50th Festival delle Nazioni – Tribute to Germany
We are approaching a great event: this year the Festival delle Nazioni is turning fifty.
This anniversary does represent a special occasion not only for all of us involved in the project but I believe for our members and the whole city as well.
The choice of the guest country adds significance to such anniversary. Not only because Germany contributed so much to the world of music but also because Germany concludes a three year programme which focussed on the second World War as the main theme of artistic and cultural events which attracted a huge audience.
The quality of this year programme meets the expectations: suffice it to mention a few names such as the Berliner Philarmoniker Quartet and Chamber Orchestra and Ute Lemper, a high profile artist. We will also welcome the comeback of Michael Nyman with his orchestra, who were extremely successful in 2003.
The 50th anniversary of the 2017 edition also coincides with other special events: after the 2016 Burri centenary this year we will be celebrating the seventieth birthday of Salvatore Sciarrino, another illustrious citizen, not really a native but nevertheless very much loved. A concert will be dedicated to him in the Burri Museum at the Seccatoi, the same venue of last year’s homage concert to Albeto Burri.
Moreover, from my personal point of view I particularly like to point out the fact that I have been serving as president of the Festival for ten years. For this very reason I would like to remind everyone not only the memorable concerts held during the course of these fifty years – the most applauded post war chamber music groups and solos performed in Città di Castello, from Quartetto Italiano to Quartetto Amadeus, from Sándor Végh to Salvatore Accardo, from Uto Ughi to Luciano Pavarotti, from Uri Caine to Krystian Zimerman and to the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – but also some of the concerts which made special our last decade: I am thinking of the performances of Mario Brunello, Ivo Pogorelić, Ramin Bahrami, Gidon Kremer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Grigorij Sokolov.
Some memories of the Festival are very dear to me. My thought goes to the Tangeri Cafè Orchestra which combines christian, arab and jewish musicians or to the Arab Music Orchestra, where arab and israeli musicians play together. Such events showed at its best the cultural goal underlying the Festival delle Nazioni: promoting intercultural contact through art.
Furthermore let me mention the fascination of the concert held in 2010 by the cellist Misha Maisky. His brilliant performance was made even more special by the fact that it was shown live on the façades of the buildings facing Piazza Matteotti, the heart of the city centre. This probably marked a turning point in the history of the Festival, because from that time on the number of the audience of young people has been growing steadily. The following programme, supervised by the art director Aldo Sisillo, has given space to innovation and it included versatile artists such as Elio, Stefano Bollani, Hevia, Idan Raichel, Noa or Goran Bregovic.
The Festival like all the other Italian institutions dealing with art and culture has been experiencing hard times. Hopefully the worst seems to be now over and the 50th edition may be the starting point for a brighter future.
We aim at presenting the Festival as the main cultural event in Umbria together with Umbria Jazz and Festival dei Due Mondi.
As far as we are concerned we are determined to keep a high cultural profile and to strengthen the connection with Città di Castello and its territory.
I would like to thank in particular the Regione Umbria and the municipality of Città di Castello for supporting us and helping to overcome our difficulties; at the same time our effort for cultural innovation has been appreciated and it contributed to make the Festival one of the most significant events for its artistic and cultural originality.
I wish that the Ministry of Culture, after testing over the last three years the new rules regarding the distribution of public funds, will take into account the limits of such rules recognized by the Ministry itself and will proceed to reform the law concerning live entertainment in order to grant a future to deserving institutions like the Festival.
I would like to add that our success was also made possible thanks to the support of our private sponsors, companies and banks which invested in cultural promotion, a key factor to the development of Umbria and Italy.
Turning fifty allows us to keep going and to look forward to the future editions with confidence.