Enrico Carraro, 1st viola of the Filarmonica del Teatro Regio di Torino, speaks about the Obiettivo Orchestra and Esperienza Orchestra projects
The musicians of the future are already here, in the present. Thanks to guidance from excellent teachers who invest in the discovery and development of new talents, the gap between studying music and becoming a professional is getting less abysmal: Obiettivo Orchestra, a project supported by Fondazione Zegna since 2012, is tangible proof of this. On 15 September, on the 6th FAI Panorama Day at Casa Zegna, there will be an event in which music, landscape and culture are sources of inspiration and education in things beautiful, a celebration of cultural and artistic affinities shared by Fondazione Zegna, Filarmonica Regio Torino and FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano. Enrico Carraro, 1st viola of the Filarmonica Regio Torino, tells us about it.
What are these two projects about?
“Our training activities,” explains Carraro, “are in two channels: the first is called Obiettivo Orchestra, the second Esperienza Orchestra. This is because we often see that young and talented people who study at music school find themselves facing serious barriers to entering a professional orchestra”.
Why is this?
“Because you work in a different way there. To start with, in the audition phase you have five or ten minutes to show what you’re capable of. This produces terrible psychological stress, as well as requiring a different level of competence compared to the requirement at traditional schools. Work is organized differently too: there are fewer rehearsals and more concerts. You have to be as ready as possible, but with a number of rehearsals that’s minimal at times. The reason for this is clearly economic: a professional orchestra needs to optimize costs by devoting a certain amount of time to activities that produce resources and another amount to those that require them.”
What’s your role in this?
“To explain that, I’ll start with Obiettivo Orchestra, a 1-year course that the Filarmonica del Teatro Regio di Torino organizes with a music school in Saluzzo (Scuola di alto perfezionamento musicale). It covers all classes of instrument used in a symphony orchestra and prepares students for competition to join professional music ensembles. At the end of this course, the students do an audition – on a par with a professional one - at the Teatro Regio. Those who make the grade can take part in the second project, Esperienza Orchestra. Here we provide scholarships for all the instruments, so that our students can participate in the concerts the Filarmonica puts on for the Teatro Regio. We give them an entrée to the professional world and reduce the risk of finding themselves drastically out of their depth. The concept is simple: studying is fundamental, but it’s also very useful to have some experience in a professional orchestra if you’re thinking of a career in music.
How long have these projects been running?
“The 4th year starts in November.”
Are you satisfied with the results?
“Very. We’ve already enjoyed a number of successes: a violinist won a national competition to join the Rai Orchestra, some cellists have joined, or have become eligible to join, regional orchestras, such as the one in Tuscany, and major theatre orchestras, as in Florence and Rome.”
On 15 September you’ll be at Casa Zegna for FAI Panorama Day. What’s special about this place?
“This is the third year we’ve taken the students to Casa Zegna for Panorama Day. The novelty this year is that we’ve added all the classes of wind instruments. So there will be a wind ensemble conducted by a student on the conducting courses held by Donato Renzetti, doyen of Italian conductors, whose passion for teaching is his hallmark. There will also be two professionals from the Filarmonica in the group, providing useful guidance for the younger players. Training is very important to us, but so is the quality of the result. The public at Casa Zegna is special: even when they’re not experts on classical music, they listen with immense curiosity, attention and a will to learn. This year, in fact, we’ll be reprising the idea of a concert-lesson: with an ensemble of just five I will show the public how a piece is constructed, what we do, how we get organized for the performance. It’s a public that’s extremely receptive to what our musicians have to say. In short, we have all the ingredients for another success.”