Fiesole’s Musical Summer Solstice

Maestro Bossi conducting the OGI

A free musical celebration of the summer solstice in the historic Roman Theater crowns Fiesole’s annual music festival on Thursday, June 21 starting at 9 pm.

The Italian Youth Orchestra (OGI) will perform in the midst of ancient ruins and natural beauty, taking the beautiful hilltop amphitheater as its stage and the rolling hills of Tuscany as a backdrop. The young ensemble is to be joined by the renowned Romanian-Sardinian violinist Anna Tifu and Maestro Ezio Bosso, the official artist in residence of this year’s festival. The dynamic composer and piano soloist has been working with the young musicians of the Fiesole Music School.

When Bosso conducts, his love for music is apparent in his body language, every gesture and cue to the orchestra full of energy and passion for the sounds of the ensemble. Even as Bosso talks about music, something similar occurs, his face lighting up with boyish glee. “Music is a responsibility,” Bosso comments, “but it is not a heavy one. It is light, and easy to carry with joy.” He also stresses the importance of putting on more than a concert, but an opportunity to benefit both the audience and the members of the orchestra with a feeling of liberty and an ability to listen to one another.

The June 21 concert, titled “A Hymn to Joy!”, focuses on the greater theme of the festival: exaltation. The program will include well-known masterworks, like Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville, a piece whose simultaneously playful, merry, and dramatic tone is the perfect ode to light on the longest day of the year. The OGI and Bosso will also detour into more emotional territory with Beethoven’s recognizable Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, the perfect way to begin an Italian summer.

At the center of the program is the collective talent of Tifu and Bosso, who together will perform Maestro Bosso’s own Esoconcerto in A and G minor op. 167. Tifu’s virtuosity will be on full display in the piece, which showcases solo violin, strings and timpani.

The preparation for the evening is being supervised by Maestro Bosso as well, who has been leading masterclasses with the young musicians of the OGI.

The concert is free, though requires reservations. Reservations can be made online here.

The festivities continue on Sunday, June 24 with an all-day musical showcase by the students of the Fiesole School of Music at Villa la Torraccia, via delle Fontanelle 24. Ensembles of every type can be found at the all-day music event, which aims to give every student at the school a chance to perform.

The day starts with Alda Dalle Lucche’s saxophone ensemble at 9 am in front of the Villino. The stage in front of the Torraccia house will host solo concerts between 10 and noon, featuring musicians chosen by the artistic director of the school, Alain Meunier. They will be playing great classical concertos from Bach to Mozart, backed by their colleagues from the Vincenzo Galilei orchestra (conducted by the fiery Eduardo Rosadini).

The younger students of the Fiesole Music School will be featured on Sunday as well. The string players and pianists of “Micromusici” and “Piccolissimi Musici” will display their budding talents. Then, “Crescendo,” a group of young pianists will play “The Little Prince” (by Satie) in collaboration with other classes and ensembles to bring the famous French story to life.

From the 3:15 to 5:30 pm the church of San Domenico will be home to various baroque ensembles, playing music by Monteverdi and Rossi. In the Latini Auditorium starting at noona, the Polyphonic and Youth choirs will perform, preceded by a lineup of French showpieces for clavier.

In the chapel, vocal offerings take center stage, with another show by the two choirs, followed by performances by voice students. Meanwhile, the Centro Didattica will primarily host winds, the Latini Auditorium and the Sovrintendenza Classroom will be a stage for new musicians, and violinists and flautists will take to other venues.

Fiesole embraces music of the non-classical variety as part of its festival as well. At 12:20 pm a debut by the “Legalized Jazz Ensemble”—formed by Antonio Siringo’s improvisation class students—will add a dash of modernity to the program.

Special musical guests include critic Sandro Cappelletto, who will talk on the last year of Schubert’s life while Simone Soldati provides illustration at the piano. Additionally, the students of Lycée Victor Hugo (Sinopoli, 11:50 pm) and the Voceincanto Children’s Choir of Arezzo (Latini, 3 pm) will make appearances.

Tickets are €10 regular admission and €7 reduced admission. All proceeds go to Fiesole Music School. For a more detailed program of the day, see the Fiesole Music School website.  (tyler bunton)