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Enrico Carraro: music is universal and sweeps away barriers


To boost artistic production and quality in all its manifestations as an antidote to the economic crisis: this is the objective that Enrico Carraro, 1st Viola in the Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino, shares with Fondazione Zegna. Having won in 2012 the competition funded by the Foundation, the young musician has revealed all his talent under the baton of the great maestro Gianandrea Noseda. We met him the day that his grant from Fondazione Zegna was extended for the whole of 2015.


How has your life and career changed as a result of the Fondazione Zegna grant you obtained by winning the “Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino 1st Viola Competition”?

The Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino 1st Viola Competition funded by Fondazione Zegna was definitely a turning point in my career, enabling me to work in a musical environment of high prestige and quality. But it also gave me economic stability, something that’s increasingly difficult these days, especially in the field of classical music.


How important is it for a young artist to get the backing needed to be able to show his or her talents in a prestige establishment like the Teatro Regio?

The Teatro Regio Torino is dealing with the crisis that’s been affecting Italian society for years now, and the world of publicly funded music in particular, by pursuing the ambitious objective of boosting its artistic production and above all quality in every form, in its conviction that this is the only way to come through the economic crisis. Being able, thanks to support from Fondazione Zegna, to be an integral part of and feel responsible for this exciting enterprise is an incentive for a young person like myself to demonstrate all my capabilities and artistic qualities in everyday work with colleagues of high international standing and long professional experience.


What were the most moving moments in these three years? What are the things you’re proudest of?

I remember a number of moments with great satisfaction but I’ll choose three. – The first event, a few days after the competition, was on the day that the “Maggini” viola (one of the most beautiful and valuable in the world, dated 1600) entrusted to me by Fondazione Pro Canale (Milan) was handed over to me. The press conference at which this happened – it was a complete surprise to me – and at which the Fondazione Zegna project was presented, was an extremely emotional experience. It was when I realized I’d made a big step forward in my career. – The production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos, conducted by Maestro Noseda, in April 2013 (Ed.: the DVD of the production will soon be released by Opus Arte). I remember this in particular because of the powerful synergy between conductor, cast, chorus and orchestra. Success and artistic quality – as decreed by the public and the critics – are what I aim at and wish to improve, if possible, in my day to day work at the Teatro Regio Torino. – The most recent event was the concert on 24 March 2014, in the Teatro Regio Torino symphonic season, in which I played in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Stefano Vagnarelli, our orchestra’s 1st violin. Performing to your home audience in one of the most beautiful works in the repertory for the viola was a wonderful experience, and an important step forward artistically.


Your grant has been extended for the whole of 2015 as well. What did you feel on hearing this and what do you expect from this year?

I’m extremely glad Fondazione Zegna has undertaken to continue its support of my artistic work. I think we must all thank the Zegna family for the concrete support they give me and Teatro Regio Torino’s musical activities.


What does working with a great maestro like Gianandrea Noseda mean to you?

Personally, I’m always amazed at the degree of concentration that Maestro Noseda manages to maintain for every minute of a rehearsal, concert or recital. The determination to keep raising the bar in terms of study, quality and workload, and continual insistence on perfection of the musical ideal is a forma mentis for me, one that’s helped me through all sorts of difficulties in my profession. To be able to work with a personality like Gianandrea Noseda, a paragon of musical expertise, international experience, huge charisma and impeccable professionalism, is a very powerful stimulus to musical and existential growth. Funding young artists is common practice in the English speaking world but totally new for music in Italy.


Why are we lagging behind, do you think? And what can Fondazione Zegna do about it in your opinion?

In the English speaking world the private sector is the main source of funding for orchestras and theaters in fact. Various kinds of financing have been developed, from simple loans to “chair funding”, in which an individual musician (eg. 1st bassoon, leader, 1st cello) is funded, and those supporting new hirings. Fondazione Zegna has proved all this is possible in Italy too. It had the insight and courage to introduce a private funding formula in Turin – the first in Italy – and gear it specifically to young talents, thus combining philanthropy with a clear and optimistic message for the future and focusing on a field in which Italy excels internationally. I hope Fondazione Zegna will serve as an example to many other Italian companies. This is the only way music in Italy can reposition itself in line with more efficient systems in the English speaking world, by retaining the many promising young musicians coming out of our conservatories, who will otherwise have no alternative but to work abroad.


What does music represent for you? What sort of message can it send out, especially to the new generations?

The reason why I chose music as my form of expression, when I was still little, was its universality. With no need for filters or social conventions, music goes straight to the depth of the human spirit, arousing the most diverse sentiments, dismantling cultural, religious, racial or ethnic barriers, and making itself understandable to anyone who listens. So the most powerful message that music spreads is universality. I also think that the environment in which I work, the orchestra, is a good metaphor for society. Only collaboration, mutual esteem and awareness of your own role and that of others can lead to a good performance. If that doesn’t happen, it’ll just be a load of notes, perfectly in tune and precise maybe, but unconnected. And we all know that Music is much more than that!

Find out about the project with Turin’s Teatro Regio

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