‘Gli Amici della Musica’: A New Vision for the ’22-’23 Concert Season

Andrea Lucchesini, the new artistic director of the ‘Amici della Musica’

Change is big news for a 100-year-old musical organization in a 400-year-old theater.

The 2022/2023 concert season of the Amici della Musica will be the first produced under their new artistic director, pianist Andrea Lucchesini, who is taking over for Domitilla Baldeschi, appointed Honorary President of the organization.

Since its inception in 1920, Gli Amici della Musica has brought world class musicians to the 17th century Teatro della Pergola in the center of Florence. The magnificent venue provides a stage for talent from around Italy, Europe and the world. For over a century, the Amici have hosted concerts in this elegant theater—matching beautiful classical music to the theater’s marble interior architecture, massive chandeliers and red-velvet trimming.

No one knows how to juggle a contrast better than Lucchesini, who has just begun his first season at the helm. An acclaimed pianist himself, he is bringing new ideas as Gli Amici della Musica adapts to the post-pandemic norms of live music.

“The world of classical music has changed,” says Lucchesini, “and concert organizers can’t approach audiences as they did in the past.”

“Being an international musician was really important because, during the concerts tours around the world, I was able to see what people liked, what didn’t work, what programs the audience was attracted to,” he added.

Lucchesini has already created new initiatives for the upcoming season with that innovation in mind. The Ritratti (or Portraits) series will bring in a variety of contemporary composers to showcase their work in Florence but with audience engagement at the forefront.

“Sometimes there are contemporary music concerts and they’re not really understood or appreciated, so we will be inviting composers who will talk about their music to the audience, even to a younger audience,” said Lucchesini.

The series will present different composers, each of whom has been asked to create a chamber concert that puts their own compositions in dialogue with one or more great historic works that inspired them.  The selected Ritratti guest artists come from a large swath of the contemporary classical music world.

Gli Amici della Musica will also be expanding its scope this year. With a series titled Musica &…, other art forms will coexist alongside classic music, ranging from film to poetry to mimes. This mini-festival will pay tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini, an Italian film director, writer, actor, journalist, playwright, and political figure of the 1900s.  Notably, one concert will mix a vocal and piano performance with the work of Pasolini.  Pasolini was controversial in his day and remains so today for his at-times brusque style of communication, yet he remains appreciated for his contributions to the culture and politics of 20th century Italy.

Lucchesini stresses that the Amici della Musica will still bring in “big names” and “important soloists,” but his vision will bring a breath of fresh air into the storied offerings.

The new season will inaugurate October 15 when the Italian Youth Orchestra will interpret compositions by Mendelsohn and Tchaikovsky at the Teatro Verdi (via Ghibellina), as the Teatro della Pergola is undergoing renovation.  The next day, October 16, brings the debut of the Ritratti series with contemporary composer Silvia Colasanti (b. 1975).   (andrew checchia)

For the complete schedule, visit amicimusicafirenze.it.