Donato Santoianni is an accordionist with Mediterranean soul that is expressed especially through his original compositions, with a romantic and melancholy playing. Through these he talks rattles off the most significant highlights of his artistic excursus.
You started your career as a keyboard player, and then shift the focus on the accordion. How did you decide to dedicate yourself to the accordion?
The passion for music, I was sent by my father (also accordionist), I turned eight years that just took me by a very good teacher of accordion and piano to conduct a study. I started with the accordion, but little hard, because at that tender age I considered it as an instrument for the elderly, so I decided shortly after to switch keyboards. But after so many years I rediscovered the importance and potential of the accordion, then the passion and love led me to resume at full speed the study of this wonderful instrument.
You have collaborated on several musical with the Comprehensive School of San Martino in Pensilis. How have you created this opportunity?
It was born a bit ‘by chance, thanks to my friend teacher’s role in the Institute Comprehensive who contacted me asking me to help him to create a musical. From there I have begun any other experiences with a lot of teachers, who saw me at work and then I asked my collaborations.
Since you was fifteen years you started to study jazz music. When and how did you fell in love with this genre?
From the outset I come from popular music, to which I have devoted myself for several years. It must be said, however, that even at the time I felt rising within me a passion for jazz and jamming. This passion is also gradually grew through listening and knowledge of great artists who have shaped the history of this kind, sending me great emotions and desire to increase the knowledge of jazz.
“Parisienne”, one of your most significant original compositions, was awarded in Benevento in 2006 and in Teramo in 2007 and in several composition competitions. What is the genesis of this song?
“Parisienne” was created following the path of studying composition and arrangement undertaken with the teacher Renzo Ruggieri, with which I graduated from the course jazz. It was my first composition for the accordion and I honestly did not expect it would bring me such great satisfaction, so that I get, in addition to Benevento awards and Teramo, even great visibility through participation in the Accordion Festival “Leo Ceroni Prize” of Castel Bolognese, accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Modena.
As composer, what are your main muses?
More than inspiration is perhaps the desire to understand how much music there is in me, which leads me to carry out various compositions. I would also add, without presumption, that my strong point is melody, in the sense that whenever I take the accordion, instinctively come out of the magical melodies. This personal creative ability has been noticed by my teacher and also by many colleagues. I am very proud about it!
You carry a busy teaching schedule as a accordion and keyboards teacher. What are the top tips that pour out to your students?
The first thing that I try to convey to my students is the importance of music as art and culture, through which you live and transmit the most beautiful emotions. To do this it is important to have passion and perseverance, without which it would be impossible to realize the dream to become a musician.
It was a wonderful experience, too bad it only lasted two years. I must say, though, that we realized the event “Campomarino Accordion Fest” experiencing huge success. The most precious memory in the first year, as I was able to pick up my son on stage that he was just seven years. He played with me, with two accordions, a couple of tracks, with the support of my group. It was a unique experience!
With the album “That’s Mine”, produced with “Donato Santoianni Trio & Quartet,” you’ve got two awards: “The Orpheus Award” and “At This Land Artists”. What are the predominant features of this important recording project?
The realization of this CD began unpretentious and expectations. Instead, to my surprise, he brought me immense satisfaction. The album is contained all my musical past, until now. Precisely I do not know what his predominant characteristics, or perhaps there is a particular feature, but the feedback I’ve had I think the most obvious features are the choice of songs, custom arrangements and my three compositions: “That’s Mine”, “Ballad For Renzo” and “Hidden Love”.
What is the concert that rewarded you most in all?
Given that all concerts were important and rewarding one that most left me an indelible mark was the live held on the occasion of the presentation of the disc “That’s Mine”, in December 2011, also because it was the one where I could enjoy the presence of my father for the last time.
There are upcoming news regarding your recording career?
It is in the pipeline plans to build a second CD with unpublished songs composed by myself. I hope to succeed as soon as possible.
This article is available also in: Italian