Free Streamed ORT Concert Headlines Two Rising Stars


The Orchestra della Toscana, Kevin Spagnolo and Nil Venditti on the podium

Two young talents are headlined at the Friday, November 20 Orchestra della Toscana concert which will be streamed starting 9 pm.  Lasting an hour-and-a-half without intermission, the event is free and can be accessed through the Orchestra della Toscana You Tube channel and Facebook page.

Nil Venditti, appointed one of the two principal guest co-conductor at the ORT (along with Beatrice Venezi) in January 2020, is just 24.  Trained as a cellist at the Conservatory of Perugia, she received her diploma in conducting from the Conservatory of L’Aquila. Winner of the 2015 “Claudio Abbado” National Conducting Competition, Venditti is assistant to Paavo Jarvi at the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, and has also debuted in prestigious concert halls in Salzburg and Amsterdam.

At 22, clarinet virtuoso Kevin Spagnolo is considered one of today’s most important up-and-coming musicians.  The winner of Geneva’s International Music Competition, he began his studies at age nine at Lucca’s Luigi Boccherini Conservatory.  He has also been invited as a guest artist with renowned ensembles such as the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, where he currently holds the position of principal clarinet.

The evening’s program includes the overture of “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart in addition to the composer’s Clarinet Concerto in A major K 622 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in A major.

The evening begins with the lively Ouverture to Mozart’s opera buffa, ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’. In character, Mozart seems to have composed the ouverture just hours before the opera premiered in 1786, but its bustling nature is the perfect setup to the opera’s tangled web of comedy, romance, misadventure, and mistaken identity. 

The Clarinet Concerto in A, K622, was completed in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death and was originally composed for the basset clarinet, a clarinet that has four semitones added to its lower range. The inventor of the basset clarinet, and its leading virtuoso, was Mozart’s friend and fellow Mason, Anton Stadler. “Never would I have thought that a clarinet could be capable of imitating the human voice as deceptively as it is imitated by you. Truly your instrument has so soft and lovely a tone that nobody with a heart could resist it.” wrote Mozart to Stadler. Even in Mozart’s day, the basset clarinet was a rare, custom-made instrument, so when the piece was published posthumously in 1802, it was arranged to be performed on the clarinet. 

The concert concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony n. 2 in D major, Op. 36, written between 1801 and 1802. The work is dedicated to the Austrian Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowksy, one of Beethoven’s most important aristocratic patrons at the time. Beethoven had moved into the Viennese suburbs worried about his increasing deafness. In spite of his personal trials however, the Symphony n. 2  is  one of his most energetic, cheerful, and outgoing works. The scherzo and the finale are filled with Beethovenian musical jokes, which of course, shocked the sensibilities of many contemporary critics. (rosanna cirigliano & anne lokken)