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Interviewing Pasquale Coviello: when music speaks to hearts

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Pasquale CovielloTeacher, accordionist and music lover. Pasquale Coviello fell in love with his first accordion when he was a boy. Since then he has been studying, developing, learning accordion… Today he teaches students to love music.

 1. Why did you choose the accordion and what kind of studies have you done?

My father, dead when I was 5, was a workman with a passion for singing. People say he was really good, so he has probably passed something on to me!

When I was 11 my mother was used to listen to folk dance music which was focused on the accordion but also on sax or clarinet. One day she asked me and my 4 brothers who wanted to study an instrument. I agree, to spend time and curiosity. Anyway, in my town there was just the local band in which it was taught wind instruments and solfeggio, so I attended a course for a while, but I was not happy with it.

Then we called a friend who played the accordion. For him, that was just a hobby but when I listened to the sound of that instrument I had just felt in love. In 3 months he taught as much as he could to me. Then I tried to enter the conservatory but 28 years ago there were no accordion classes. When I went to ask for information they answered me they taught just noble and academic instruments and that they hardly believed the accordion would have ever entered the conservatory. I went out upset and disappointed. Anyway I decided to go on counting on my instinct and abilities. I realized in improving my technique and easily learning difficult pieces. After that I attended an academy out of my hometown where I focused on music theory and composition.

When I was 15 years old I moved to make some money doing my first events. I spent 2 years far from home playing folk and Naples music with neo-melodic singers and mixed bands, than jazz musicians. According to me, those experiences have been an educative period. Subsequently I became fond of Jazz and started to listen to Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Telonius Monk, Duke Ellington while I played with several jazz artists.

From 15 to 20 I played over than 500 times in evening events and small concerts. I also won some local accordion competitions.Then I became also fond of classical music and I began playing free bass accordion, which gave me more satisfaction. An other passion of mine is the piano…now I’m graduating in Piano Jazz at the Conservatory of Potenza.

2. What is music for you?

I often hear about self-critical musicians who are not satisfied with their own compositions. They don’t like their own music and they are always in trouble with someone else’s judgment. I think that when a musician feels such negative emotions his music won’t touch people. Our body movements, gesture, heart and feelings are our music. If we are not in peace with ourselves we won’t tell any positive message to our audience. I think we should be positive while composing in order to control negative feelings. I love very much what I compose, I love listening to my music and I love what my music tells the audience. Several fans write that my compositions speak to hearts. To me this is enough, the goal achieved!

3. Naples is your home town. How much is it present in your pieces and performances?

Naples is very present in my compositions also because I have often played with neo-melodic singers and met big-hearted artists from Naples. It has been a pleasure to play with Naples singers, well-known all over the world, because I believe that Naples music is genuine and full of passion. Anyway my pieces are a mix of both Naples and Brazil, both America and Italian Regions like Basilicata, together with ethnic music and my personal experience of life: my past, my present, my day-life, melancholy and joy. Beside the logic characterizing music composition there is instinct and spontaneity.

 4. Musikmesse 2013 has just ended. What do you think about the event you have been enjoying for so many years?

It’s true, I have been at Musikmesse every year for so long and after 10 year I have decided to come back to Frankfurt fair, not just to play but also to met many old friends.

I’m proud to promote and play a Beltuna accordion. The company Director and founder, Nando Mengascini, pays attention to each single aspects of his accordions and listens to my advices in order to improve his instruments, among the best in the World in my opinion. Leader Companies can’t renounce to Musikmesse because it offers the opportunity to show instruments to musicians coming all over the world.

Moreover, artists can meet their fans and plays inside the exhibition spaces surrounded by a very informal atmosphere, always noisy because of the frequent simultaneous performances.

5. You teach accordion and educate students of every age and at any level. The Italian competition for Coupe Mondiale CIA will take place in Spoleto next Saturday 18th May. What is the right method to prepare a student for an International competition?

Today some students are well prepared but they are very rigid. I mean that they just focus on a perfect performance in order to impress their teachers but where is music and musicality? In my opinion these kind of competitions require naturalness and thoughtlessness too. In order to compete in a Coupe Mondiale a musician must be relaxed, free from negative thoughts which cause anxiety and stiffening.

A musician has to be mentally trained in order not to be afraid of the stage or judges but just think about music. It’s not easy but we are music, we was born music, so an artist has just to work on himself or herself going back to his or her youth, to natural gestures, spontaneous and true smiles, unfortunately lost during our growth. Coupe Mondiale is an opportunity, not just a competition and we have to be happy to play on such a stage. When we play during a Coupe Mondiale we have to focus on both technical preparation and psychological aspects. It’s a pity to express just 50 percent of our possibilities.

6. What are you working on at the moment and what are your plans for the future?

I’m working on different projects such as “Tango Solo – storie di Tango e Tanghi nella storia” with the pianist Francesco Scorza and the voice of Iole Cerminara which will debut next 15th May at the auditorium of the Gesualdo Da Venosa Conservatory in Potenza. It is a charming experience between music and words discovering The Argentinian Tango. From the dance seductive power to the poetry of music, tango tells the street life, the knife wars, love and crimes. Our show is a refined musical selection of the great Argentinian Tango repertoire.

I’m also working with the Meridies quartet and its great musicians. We sometimes play Piazzola accompanied by the actor Alessandro Haber.

Moreover I’m working to form a jazz quartet in order to play a wider repertoire.

Finally I’m completing a Method about jazz accordion. My previous two Methods has been recently published in Russian by the Universiteskaya Izhevsk of Mosca.

Autore: Chiara-Magna

Chiara Magna ha scritto 94 articoli.

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian



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