Great fan of the composer Astor Piazzolla, Gianni Iorio is one of the most acclaimed and appreciated Italian bandoneonists. Equipped with a supremely melodic and narrative sense, his style is polychromatic learnedly, since cleverly combines classical music, tango and jazz. With this talk tells the highlights that have marked his life and career.
You musically trained as a pianist, and then shift the focus on the bandoneon. When and why did you developed this decision?
I studied piano at the Conservatory “Umberto Giordano” of Foggia. Then I attended many master classes and studied with very important pianists as Franco Scala and Sergio Perticalori. Besides my activities as a pianist I studied and played the accordion, which, in some way, made me discover the tango, to fall in love madly in the bandoneon. The deep love for this instrument has convinced me to abandon the piano for eight years. All this time, of course, allowed me to just study the bandoneon and enabled me right now to collaborate with renowned musicians such as Javier Girotto, Gabriele Mirabassi, Luis Bacalov (with whom I share the stage for ten years), Horacio Ferrer (poet and lyricist beloved by Astor Piazzolla) and many other scope pop artists, classical music and jazz. I immediately felt that the bandoneon would represent my true dimension as a musician.
Do you prefer to perform with piano or the bandoneon?
The piano remains my first love. I started to play it about three years ago, holding a series of concerts, but not with classical music repertoires. Usually, with the plan, I give everything I have matured with the tango, with the music of Latin America and with jam session. In any case I feel immense pleasure in playing both instruments, as they give me the opportunity to complete me.
What are the major technical differences between piano and bandoneon?
They are immense and infinite. I think it’s the most significant date in the very nature of the two instruments. They are two completely different worlds to music aesthetics and performance practice.
Both as a pianist and as a bandoneon player, you kept an impressive string of concerts all over the world (France, Croatia, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Romania, Spain, Austria, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Kuwait).
What is the nation that has you gratified and enriched more from the human and professional point of view?
I usually cherish wonderful memories of the places where I performed. The most important thing is just to see the reaction of the public to perceive the performance and repertoire. In principle, both the Italian public, than to other nations, has always given me satisfaction and many standing ovations. However, I must admit that the nation that so far has given me incredible emotions has been South Korea. Here it is truly rewarding to play and the theatres are always full and with many young people who literally go crazy for my music and my way of play. It warns a high degree of culture and people, in general, they are of a unique goodness. We always return with great pleasure.
In 1999 he formed with the pianist Pasquale Stafano a formation known as Nuevo Tango Ensemble. What is the genesis of this group?
Pasquale Stafano, my friend and “brother”, we started playing as a duo in 1996. A few years later (1999) we have formed the “Nuevo Tango Ensemble”, which for several years included five musicians, with whom we interpreted exclusively by Astor Piazzolla music. From 2005 onwards, the Nuevo Tango Ensemble has become a trio where the bassist Alessandro Terlizzi played until 2008. Since 2009, the band consists of me, by Pasquale Stafano and bassist Pierluigi Balducci; with this ensemble we have recorded some discs, among them: Astor’s mood, A night in Vienna, Tango Mediterranean, D’Impulso.
Among these four is there a particular album to which you are inextricably linked?
Personally I am very attached to all my recorded works, because all together and arranged chronologically represent all my musical evolution and growth, as performer and composer.
In a review of 2009 published in the monthly Spanish “Cuaderno de Jazz”, the journalist and music critic Ionian Gonzalez considers you among the top three largest European bandoneonists of the moment. That feeling you felt immediately after reading a definition so flattering?
Honestly I felt so much joy, but at the same time very embarrassed. I never believed in the charts when it comes to interpreting and performing. Certainly there are crazy performers, interpreters and other less interesting. Evidently I was able to give so many emotions that the journalist in question could not help but express themselves in those terms.
You are also very prolific as a composer. What’s your relationship with the fascinating world of composition?
There are composers and composers with a capital C. In this regard I would like to point out right away that they are not and I do not feel absolutely an academic composer. Simply feel the desire to express the moods and translate them into music with great humility and with the minimum of technical skills, harmonics and orchestration necessary to write a score.
Is there your original composition that considers the soundtrack of your life?
Yes! I titled “Giorni di Marzo”. I composed this song because of many moments that I remember with great emotion, all of which occurred in March. One of this is the birth of my daughter Angelica March 29, 2008, my birthday (March 9) and that of Astor Piazzolla (March 11, 1921), the composer who changed my life as a musician. Moreover on March 10, 2002 I met my wife Francesca.
You have new recording projects in Serbia?
At the end of March 2016 will be released a new album that I recorded in duo with Pasquale Stafano, in my opinion a very good pianist with strong technical and musical quality. Together we have developed some compositions from the repertoire of tango, through masterpieces by Piazzolla, and then get to songs of his own composition. The CD will be titled “Nocturno” and will be produced by the prestigious German publishing “Enja”
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