selected me, together with the violinist Alfredo Persichilli, to go on tour in Japan. We both realized, from the very first notes of Brahms’ Sonata op.38, that we had great musical affinity (Riccardo Brengola wisely said: “if you have to practise and repractise a piece to create affinity, then there is no affinity”). We have been collaborating ever since and in 1996, together with the violinist Ariane Mathäus, we formed the Trio Reger and we often also perform with the flautist Angelo Persichilli. The “Sutri Beethoven Festival” came to life through this intense collaboration and within the festival can be found the desire to give prominence to chamber music both through concerts and the opportunity for specialization during International Master Classes. The Master Classes offer the participants (from various EU countries) the opportunity to compare themselves and to play with teachers in the different chamber music formations (something which is neglected by our school syllabus). Sutri is also a town which is able to accomodate and divulge cultural initiatives. The Festival concerts take place in sites of inestimable architectual and historical value which form part of the heritage of this ancient town. Hearing works by Beethoven or Chopin vibrate in sites of millenary antiquity is like walking across a bridge which will lead you back through humanity’s history, to the roots of our remotest legends. With regards to the present, directing the Festival allows me to observe the performer’s life from a different point of view, from that of the person who “organizes” the concerts, and as I am convinced that everything that can be done for music is never enough when compared to what music gives us, I am proud of the fact that I try to involve both performers and public in this experience, allowing them to take a step further in this journey of revaluation of this great art form. A nation is the sum of its history and music has always belonged to us. You can see this in the great masterpieces, be they extraordinary and famous, or simple and not often performed. We all have the duty to protect this art form.

9) Despite your youth, you have received a great deal from music. What aspirations do you still have in this field that have not yet been achieved?
I cannot hide the fact that my greatest aspiration is that of being able to share everything that I have received from music, and that which it still gives me with my son. I am determined however not to play a leading role in this process, I will wait and see how events develop. He is still very young and for now we have fun playing together with rhythm and sound. He is very proud to be able to bring his mother flowers after concerts and this fills my heart with joy.

10) For someone who, like you, lives for and through music, it is difficult, even impossible, to imagine an alternative. Please try though, to imagine: what would Anna Lisa Bellini have become if she had not been a musician?
This is very difficult to imagine, especially at this point in my life. I have to go back into my past and extract everything that, shall we say, I “sacrificed”. The first idea that comes to mind is the study of mathematics. There is a certain amount of correlation in my family: my sister has a full-honours degree in Mathematics and fulfils her love of music by singing in a choir, I relax by working on enigmatic calculations. It is commonplace to remark on the strong affinity between mathematics and music, perhaps they both lead to the threshold of eternity, one through the mind the other by elevating the soul.


Radio Vaticana Diapason
Interview to Anna Lisa Bellini
March 02 th 2007
Presentation CD Beethoven Chopin

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Radio Vaticana Dammi un LA
July 24 th 2006 

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Radio Vaticana Dammi un LA
July 02 th 2005
Fragments from Beethoven 4th concert, Liszt's Fantasia Dante, Beethoven Trio Op.1 No.3

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Next concerts

XV Stagione Concertistica Pubblica
Università degli Studi della Tuscia

Auditorium Santa Maria in Gradi
h 5 p.m.

Matteo Bonaccorso flute
Anna Lisa Bellini piano


Faurè  Fantaisie op.79
Reinecke Sonata “Undine” Op. 167 
Debussy Syrinx
Debussy Clair de lune
Debussy Prélude a l'après-midi d'un faune 
Poulenc  Sonata

 

I Concerti di Golfo Mistico a Chiatamone


Matteo Bonaccorso
flute
Anna Lisa Bellini piano

Faurè  Fantasia op.79
Debussy Prélude a l'après-midi d'un faune
Enescu Cantabile et Presto
Reinecke Sonata “Undine” Op. 167
Poulenc  Sonata

14° Stagione Musicale Comunale

Anna Lisa Bellini pianoforte
Gianluca Giganti violoncello
Chopin  
Introduzione e Polacca Brillante op.3
Chopin  
Sonata in sol minore op.65
Brahms  
Sonata in fa maggiore op.99

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