Giorgio Albanese is a creative, eclectic and curious explorer, kaleidoscopic and interesting accordionist and composer. In this interview he tells the most important events that have marked his artistic life.
Although young, you were Italian representative, three times, to the prestigious “Trophée Mondial de l’Accordeon”. How was this experience?
The performance aspect has always interested me at the highest technical level and the preparation for competitions challenging objectives, which I consider as a training for the general growth. Basically I like to constantly get involved in various aspects of my life, and this was one of those.
Throughout your fantastic career you have collected a plethora of significant partnerships with renowned international musicians, including: Steve Potts, William Parker, John Tchicai, Mirko Guerrini, Eugenio Colombo, Michele Rabbia, Gianni Lenoci, Pino Minafra . What and how much you’ve learned musically and humanely by these champions of jazz?
All great musicians, artists and generally the great men have in common more or less the same things. It is simply united by great values, great passion and great projects. I must say I learned a lot from many points of view, but above all the human aspect and leadership.
At some point of your rich professional excursus you have warned the physiological need to seek its own expressive identity through the accordion, shaping this instrument at your own highly personal way of understanding and living music, considering it not only and exclusively as a popular instrument, but as a medium that would offer you the chance to experience constantly. When and how have you given birth at this brilliant idea?
It’s always been in me a certain curiosity and openness that made me think about music, art, life, and also my instrument, as a potential to emancipate and not to spoil. I was always very careful to the tradition, but I consider wealth of information to know and actualize not as a mere result of a nihilistic contemporary man, not knowing where to go, just look back. In other words, being born with the accordion, but having an open vision of music, I could not get naturally try to see my instrument from a personal point of view, synthesis routes, ideas and projects acquired over the years.
You are also very prolific as a composer. Theatre, dance, film and visual art are four noble disciplines to which you dedicated. What do they represent for you these experiences?
As always with the curiosity and the courage to experiment, or shuffle the cards in accordance with a vision, an idea, certainly taking responsibility to succeed or fail. Get in the game is not taking itself too seriously, but looking straight at me the opportunity to create something personal with all the means we have today. This gives me the impetus to resisting, persisting and being.
You are active as a jazz accordion teacher in the world, you hold several master classes and seminars. In which way you are interfacing with your students by teaching and human point of view?
My approach, as a teacher, starts from a holistic approach to music, enhancing the student’s strengths, but at the same time bridging the weaknesses. I try to communicate openly love for music and for the discipline they need, but in the same way the beauty of the learning process, as it is the most creative and personal at all and perhaps the most important.
As interest in collecting the accordion today among young people?
I could not answer precisely this question, because it depends on what you mean by interest. In this world there is a demand and supply, which are influenced by internal and external factors mixed together by an apparent randomness of events. I believe that the accordion is slowly making headway in its escalation to this day, but you must do so much more to many points of view. As a result, unfortunately, young people are the final link in a somewhat ‘jammed chain in a system that really just represents them.
The teaching and the concerts are two different things, closely linked to each other, but not really comparable. Both are of vital importance to me, since I own the civic sense of being an artist today, considering the music is also a way to help do good to others in various forms.
You’ve had the honour and privilege of limestone the stage at all latitudes: from Europe to South America, from America to Oceania, from Asia to Africa. Places different, culturally and socially very different. What are the most precious memories of these concerts?
Thanks for pointing out that. I played in about twenty different nations. I could tell funny anecdotes and others a little less. Not to sound superfluous, but the most precious memories are in the scents and colours of the trips themselves, but above all interior enrichment that allows you to see your own country and your own with new eyes territory, gaining an increasingly strong link with what you do. However, assuming that their work is carried out with clarity of purpose and especially with nobility.
There is a particular nation in which you’ve never performed in which you want to express your music?
Japan is a country that I love, in whom I have never performed. Who knows, one day …
Your mind has projected the construction of new recording projects?
If you had to keep in mind only my musical ideas would crank out least a couple of records a year. I work also as a sideman with various musicians, but as a leader, I realize that today’s music in Italy (and beyond) is going through a very intense period of rapid change and that the musicians themselves, as well as the experts, are not getting. For this reason it is not easy to propose new and alternative projects, especially if you do not know where their ideas to flow and go into the hands of those. Personally I decided to weigh my choices based on what they have fertile ground to be developed in the right direction. The answer, however, is yes! Arrive beautiful news soon.
This article is available also in: Italian