It is a great honour for me to write the opening words for this first edition of Dirigo, the ANDCI’s new magazine (Associazione Nazionale dei Direttori di Coro Italiani – the National Association of Italian Choral Directors).
This has been a particularly difficult year; so much has changed in our lives, our habits and also in how we make music, particularly for choral directors: making music without one’s own instrument, or one’s choir, and remotely, is impossible to imagine. It now seems that the worst may have passed and we have used this crisis as a time for reflection and, in order to forge ahead with making choral music, as an opportunity for change and innovation.
The ANDCI has been hard at work throughout lockdown, considerably increasing its activities, showing its determination that choral music should proceed despite the distressing news coming at us from all directions. We wanted to counteract the despondency and fear that this situation could deprive us forever of our bearings and the possibility of being together. Everything sped up with the possibility of ‘redemption’ and a recovery that, finally, we are starting to see on the horizon.
Since its foundation, the ANDCI has created a multimedia archive – the educational section accessible on the website – which allows everyone to make use of material created by our members, free of charge, with a view to sharing our cultural choral heritage. It’s a move that highlights the opportunity and freedom to both give and receive through an open exchange of each person’s expertise. Many of us have been creating educational and artistic video content from the start, adapting to new parameters of production, distribution and the way we approach music: these are points of discussion and of reflection, available to all via the internet and social media. There are ‘meet the composer’ videos, interviews with conductors, the ANDCI Junior project, lessons on vocals and conducting technique, ear-training, the Sguardi sul Medioevo (Glances at the Middle Ages) and much more; material with a significant impact on a choral conductor’s lifelong learning that we view as important for the human and artistic qualitative growth of Italian choral music on a global stage.
I would like to sincerely thank our many honorary members, from all corners of the world, who have understood the need for our organisation and who have shared with us the importance of feeling united in this moment of global difficulty. It has been incredibly moving to experience the collaborative spirit shown by so many important musicians and the tributes in their video-messages, often naming our association in Italian to emphasize their support. I also want to thank all of our members who have spent precious time on the telephone, on e-mail, messaging or on video: all working towards greater member benefits, with quality work and in the spirit of full collaboration.
Today, the ANDCI promotes itself as the trade association for anyone who wishes to collaborate with, and contribute towards, the professional growth of choral conductors and choral culture as a whole: an autonomous and pluralist association which is also open to institutional collaboration. For example, we already have partnerships with similar organisations such as the Swedish Association of Choral Conductors and the Turkish Polyphonic Choral Association, with whom we will soon enjoy opportunities for exchanges and training for our conductors. And there will be more – with other eminent organisations – which will be introduced soon.
From this moment, the ANDCI will now also interact with the public through its magazine, Dirigo: this is our business card and demonstrates the quality with which the ANDCI will be associated with in the future.
Lastly, an appeal to the many choral conductors in Italy who have shown interest in our organisation and its new reality, but who have not yet signed up for membership – the association is open to all of you. Everyone will find common ground and have the opportunity to communicate in a way that suits them; we are all committed to this pledge.
Let’s strengthen the voice of choral music, through the voice of the individual!
President of the Associazione Nazionale dei Direttori di Coro Italiani
Professor of Flute at the Conservatory of Music in Avellino. Visiting Professor at Truman State University, University of Columbia-Missouri (USA), Silla University of Busan (South Korea), Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music (Nagoya – Japan). He has given concerts in Italy, Austria, Holland, Greece, Poland, South Korea, USA, China and Japan. As director of the Youth Orchestra of the Avellino Conservatory of Music, he has given concerts in Italy, Lithuania, Turkey. In the Conservatory he collaborates with Rosario Totaro in workshops for vocal ensembles. He started choral conducting courses with Guido Messore. He has attended courses at the Advanced Training School for Choir Directors of the “Guido D’Arezzo” Foundation. He is the director of the Laeti Cantores Choir of Salerno and of the Vocal Ensemble Academia. He has held choral masterclasses at VDU University in Kaunas (Lithuania) and at the University Of Winchester (UK). He conducted, as guest director, in France (Ensemble Vocale LA SESTINA of Nice), in Japan (Chamber Choir of the Aichi Prefectural University of Nagoya), in the UK (Winchester Consort, Chamber Choir of the University Of Winchester and the Vocal Ensemble ACADEMIA) at the local cathedral. He is a member of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association).