Italian cellist set to flex improv skills at concert

Italian musician Giovanni Sollima performed in the concert Ba-Rock Cello at the Hanoi Opera House on June 13.
Italian musician Giovanni Sollima performed in the concert Ba-Rock Cello at the Hanoi Opera House on June 13.

The cellist and composer graduated with the highest honours from the Conservatory of Palermo and completed his cello and composition education in Saltzburg at the Musikhochschule of Stuttgart.

He was born in Palermo in 1962 to a family of musicians. Since the beginning of his artistic life, Giovanni has enjoyed a brilliant international career as a cellist, collaborating with great musicians such as Claudio Abbado.

Since childhood, Sollima has been captivated by all types of music and has sought to create new blends among the most diverse genres by combining elements of classical, rock, jazz and ethnic music, characteristic of Sicilian and other Mediterranean music.

His compositions have been performed in important seasons on all continents since 1992 and he has shared the stage with some of the world's greats such as La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Riccardo Mut and singers such as Patti Smith and Italian rock star Elisa. He has also composed music for famous directors such as Robert Wilson, Peter Greenaway, Peter Stein and Marco Tullio Giordana, and renowned choreographers such as Carolyn Carlson, Karole Armitage and Bebe Miller.

The concert will be composed of eight pieces, including a duo-performance by Giovanni and Vietnamese musician Vu Nhat Tan under the Hanoi Improvisation programme.

The Hanoi Improvisation piece will be created by the two musicians after their first meeting on June 12, just one day before they take the stage.

"This will be an improvisation of Giovanni's feelings about Hanoi on his first visit to Vietnam and me, a Hanoi-based musician," said Tan.

After receiving an invitation from the Italian Embassy to Vietnam a few weeks ago to perform with the Italian cellist, Tan spent time listening to Giovanni's music. "He plays music from diverse genres such as Baroque, classical and contemporary music," Tan said.

Tan will give acoustic performances on the piano and three-bamboo flutes.

The concert will include pieces composed from the 16-18th century into the modern era. Giovanni will also give solo performances of two pieces, Concerto Rotondo and Natural Songbook, which he composed.

Giovanni dislikes performing in theatres, according to Cesare Bieller, the head of the embassy's Political and Cultural Section. "He always wants to find strange places to perform." The cellist once played a cello made of ice on top of a mountain at an elevation of 3,000m.

For the Ba-Rock Cello concert, Giovanni will play a cello made in 1697 by Francesco Ruggieri. The concert is being held with the support of the MAPEI company and MANIO fashion./.

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