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  News 2005 

Summer School 2005 voted great succes by Students, Press and Audiences!

Our first MfB course is regarded by all of those involved as having been a great success.Students attended for varying periods of time, but generally two weeks, a couse entitled Masterclass Music Citerna. There were three students from abroad, two from New York by way of Venezia, and one from Mexico City. The remainder were Italian. All but one were violin-players and the one was a cellist. The youngest student had been playing for just two years, while the others all had fairly extensive priods of previous tuition and experience

The course opened with a splendid performance by the Bekova Trio, Trio in residence at MfB including Ravel's Piano Trio and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The concert held In Memoria di Papa Giovanni Paolo II was played to a packed audience in Chiesa San Francesco in Citerna including cultural and political figures from and around Citerna and from Perugia (the Cultural Assessor) and also the Artistic Director of the Festival delle Nazioni then being prepared for later in the summer in Citta di Castello. Journalists and television cameras ensured substantial regional coverage of the event. The Trio's fine performance was greatly appreciated by the large audience most of whom stayed on for a reception, generously provided by the Commune of Citerna.

The coursework began the next day in the Hotel Sobaria, the management kindly providing their conference facilities for individual classes which were the focus of the first week. Students were assessed on day one for standards of performance and coursework, planned and unplanned, considered and discussed individually. Classes took place every morning with the rest of the day free for practice. Did they work? All day one could hear the sounds of violin-playing for those staying in the Sobaria. For those who were resident locally it was evident on a daily basis how much improvement was being achieved, how confidence was being gained and progress made.

On two more evenings of this first week members of the Bekova Trio performed concerts for the course students and for the excellent audiences who came to hear this new festival of music-making. Alfia Bekova, violoncellist of the Trio, performed her breath-taking Bach Marathon for which she is already renowned elsewhere in the world. She plays all six Bach Suites for Cello at one sitting, on this occasion with a ninety minute break to allow the audience to dine after the first three suites. The evening was magical. Alfia never seems to tire and she ended the evening playing as superbly as when she started. the audience was gripped by the music and most sat through the entire outstanding performance. On the 17th July a good-sized audience enjoyed Elvira playing alone and in duo with Alfia. Elvira performed the demanding Chaconne from the great Partita in Re minore by Bach and Ysaye's Sonata Ballade for solo violin, while together they played Martinu's Duo for Violin and Violoncello, as well as Ravel's Sonata for the two instruments. This was really a superb evening feast of virtuoso music. Students and audience alike were captivated.

The Masterclass moved on in the second week to an introduction to chamber music. It was now clear that a final concert involving the students and their teachers could be accomplished and so a "Regalo per Citerna" was rapidly planned with each student participating. In the meantime, individual classes continued with ensemble work added in. The highlights of the second week also included a Masterclass led by Elvira and Alfia, with Rosaura performing the the first movement of the Bach Partita in re minore and the next day, a workshop at Felcino Bianco entitled "How do I practise at home?" Everyone participated, including family, with Elvira and Alfia leading the discussion. What emerged was that practise was not simply the repetitious learning of a piece or exercises to please the teacher. Each practise session was a performance on its own, each needed meaning and interpretation, but above all a mental image of what the music was saying to the performer with a view to presenting that to an audience in due time.

The final concert was a delight for the audience which included friends and family of the students. Without exception, the students showed how much they had gained from the from their two weeks playing and working with international concert artists who were also skilled teachers. Alexander and Victoria, only able to stay for the second week, each playing respectively movements from the Mendekssohn and Haydn Piano Trios. How well they all did, from Stefano with only two year's experience with the instrument to Rosaura, with her solo Bach, now preparing for international competition. Irene and Lauretta provided strong performances of, respectively Handel and Boccherini, the one playing with Alfia and the other with Elvira. Rodolfo, who unfortunately had to miss the concert made impressive progress with Haydn's Cello Concerto during the time he was able to spend with us.

Music@ Felcino Bianco seeks to provide real improvement for amateur and young professional string players by enabling them not only to improve their technique, but by getting them to think about their performances and, above all, building into them the confidence to play in ways that they have within them but have not yet dared to try. MfB will seek to build on this theme next year after this most satisfactory and satisfying first season. In the meantime Elvira has chamber concerts coming up in recital or with her sisters in Malta, Moscow, London and several venues in France. Previous students and would-be students of future courses and all who are interested should watch for updates on this page of MfB's website.

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