Davide Vendramin studied at the Milan Conservatory, the University of Turin and at Hochschule der Künste of Bern (Switzerland). As a soloist he has performed with the Orchestra Sinfonica “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milan and Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome performing, in the first national, work for accordion and orchestra by Salvatore Sciarrino (Stories of other stories) and Sofia Gubaidulina (Under the Sign of Scorpio).
He has collaborated with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin, with the Orchestra del Teatro “La Fenice” in Venice, with the Symphony Orchestra “Musical Afternoons” in Milan, with the Philharmonic Orchestra “Arturo Toscanini” in Parma, the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Berner Symphonie Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and renowned conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Daniele Gatti, Wayne Marshall, Ingo Metzmacher.
With the Orchestra Sinfonica “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milan conducted by Giuseppe Grazioli was in the incision of the complete orchestral works by Nino Rota for Decca.
He teaches accordion at the Conservatory of Vicenza.
Let’s start from the beginning. What was your path? It was a learning linear, driven by passion, or has been uneven, with thoughts and reconsiderations?
I started out of boredom, or rather, to escape the boredom. The school was over and I waited three months of vacation, doing nothing, or almost. I was 8 years old and my uncle hugged the accordion to spend some time in a different way. I have not left.
Fortunately I had the opportunity to study almost immediately with the free bass instrument, the first essays, many competitions, graduating from the Conservatory of Pesaro and a two-year Masters on contemporary music at the Hochschule der Künste of Bern. Yes, there were and there are still times when I wonder if I could play another instrument, the rare moments when I wonder if I could do a job away from music, but basically it all started by accident and okay, I’m a happy and fulfilled person.
Can you talk about his experience as a teacher?
Currently I teach at the Conservatory of Vicenza. Since my arrival, I realized that the accordion aroused great interest and curiosity among colleagues. I took the opportunity to make sure that my students could do as many experiences as possible and carry out projects outside the conservatory can only realize accordionists more prepared and lucky. I can cite for example, the execution of the Sieben Worte for bayan, cello and strings by Sofia Gubaidulina, Concerto for accordion and orchestra Pohádky Václav Trojan, the Astor Piazzolla’s Double Concerto for guitar, bandoneon and orchestra, Opal, accordion and orchestra by Richard Galliano, as well as compositions dedicated to my students and performed by them in the latest edition of the Venice Music Biennale.
What does it mean today to play the accordion in a differentiated and competitive music scene?
First, do not betray their nature for the easy money. The risk to satisfy the laws of the market inevitably leads musicians to tackle different genres in a superficial way, often to the limits of amateurism. In the years of training I suggest to my students to deal with more genres and styles so that at the end of the path everyone can take “his way”.
One of the strengths of a conservatory I think it is just that. Especially with the new courses of study, students can attend classes early music, classical, jazz and contemporary and then decide what to do with his instrument, which for me is a means to express themselves, nothing more.
You have recorded for major record labels such as Decca, and have performed with orchestras and conductors of international renown. What is the role of the task performer in your life, in which you devoted yourself to teaching your instrument?
I had the good fortune to work with great orchestras and great musicians, from all I have learned something, and what I’ve learned share it with my students. I think it’s only right for this to happen, it is essential for a classroom teacher who teaches his students what to do on stage frequently plow through that stage: always bring new jobs and attend good musicians can only improve.
You played very well abroad. There are important differences between our country and others about the space dedicated to the music of accordions?
For the experience that I have done there are no major differences. When contemplating the composers who wrote mainly for accordion, and are not the “Big” composition, one should not expect that a large festival or an important musical association will welcome them “with open arms”. A little distrust is in Italy and abroad. The economic crisis that affects us inevitably influence theaters and musical seasons that have to deal with the box office, so they must have the bill names known to the general public. Nevertheless, among the well-known names there is also room for some lesser-known composer.
What are the projects you’re working on right now?
What I love more is now working with the Orchestra “Toscanini” in Parma, for a series of concerts that they plan transcripts of large symphonic works of Gustav Mahler (Symphony No. 4, Das Lied von der Erde, Kindertotenlieder etc.), reworked for ensemble by Schoenberg and his pupils. It is a project that satisfies me much because it fills, in part, the large gap that has the repertoire for accordion: the lack of works dedicated to our instrument by the great composers, whose works, however, are frequently present in the concert seasons. I said, this gap was filled only partially, because the accordion is used in these versions “pocket” of the great Mahler work instead of the harmonium and has such a vital role to tie the sound of the horn to the strings, but has not a main part.
If only he had written his wonderful Tchaikovsky concerto in D Major for accordion instead violin, today our instrument would not have the problems of visibility that we know!
Unfortunately, the contemporary composers who instead are interested in our instrument are not as popular among subscribers of the theaters and this at a time of crisis like the one we are experiencing makes a difference, both in Italy and abroad.
The current crisis is not just economic, unfortunately it is also and above all cultural!
Can you give us a brief memoir of master Claudio Abbado?
I had the pleasure of working with Abbado ten years ago when I played with the soloists of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival.
As you can imagine was a unique experience and even though he was ill, sent a lot of energy, had an essential gesture and a look that made you understand immediately what asked his musicians. I was playing next to him no more than a meter and at the end of the performance, even on stage to applause, shook his hand and thanked all: a great gesture of humility by which we should all learn.
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