ORT Benefit Concert for the Ukraine


William Chiquito

The Orchestra della Toscana String Ensemble is holding a special benefit concert for the Ukraine in Teatro Verdi (via Ghibellina 99) on March 25 at 9 pm.  The musicians will play the music of Mozart, Schubert in Mahler’s transcription and the world premiere of Bach pieces modernized by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The performance is being held to support members and family of the nearby Ukrainian parish. It is located in the Church of St. Michael the Archangel just behind the theatre in piazza San Simone.  Admission ranges from €15 to €17.

The ORT soloists will be led by the first violin William Chiquito. The program includes seldom-performed compositions, which nontheless, are a part of the history of chamber music. The evening starts with Mozart’s Divertimento, a work written when the composer was an adolescent and experimenting with music for string quartets. The result can also be interpreted by chamber orchestras, and already reflects Mozart’s precocious talent. 

A long forgotten unpublished piece by great Florentine composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco will be the heart of the concert. His revised and modernized version of Johann Bach’s Partiture in B minor for violin will be played for the first time ever.  The original take was first performed at a Bach festival in Los Angeles in 1951, when Castelnuovo-Tedesco was still living.

Another piece is a rearrangement of Quartet in D Minor D.810 by Gustav Mahler, one of Schubert’s most beautiful and heart-breaking string quartets. The music piece is better known as “Death and the Girl,” and is an explicit reference to ‘Lied for voice and piano’ written by Schubert in 1817. Seventy years later, Mahler transcribed the song for string orchestra, emphasizing its dramatic character.

Born in Medellín, Colombia, William Chiquito had a tough childhood, but he was introduced to music via social projects, including access to a youth orchestra, commonly offered in many Latin-American countries. In 2006, Chiquito received a scholarship offered by painter Fernando Botero and moved to Italy, to study at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole (Fiesole School of Music), where he later became a teacher.  Chiquito is also the head of the Henao Quartet, established in 2014, in Rome, with artists from the Orchestra Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. The ensemble received international recognition as the best quartet of the year in 2019.  (ted de veer)