Twenty years ago, in 1993, musicologist and scholar Ruggero Chiesa passed away. Born in 1933 in Camogli (near Genoa), Maestro belonged to that generation of pioneering musicians who impressed an extraordinary impetus and vitality in the revival of the guitar.
Chiesa told us the story of his musical learning, which was carried out in Italy when the guitar was not taught in conservatories. As a youngster studying guitar, he took courses in harmony by correspondence, and copied the music that he couldn’t find easily by hand. It was his generation of guitarists which introduced the six strings to Italian conservatories, and Chiesa was the first teacher of the instrument at the Milan Conservatory, since 1963.
Maestro’s activities took him to operate in several areas: he was a teacher, he edited unpublished, little known or educationally relevant music, he founded the quarterly magazine Il Fronimo that is still published today. For him, each of these operational areas was part of a puzzle of synergistic activities within which we, his pupils, took part.
Ruggero was a strong supporter of the dignity of the instrument. For this reason, he always fought against the widespread leaning towards amateurism. Furthermore, not only did he encourage his students to innovate, he empowered them to find their own path, and express themselves with their own voice.
Chiesa had a very strong sense of the value of his and our profession. Since I too have been teaching at a conservatory of music (Conservatory of Terni, Italy) for the last two years, I am now in a position to appreciate how much I am indebted to Ruggero even in the field of education: in particular as far as the repertoires which I have to propose to pupils graded according to difficulty, and with regard to the quality of the pieces which I have to submit to them for study and performance.
Being basically a reserved person, Maestro expressed his deep respect for the weight of traditions even in his personal approach to teaching. Besides being an enthusiastic supporter of the power of music, he stressed its importance for our life and for our society.
Twenty years after his death, I remember him with gratitude and affection.
Emanuele Segre, the Italian guitarist, whom The Washington Post noted early as “a musician of immense promise” at his American debut, performs internationally in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Salzburg, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Seoul, Tokyo, etc. As a soloist he has appeared with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists, the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Salvatore Accardo, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zagreb’s Soloists, the European Community Chamber Orchestra, the Slovakian Chamber Orchestra and the Süddeutsches Kammerorchester. He has also given his cooperation to the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala. His chamber music activities include duo performances with Patrick Gallois. He has participated in international festivals such as the Marlboro Festival (USA), the Bratislava Festival (Czechoslovakia), the “Semaines Musicales de Tours”, the “Festival de Radio France et Montpellier” (France), the Bregenz Festival (Austria), the “MITO SettembreMusica” International Festival, and the “Settimane Musicali Internazionali di Stresa” (Italy). Segre has won numerous competitions, including the East & West Artists Prize in New York in 1987, which allowed him to make his debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall, and, in the same year, the Pro Musicis International Award in New York. In 1989 he was selected for the UNESCO International Rostrum of Young Performers. Jean Françaix dedicated his concerto for guitar and orchestra to Segre, which he subsequently recorded for WERGO. He has recorded various other CDs with DELOS, CLAVES, AMADEUS and other record companies. Born in 1965, Segre studied under Ruggero Chiesa at the Milan Conservatory, and took his diploma with great distinction, “summa cum laude”. He has attended Master Classes by Julian Bream and John Williams, as well as pursued studies in composition and violin. Emanuele Segre is currently teaching at the Conservatory of music in Terni, Italy. For further information regarding Emanuele Segre, please visit his website: www.emanuelesegre.it
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