Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi was born in Atessa on December 26th 1980. He began studying the accordion at the age of nine and, later on, he took on the bandoneon. From 1993 to 2001 he studied at the “F. Fenaroli” Civic Music school in Lanciano (CH, Italy) with M° C. Calista and with M° Cesare Chiacchiaretta.
In 2007 he graduated with a first-class degree at the “Santa Cecilia” Academy of Music in Rome, Italy.
He has attended specialization courses in Italy and abroad with J. Mornet, W. Zubitsky, A. L. Castaño, C. Rossi, Y. Shishkin, M. Pitocco.
In July 1998 he was selected to represent Italy at the World Trophy C.M.A. (Junior) in Recoaro Terme, Italy.
In 2001 he won the World Trophy C.M.A. (Senior) in Lorient, France (21st-24th September).
In June 2002 he was a guest at the “Premio Barocco” – broadcast live from Gallipoli on Rai1 – and performed with the famous singer Antonella Ruggiero.
In October 2003-2004-2005 he took concerts as a soloist with the International Orchestra of Italy in China and Korea.Weill, under the direction of J. Webb.
In 2005 he collaborated with the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome and the Symphony Foundation “Petruzzelli” of Bari to produce the Opera “Ascesa e Caduta della Città di Mahagonny” by Kurt Weill directed by M° J. Webb.
In 2006 he guested with Gabriele Mirabassi and Pietro Tonolo at the Montreal Jazz Festival – “I colori del mare” – thanks to a project of the EGEA record company.
He has guested several times at the programme Domenica In (RAI 1) and played with the RAI Orchestra conducted by Pippo Caruso.
In 2008 he performed with his bandoneon at the 58th edition of the Festival di San Remo, Italy.
In 2008 he recorded the soundtrack for the film “Caos Calmo” by Nanni Moretti and in 2009 the soundtrack for the film “Italians” by Giovanni Veronesi – among the actors: C. Verdone, R. Scamarcio and S. Castellitto -. Both the soundtracks are by Paolo Buonvino.
On 25th May 2009 he played at the Colosseo (Rome) with M° Andrea Bocelli, Angela Gheorghiu and Andrea Griminelli together with the Abruzzo Symphony Orchestra. The event “L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra” was in aid of the earthquake victims of Abruzzo. It was unique and worldwide broadcast on RAI 1 and RAI SAT.
On December 25th 2010 he performed with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Concerto per la Vita e per la Pace (Concert for Life and Peace), worldwide broadcast by RAI in Bethlehem.
On January 1st 2010 he played as a soloist in the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana for the Newyear Concert at Teatro Comunale in Florence.
In January 2011 he performed for the Fondazione Arena di Verona at the Teatro Filarmonico with the Orchestra dell’Arena di Verona.
On June 1st 2011 he performes at the Arena of Verona together with Erwin Schrott during the festivities for the 150th anniversary of rhe Italian unification. The show is broadcasted live by Rai 1.
On August 1st 2011, supported by the Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia directed by M. Omer Wellber, he plays as a soloist in the first ever performance for Accordion-Mandolin-Mag Tape and Orchestra of “The retourn of the Jackals”, by the Israeli composer Michael Wolpe.
Together with Erwin Schrott and Anna Netrebeko he performed in the most important cities in Germany, England and Denmark in 2012.
In the same year he recordedthe DVD “Live in Portofino” on a guest appearance with Andrea Bocelli. In 2013 he performed on a guest appearance with Andrea Bocelli, Riccardo Cocciante, Pino Daniele and Simona Molinari at the event “Teatro del Silenzio”. On February 22 2014 he performed as soloist at the Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul together with Andrea Bocelli.
From 15 to 19 April 2014 he was protagonist in the production of the “Verdi Dance” choreographed by Misha van Hoecke at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome.
Besides performing in Italy, he has been taking concerts in England, France, Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, the U.S.A., Poland, Portugal, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary, Canada, Armenia, Russia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus and China.
So, let’s start from “the end”… you just replaced Roberto Lucanero in charge of the artistic director of PIF in Castelfidardo. A beautiful heritage and above all a great responsibility … what are the innovations that take back this “historic” event?
I am honored by this opportunity that the mayor has given me, I will do my utmost to make a really special edition, not to mention all the good that has been done over the years by my predecessors.
I can not talk about the details as soon as we will start the meetings that will lead us to understand how to best structure an issue really important: the fortieth.
One thing I want to clarify, I would like to be the artistic director for all, all accordionists of all companies and all citizens.
Your concerts take you around the world with big international music. From the experiences with soprano Anna Netrebko in those with Andrea Bocelli. The accordion does not really have no boundaries… tell us something of your past and future projects…
In these years I’ve had the opportunity to play in more than thirty countries, wonderful experiences as a soloist, soloist with orchestra and various projects.
I’ve had some wonderful collaborations with musicians such as Andrea Bocelli, Erwin Schrott, Anna Netrebko, José Carreras.
A beautiful collaboration that has lasted for several years is the one with the composer Roberto Molinelli, after many concerts around the world came out a album entitled “Cine y tango”.
We should not forget that you are also Professor of Accordion at Conservatory “Fausto Torrefranca” in Vibo Valentia. What are the prospects for young accordionists in southern Italy? There are job opportunities for musicians?
I devote much time to teaching, I always try to instill in my students the desire to do and build something important.
I have had many students of great talent, guys who have distinguished themselves in national and international competitions, I have given them a lot of my time but in return they gave me a lot of satisfaction and I am grateful.
I recognize that youth of southern Italy have a great ability to get excited with determination.
Do you feel more accordion or bandoneon player?
I definitely feel more accordionist, but I’d rather not hear either of them, I try to be free to think about the music and the instrument whatever it is: it’s just a means to make music.
You watch a bandoneon and inevitably think about the works of Astor Piazzolla… there is a different literature? Except for the “genius” of Argentina, is there any other artist and composer worthy of consideration?
Over the years I have had the opportunity to involve various composers, especially Italians, to build a new repertoire for both accordion and bandoneon.
In 2008 Andrea Scarpone, a young composer, wrote a concerto for bandoneon and strings: was a fantastic job, from the first run to the Minsk Philharmonic was born a DVD called “Live in Minsk.”
Another work that I want to emphasize again for bandoneon and string is “Inside” by Fabio Conocchiella.
You have studied and worked with some of the greatest contemporary accordionists. What is your point of reference, the role model, if you have one …
I was fortunate to work with many teachers. It is very important to deal with the various schools of thought, from all I have tried to capture the best.
I strongly believe that there is not a role model, you should not become clones of anyone, so you have to listen and create your own identity.
We fly with fantasy… your son asks you to study the accordion, do you trying to dissuade him? Seriously, what is the best system: piano or buttons system, the basses in fifths, chromatic, or what else?
This problem does freaks me at all, because in the meantime I do not have children and then, as I said earlier, whatever it is the instrument is simply a means to express ourselves.
I think there is not a better system than another.
Would not be the case to “standardize” a universal system to the delight of the producers and maybe even teachers?
The first standardization already reached important objectives, will still take years to reach other goals.
The accordion is a still too young instrument, still has to travel and experience many ways to reach its own identity.
If you could go back in time, would always be “accordion”?
After noticed recently that within my name there is the word accordion I do not think I could have chosen otherwise.
This article is available also in: Italian