Fresh off the back of their moving Elegy for Peace concert at Rome's Palazzo Montecitorio, we caught up with EUYO's new leader Davide Dalpiaz to discuss his new position and the concert.
Firstly, congratulations on your appointment as leader of EUYO. What was your first reaction when you heard the news? Who did you share the news with first?
Thank you, thank you! Of course when I found out about the result of the audition I was really thrilled and psyched, especially considering that, due to the age limit, I was expecting to close my experience with EUYO after Summer 2022. Which would have been absolutely fine. I had already been a member of the orchestra for three years in a row, and as hard as it would have been to leave, it was the perfect timing to close this chapter and leave more space for younger musicians. But having the chance to be back as leader (EUYO orchestra leaders are able to be slightly older than regular members, and luckily I fitted into the advertised leader age category) is something that I did not consider until a few months ago, it is extremely exciting and stimulating. Trying to convey the values and the ideals of this orchestra to the new musicians is going to be a really great and motivating goal. I did not share the news immediately with too many people, just with my closest group of friends and my family. Eventually people found out by themselves, it's been really nice gradually seeing old friends texting me their congratulations for the position.
As your first project as our new leader you led a quartet at performance at the Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome as part of EUYO’s Peace in Europe project. Could you tell us about the concert?
The event in Rome was to mark a tragic anniversary, one year since the war in Ukraine started. This project has been organised to commemorate all those victims that this dramatic violence has taken. We played as a string quartet, but the programme was alternating moments of music with some lectures read by two Italian actors. The harmonies of Lysenko, Puccini, Haydn and Skoryk crossed paths with the poetry of Salvatore Quasimodo, an epistolary dialogue between Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud and the Enciclica Pacem in Terris of Pope Giovanni XXIII.
How do you feel the spoken parts of the concert added to the evening?
I had the sense that the chosen lectures really added an important layer of awareness and depth to the event. The dialogue between Einstein and Freud and the Enciclica Pacem in terris gave the audience many interesting points of reflection on a large variety of topics. The poetry of Quasimodo really added a new layer of depth to the event. Alle fronde dei salici is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful poetries describing the consequences of war. Its images are so vivid, crude and dark. It really is one of the most impactful descriptions of the brutality that sometimes humans are capable of.
What was it like to perform in such a prestigious location? Did you feel any added pressure or excitement?
Already before travelling to Rome I figured that it was going to be very emotional playing in a place that has such a significance in the history of Italy. But I did not expect it to be so intense. Within these last years I had the privilege to perform in many different and important halls across the whole continent, but I never felt such a powerful, deep feeling as I did in the Camera dei deputati. I think the place itself is one of a kind, it has a unique energy of its own, which is unmatched. Only one other time I have experienced something similar to this, it was the concert that we played on the island of Delos, almost a year ago. The same feeling of purity and intensity hit me there as well. It feels as if some places have a sort of powerful spiritual energy which makes them unique.
What do you hope the audience took away from the performance, and what message do you think the quartet was trying to convey through the music?
I believe it was an occasion for all of us to remember that the peace that the previous generations managed to achieve through a century of pain and suffering is never meant to be taken for granted. The European Union was born after two world wars and during the opening period of a new cold war. We should never forget the brutality and the horrors that brought us together in order to prevent something like that happening again. Those values that found the base of our union should always be actively cultivated, never underestimated or forgotten.
Finally, what's next for you with EUYO? Do you have any upcoming performances or projects that you're particularly excited about?
Our Spring Tour this year brings us to some cities across some of the Balkan countries, which I personally never had the chance to visit yet. Also our programme will be slightly different from usual, but nevertheless really thrilling, I am actually very much looking forward to it. The Summer Tour seems extremely promising as well, with many great artists that will be joining us during those weeks. It will be a long tour, it is going to be interesting to witness the development of the orchestra within those weeks.
You can read Davide's full biography by clicking here.