Photos by Bahareh Asadi, Honar Online
The World Youth Orchestra and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra performed their first joint concert in Tehran's Vahdat Hall on Wednesday August 10. Two more performances are scheduled on Thursday and Friday nights. These concerts are organized by the National Academy of St. Cecilia and the Sapienza University of Rome.
The second phase of the “World Youth Orchestra - Sounds for Iran” project, involving musicians from Italy, Iran and other Countries, will kick off in Tehran on 2 August. The first phase of the Project took place in June in Italy with a musical laboratory set up for young Iranian musicians.
Project activities will top off on 10 and 12 August with three concerts by the World Youth Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Damiano Giuranna, held at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall together with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra and the Iran National Orchestra.
The Project, supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and approved by the Ministry of Culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was promoted by the World Youth Orchestra Foundation in partnership with the Santa Cecilia Music Conservatory and the University of Rome La Sapienza. The concerts were organized with the invaluable contribution of the Roudaki Foundation and of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Italy.
The project is of special significance in the new phase of cultural exchanges between Italy and Iran.
The Italian conductor of the World Youth Orchestra, Damiano Giuranna, has said that music can help the world understand peace and brotherhood much more.
"We are the same family, different brothers but really the same family. This is an important result to know that brotherhood will be the winner, not the war between us," Giuranna told the Tehran Times in an interview held at the Rudaki Hall, where the musicians were rehearsing for their joint performances with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra from August 10 to 12.
"I think the Middle East is the heart of the world. If the heart is not well we must take care of it, not only with [the help of] medicine but with art. I think music is a spiritual language and good medicine to make and keep the heart safe," he added.
Giuranna, who is also the founder and music director of the World Youth Orchestra, gave a brief explanation of how the idea of the joint performance was formed.
"The idea arose at least four or five years ago. I wanted to have this cooperation with Iranian music and culture. We had some students from the University of Tehran in our orchestra several years ago, and the World Youth Orchestra played a lot in the Middle East. And after establishing very good relations with your ministry of culture, we formed this project.
"This project consists of different activities. Seminars and master classes and training for both parties; we learn from you and you learn from us; a good cultural exchange," he explained.
"I think it is so important to meet your musicians and live together over these days. We exchange our attitudes and also make efforts to produce an artistic result together. This is our important goal. This exchange is the most important aspect of our work," he continued.
Giuranna later elaborated on the process of cooperation between the two orchestras and said, "We had a connection with your embassy in Rome. This connection allowed us to begin this kind of collaboration. Between Italy and Iran, there was an important program to promote cultural exchange. This document was signed one year ago between Iran and Italy. We next proposed to your ministry to have this cooperation with musical institutions in Iran and they put us in contact with the Rudaki Foundation.
"I knew the Tehran Symphony Orchestra very well. We also had some university students in the orchestra in the past as the members of the orchestra. I also knew that this new period was a good time for your orchestra and I wanted to add our effort to work on some projects together," he asserted.
He also noted that he knows some of the Iranian musicians. "I know some. They were in Rome in June to attend master classes and seminars at Sapienza University of Rome and I know them well.
"Some of them are really fantastic musicians and I am so happy to work with them. I hope to improve our collaboration and our knowledge about music and about instrumental techniques for both parties. We need to cooperate together."
Asked about their future joint cooperation with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Giuranna said, "We are a very small foundation, while Rudaki is a governmental foundation, but I think the most important part of our concert is not only the concert itself but the process before the concerts and the events - the learning process and the work before the concerts. We would like to continue this part of the learning process.
"To do this well, we need more facilities. Master classes are needed to invite some professors from your university to give lessons to our students, and we must hold our master classes in Tehran. We also have to do these kinds of performances," he added.
He continued that he likes Iranian culture and said, "I love your culture and your people so much. I learned a lot during this visit. Italian culture and the Iranian culture of ancient Persia are the same and we have many cultural points. So this is something important: to improve our collaboration to create important artistic projects together."
Giuranna next mentioned that he will conduct the first concert and half of the second concert.
"This concert is the final output of our long way together. I hope to have good musical results. I would also like to have greater understanding between us and give an artistic gift to your audience," he replied to the question asked on his idea about the achievements of the concert.
An finally he said about the medal he received from the president of Italy. "Our president knows about this project and he loves it, and for this reason he gave this medal to the project between Iran and Italy. This medal is half for us and half for you. It is a presidential medal given to very important persons or projects."
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