Course programme

Il corso si propone di affrontare un tema che è stato decisamente trascurato dalla didattica della musica antica, quale la prassi esecutiva della viola da braccio nel corso dei secoli, le sue peculiarità, e il percorso della sua progressiva emancipazione e specializzazione nei confronti di quella violinistica.

Il programma sarà focalizzato sullo studio e la ricerca del repertorio originale solistico, cameristico e d’ensemble per viola da braccio, partendo dallo stile Barocco per arrivare a quello Classico, e approfondirà la storia della trattatistica d’epoca.

Assieme allo studio del repertorio verranno affrontati aspetti esecutivi fondamentali quali la pratica del “suonare le parti di mezzo”, attraverso lo sviluppo della versatilità timbrica, la sensibilità per un tipo di intonazione “armonica”, e l’uso dell’archetto come mezzo espressivo per eccellenza.

The teacher – Stefano Marcocchi

Italian violist Stefano Marcocchi is known for his wide-ranging, dynamic artistic approach on both historical and modern instruments, and he’s equally in demand as principal violist, chamber musician, and teacher.

He was born in Parma in 1974 where he studied at the “A. Boito” Conservatory graduating cum laude; there he developed an interest in the Historically Informed Performance of early music.

Immediately after his studies, by the age of only 22, Stefano started to collaborate as the youngest ever principal violist of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, and he has covered the same role with some of the foremost Italian orchestras as like the Orchestra da Camera di Mantova, the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra Sinfonica A. Toscanini, and Archi De Sono.

From 1998 till 2005 he was a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra serving frequently as assistant principal, and principal violist under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, Kurt Masur, Christopher Hogwood, Mark Minkowski, Trevor Pinnock, Paavo Järvi, and Andras Schiff.

Stefano was also invited by Claudio Abbado to join the Orchestra Mozart and the celebrated Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

Stefano is a founding member of AleaEnsemble, a Swiss-Italian period instruments string quartet that specializes in the classical and early romantic repertoire. Their debut recording of the complete String Quartets, Op.2 of Luigi Boccherini was awarded the Diapason d’Or and the Choc du Monde de la Musique, and Diapason magazine has described them as “le quatuor boccherinien de notre temps”.

His partnership with Zefiro and Alfredo Bernardini, and with Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi, which started at the beginning of the 2000s, led him to play extensively as principal viola and soloist in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia, and to be integral in creating over 30 award winning recordings with these groups, including Telemann’s viola Concerto as a soloist, and the complete Brandenburg Concertos.

His regular collaboration as leader of the viola section with Les Talens Lyriques culminated in 2015, when Stefano acted as concertmaster under the direction of Christophe Rousset at the performance and worldpremiere recording of E.N.Mehul’s “Uthal”, a rare opera composed in 1806 in which the violas take the place of the violins as upper instruments in the strings section.

From 2014 till 2017 he has been co-principal violist of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Canada’s internationally acclaimed period instruments ensemble; his Toronto debut as a soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante along with violinist Julia Wedman and Tafelmusik was praised by The Globe and Mail for its “full-out, passionate reading, lush, sensitive take on the piece, life, and energy”.

Stefano has been invited regularly as principal violist by other prominent period instruments ensembles, including Accademia Bizantina, Atalanta Fugiens, I Barocchisti, Il Complesso Barocco, Ensemble Aurora, Ensemble Concerto, Ensemble Cordia, and Il Pomo d’Oro.

Stefano is in great demand as a chamber musician, and fellow eminent artists include Stanley Ritchie, Jeanne Lamon, Giuliano Carmignola, Cecilia Bernardini, Elisa Citterio, Gaetano Nasillo, Alberto and Paolo Grazzi, Marcello Gatti, and Maurice Steger, to name but a few.

Aside from his two different solo recordings of Telemann’s viola Concerto – the first with Ensemble Cordia (Brilliant Classics), and the second with Europa Galante (Label Agogique), for which Diapason magazine praised for his “jeu suave” – Stefano can be heard on over 70 recordings for Aparte, Arcana, Arkiv Produktion, Deutsche Grammophon, Dynamic, Erato, Glossa, Harmonia Mundi, Naïve, Naxos, Passacaille, Stradivarius, Sony, and Virgin Classics.

In 2011 he was invited to play the 1774 “Berta-Salabue II” viola at the exhibition in Parma marking G.B.Guadagnini’s 300th anniversary, and in 2014 he participated at the publication of the book “The Girolamo Amati Viola in the Galleria Estense” (reviewed by The Strad Magazine as “surely the most comprehensive technical account ever published about a historical stringed instrument”), recording pieces by D.Gabrielli and A.Rolla on this 1628 unique instrument.

Stefano taught baroque and classical viola at the Akademie fur Alte Musik in Bruneck (Sudtirol) from 2006 to 2014, then was Guest Lecturer Professor of baroque viola at the University of Toronto, and he’s currently teacher of baroque viola at the “E. F. Dall’Abaco” Conservatory of Verona. Stefano plays an original viola made by the Austrian luthier Jakob Petz in 1769, and a copy after Carlo Antonio Testore, 1745, made by Renzo Mandelli.