A New York Icon: The Bandshell Naumburg Orchestral Concert

Ecco Orchestra


Hello music lovers, today I have the great pleasure to host in my website “The Naumburg Orchestral Concert” from NYC.


I was immediatly fascinated by the history beyond the BandShell as one for the most beautiful New York Icon.

I contact the Naumburg over the web, on Instagram, and I asked them some questions about the Foundation and some new project. I would like to thanks Mr. Christopher London for his willingness and kindness.

Let’s start with the history of the Bandshell, the amazing construction located in Central Park.


The outstanding Bandshell was made by Elkan Naumburg (1835–1924) a New York City, banker, philanthropist and musicologist best remembered for his sponsorship of the arts in Manhattan.


One hundred years ago, in 1905, Elkan Naumburg saw the need of presenting free symphonic concerts in Central Park. As a result, the concerts that bear his name have been performed there almost without interruption ever since. In 1924 the New York Times wrote:

Mr. Naumburg was the first, and for many years the only patron of music to give free concerts in the Parks to the people of New York, defraying all the expense and supervising all the details, including the selection of programs and soloists.

Originally the concerts did not have a board of trustees, Elkan just underwrote the costs. Initially, and for many years, concerts were principally provided on national holidays. By 1916, the New York Times began to describe the events as Naumburg Concerts. In 1922, a board was formed to run the concerts.

Tellingly, its name was the People’s Music Foundation. However, in 1958, the current title of Naumburg Orchestral Concerts was settled upon. Worries about its communist sounding name, generated by the concert’s legal counsel, long-standing board member and family friend Peter H. Weil, may have encouraged the change. Or, as a letter of January 1959 from Walter W. Naumburg states, it was merely the result of now having seven Naumburg family members on the Concerts board. In any case, after 1924, Elkan’s memory was always specifically honored in the concert program’s musical choices and notes. Each year’s series also marked his death date with a special concert. In more recent times this custom has been abandoned, along with a change to mostly weekday concerts.

The Knights A violinist silhouetted against the Naumburg Bandshell at this orchestra’s outdoor concert, broadcast live on WQXR from Central Park on Tuesday evening. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times

The Knights A violinist silhouetted against the Naumburg Bandshell at this orchestra’s outdoor concert, broadcast live on WQXR from Central Park on Tuesday evening. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times


Let’s start with the interiview with Dr. London


When and where “Naumburg Orchestral Concerts” started. I’m really fascinated about the history of the family, and especially about the founder Mr. Elkan Naumburg. Would you like to tell something more about this incredible journey?


I think you might wish to look at this link – which connects you to our 100th Anniversary History Booklet on the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts.  It was published in 2005.  The concerts began in 1905.


If you download this Booklet – it will answer many of the questions you ask.


During the Naumburg Orchestra’s history you hosted most of the major musicians all over the world ( conductors, pianists, violinists, singers…) and I would like to ask you if there is an event in particular, something ( ex. a concert)  in which you are particularly fond of, or an anecdote, which concerns a concert or an artist that moved your soul.


I have been running the concerts for 24 years now – the 100th anniversary was a very big year for us –

I was particularly moved by the twins Christina & Michelle Naughton – identical twin sisters, when they performed a few years ago – 2014- – a piano duo – as when they were interviewed by WQXR they really seemed so linked to one another, that they seemed finish each others sentences when they were interviewed.

Their performance was equally tight and connected.


I follow the Naumburg on Social Media and I discover a lot of events! So, would you like to tell to our readers what’s next in the beautiful frame of the Bandshell in Central Park this season?


Our next concert is 2 August 2016, and we shall have ECCO perform that evening – with a new composition by Pierre Jalbert – written for them – on the program.


I saw a news on the New York Times that talks about a fundraising for Central Park and for the Bandshell too ( correct me if I’m wrong) and I just wondering if is possible to support the cause and where.

Yes, the Central Park Conservancy is having another Fund Raising Campaign, and now people can restrict their gifts to be directed to the ‘restoration of the Naumburg Bandshell’ – specifically – if they wish.  They would need to write that on their donation submission form.  Its restoration will be included in this larger campaign’s efforts.


Here the great inscription directly form NYC by Dr. Christoper W.London Naumburg


Inscription for www.alida-altemburg.com

If you visit the Big Apple, don’t forget to take a look on Naumburg Orchestral Concert in Central Park!

The Naumburg Orchestral Concerts are performed at the Naumburg Bandshell, which is located in Central Park just south of the Bethesda Terrace between 66th and 72nd streets. You can enter the park at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street and follow Terrace Drive to the Bethesda Terrace and turn left or enter the park at Central Park West and 72nd Street and follow Terrace Drive to Bethesda Terrace and turn right.

Here you can find some interesting links:


Official Site: www.naumburgconcerts.org

Instagram: www.instagram.com/naumburgconcerts/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/naumburgconcerts/?fref=ts

Twitter: twitter.com/Naumburgconcert

You can also support the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts here: http://naumburgconcerts.org/support/

When Vincent (Corver) meets Vincent (Van Gogh) the music beyond the painting

Vincent Corver Interview

Hello music and art lovers!

Today I have the great pleasure to host in my website the super talented composer and pianist Vincent Corver. We met on Instagram a few months ago, and we started to talk about music and arts (… How I love technology!!! You can always find “precious” people!). So here we go, just some lines of introductions and let’s start with the interview.

Vincent is an International Award-Winning Concert Pianist & Producer and he was nominated for the 2013 Grammy Awards for his Warner Music CD recording of the Steve Reich arrangement “Piano Counterpoint”, published by Boosey & Hawkes.

His recordings and performances received global, five-star acclaim from The Gramophone Magazine, BBC Music Magazine, The Guardian, The Independent, American Record Guide & many others.  His Debut CD on the CPO label received the “Diapason D’Or Record Award” in 2009. In November 2013, Corver wrote the music to the film “One Moment” by Alex Klim, winning Triple Platinum at the Marcom Film Awards, including 1 Platinum and 2 Gold Awards at the AVA Digital Digital Awards.

There is also a particular thing that fascinated me so much, about one of latest work of Vincent Corver the amazing work he made about Vincent van Gogh. The clue was in their first names. For the eyes, legendary Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh’s painting came to life on a big screen. For the ears, Grammy-nominated concert pianist Vincent Corver’s piece, unsurprisingly titled Vincent, pulled the audience into a mesmerising melody.  “Music in synergy with animated painting film projections” a commissioning project by the Dutch government on the 125th Anniversary of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and you can watch it on line (just click the pictures below)

Vincent and Vincent


Hello Vincent and thanks a lot for accepting this interview. We are met on Instagram, and my first question is about your relationship with Social Media.

I truly appreciate social media a lot. Perhaps more so than some of my artistic friends would dare to admit. I guess some may observe the “social media frenzy” as something that may appear as superficial, condemning the era of the “selfie” and everything that surrounds an obsessive nature of those who choose to flee from reality into an addictive, alluring façade of fictitious imagery. I personally strongly believe the strength of social media is in the introduction of something greater. A springboard which may lead to a genuine source of inspiration, if used properly. I believe Instagram has a nature that allows individuals and companies to communicate in a unique manner through visual content unlike any other social media platform.

How did you start with your passion for the piano?

I had a dream at the age of 5, winning a piano competition and receiving a grand piano as the winner’s price. It was at this moment I decided to be a concert pianist. I never deviated from the commitment to achieve this.

What advice can you give to a young person who wants to pursue concert pianist career?

The same advice I’m giving to all my students, to enjoy the journey and not to focus too much on the destination. There are no shortcuts to becoming a great musician. A lot of passion and simply the right work ethics are vital to any musician’s existence. It is all about committing to the difficulties but in the meantime finding the relaxation required to solve the complex problems without too much tension. A simultaneous two-way dedicated process of approach versus release constitutes the very ‘Art of Listening’. The moment one achieves is the moment one lets go. There is no given recipe to success nor fame, other than to persevere in sharing one’s talent and musical creations. I believe to be amazing shall always attract amazing.

Vincent Corver Interview

Click the photo and go to the Official Instagram Page of Vincent! :D



How important is, for a pianist, the technique and how important is the heart when you play?

One can play with a 100% heart, but without an excellent technique there will be no excellent piano performance. Perhaps a fine musician may also achieve for both heart and technique to melt into one. In a way where both cannot be distinguished from each other and where the artist actually ‘becomes’ the composer itself.

You favourite classical composer and a contemporary one.

I believe most musicians will always have special connections with certain pieces, but to point out a favourite composer is almost like pointing out your favourite colour. As a 6-year old boy I was most fascinated by J.S. Bach and the wonderful orchestral music by Igor Stravinsky. I have had the privilege of working with some wonderful musicians, composers and artists in my life, most importantly the composer Steve Reich, who I hold very close to my heart.

Vincent Corver Technique

Click the pictures and watch the video “The Past, Present & Future is Now” A Short Film Produced by Nyk Schmalz on the track “Levitation” by Vincent Corver & Cleemen Skillberg.


I saw on your website that you recently participated on a  project fro commemorationg the 125th Anniversary after the Death of the Dutch Painter “Vincent van Gogh”! Would you like to tell to our readers something more about this wonderful experience?

Yes, I was approached by the Dutch Government in Qatar to write a piece commemorating the 125th Anniversary after the Death of Vincent van Gogh. My mother is a professional painter and holding being a life-long admirer of Van Gogh’s work, she named me after him. I felt this artistic journey was a perfect opportunity to do something I always wanted – synergising the arts together in a single live experience in front of an audience. The piece is a part improvisation which is performed live in sync to an animated video-projection of the Van Gogh Sunflowers painting. The painting starts from scratch as an empty canvas together with the first notes of the piece and gradually develops itself into completion whereafter the piece ends. The brush–strokes are accompanied with the moving lines in the music. Vincent van Gogh’s life despair, loneliness, sickness, but also devotion to his art may be recognised in the music, starting with a single repeated G, moving up through various chord sequences in g minor versus G Major (Happy vs Sad) and the G of Van Gogh.

Vincent Corver Interview


What do you do in your  spare time?

I’m an active Music Producer and composer thus free time is limited, although I truly enjoy being outdoors in Switzerland’s beautiful nature. I’m a fencer, I love to bike and play tennis.

A book you’ve read recently read and a museum that you visited?

I’m actually a very fond writer. Earlier this month I received two official global publications of my written work, one for the European Council for High Ability — ECHA and the other as a co-author at the TESOL International Association on a book called: “New Ways in Teaching With Music”. I feel fortunate things are moving in the right direction. I’m currently in preparation of writing my upcoming book; “Facing the Music”.

Secret dreams and future projects? Where we will see you in future?

That is a very hard question as there have been so many fortunate, unexpected changes in my life over the recent years. I believe the best opportunity is always the next one. I try to work as hard as I can but I don’t always have a rigid plan or strategy. Life truly hold beautiful, unexpected surprises and by sharing one’s creations through various different creative avenues, new challenges with renewed possibility for success may appear simply in front of you. For me personally, it’s all about making a difference, keep redefining myself as an artist, keep writing and keep reaching out to those who have a willingness to exchange thoughts and ideas. “Curiosity is King!”


All best wishes, dear Alida. I hope your website and artistic sharing will be a continued success.
You can follow Vincent on his website here: http://www.vincentcorver.com
Vincent Corver Official YouTube Channel:YouTube.com/vincentcorver

Alida Signature Picture


Vincent Corver Logo

Alain Elkann: the elegance in journalism


Being moderate or tolerant or open is not a sign of weakness but of civilization and strength … It means we can all live in the same house as equals.

Alain Elkann

My dear readers, today I’m very pleased to introduce you one of the most elegant pen in journalism, Mr. Alain Elkann. Before we begin, I’d like to thank Mr. Elkann on behalf of our audience for granting this interview.

Here you can find his short biography:

Alain Elkann is an author, intellectual and journalist who was born in New York,23rd March 1950. Internationally well-known, his books have been translated into languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, Turkish and Japanese. Interview work in English includes dialogue with Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, To Be A Muslim, and The Voice of Pistoletto with the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, published autumn 2014 by Rizzoli Ex Libris.

Alain has maintained a weekly interview column for the Italian national daily newspaper La Stampa since 1989. His archive encompasses an impressive range of celebrated subjects, including award-winning writers and editors; film stars and directors; fashion designers and businessmen; artists, collectors and museum curators; politicians and diplomats; economists and historians; thinkers and human rights activists.  Two books of classic interviews have been published by Bompiani.

Alain teaches Jewish 20th century writers – from Franz Kafka to Primo Levi, from Philip Roth to Aharon Appelfeld – at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He has lectured on art, Italian literature and Jewish studies at the Universities of Oxford, Columbia, Jerusalem and Milan’s IULM. He is President of The Foundation for Italian Art & Culture (FIAC) in New York and in 2009 Alain was awarded the prestigious Legion d’Honneur by the French Republic.

(This biography is from the website  http://alainelkanninterviews.com/alain-elkann/about-alain-elkann/)



Thank you for this interview. I located your project “Alain Elkann Interviews” on Social Media, and I find it a very interesting way of sharing culture online. Would you like to tell our readers, how did this project start?

My online interviews are published in English, because it is a way to expand my audience. Also, when the interviews come out in printed newspapers, sometimes they are cut, because they adjust the length for the print space. The interviews that I publish on the Internet can be longer, and I can add many original photographs; and, of course, they are in English. The fact is that with the English language they can reach a larger audience, in the US, in England, in China, Ukraine, in France and many other countries. This is a good thing, because it makes my interviews better known, and in many more places and by many more people. Therefore this is the aim, especially with Sunday’s new interviews. On Wednesdays I usually publish classic interviews from the past on the site, where I have talked with very significant historical figures, some of whom are not still alive. So I am building a kind of bulletin board about these great celebrities. Whoever has access to my website can read these interviews at http://alainelkanninterviews.com/

I know you are a great admirer of Classical Music. I read a very touching interview that you made with the Maestro Luciano Pavarotti. Would you like to tell our readers some anecdotes about him?

Pavarotti, unexpectedly, was a person that impressed me so much. Over time I interviewed him twice: once at his home in Modena, when he was married to his first wife (Adua Veroni), and a second time I met him in Pesaro, when he was married to his second wife (Nicoletta Mantovani). He had a nature that was so lively, sharp and full of anecdotes. One of the things he said that struck me very much was a story that he told me about his early career. It was a life lesson to me, and I always like to share this story with other people. He was very poor, he came from a humble family of Modena, and when he was a young tenor he started to work with Mirella Freni (the famous soprano) and the conductor Von Karajan. At some point, after a long tour and training very hard, Luciano asked Von Karajan, “What about money?” The Conductor answered him, very calmly,“You must preoccupy yourself with singing well, and you’ll see that money will come.” So it was. This is a lesson to remember, that you should try to do your best and you’ll see that the result will come. I have always kept this in mind, it is almost like an economics lesson.

(The beautiful interview to the great Maestro Luciano Pavarotti: http://alainelkanninterviews.com/luciano-pavarotti/)

As a journalist, what do you think about this new era of communication?

I see the new media as multiplier of news. It is not that newspapers, television and radio have vanished, but Social Media are another way to communicate. Those who cannot read the papers today have the possibility to read and share news, and I believe in this way we can all stay immediately connected to the world. As far as I’m concerned, I feel less isolated. For example Alida, if you care about this interview, you must translate it into the English language, and I will explain why: most of the world population speaks English. Maybe language is not the most important thing, but everyone, more or less, can speak and read English. If you use the English language you can spread news and articles around the globe, and you will see how many countries your content will be read in. We are living in a better world, because using English is like a sporting event, it’s a live worldwide broadcast. Starting from this concept we can also transport the analogy and refer to content and all news. My interviews are in the newspapers, but, thanks to the New Media, are also all around the globe. That’s my motivation and why I think new media are a good thing.

Alain Elkann  interview for the first time Michelangelo Pistoletto  in the book "La voce di Pistoletto" "The voice of Pistoletto" published by Bompiani

Alain Elkann interview for the first time Michelangelo Pistoletto in the book “La voce di Pistoletto” “The voice of Pistoletto” published in english by Rizzoli

Do you have any tips or suggestions for a young student who wants to pursue a career as a journalist and writer?

Writing and journalism are not the same thing. You’ll have to consider that there are a lot of beautiful journalistic books, but writers are generally fiction writers, or novel writers or story tellers. We can find comedy or poetry writers, or essay writers on history, on philosophy, on science and so forth. They are very different fields. Those who write fiction, generally, are not scholars or researchers. Those who write fiction, usually they have to be storytellers, which is somewhat the same as movie writers. Those who write for the theater, for example, tell stories of fiction, and they have to invent their characters. In an essay you have to study already known characters, those of History.
In journalism you still have to follow or give news, and, for example, in Anglo-Saxon journalism opinions are distinct from news. There are reports in which we are told that “politicians have reached an agreement for Greece in Bruxelles” and the person who gives us this news is not a “journalist” in the strictest sense of the word, but a “reporter” (who reports the news) and it’s a whole different thing, he only tells us a piece of news.
After that we’ll find the news analysts or columnists, namely those who comment on this or that news, or write articles giving their personal points of view. They tell us their opinions. In some newspapers their columns, as happens in Italy, are signed. But in some newspapers, such as the New York Times or The Economist, the names of the columnists never appears, and their opinions are never signed, because they write opinions on behalf of the newspaper. Although it is not actually important who the journalists are that write on behalf of The Economist or New York Times, it is interesting that those opinions remain totally unsigned.
What one must do to become one of these things, I do not know. Slowly but surely, if you are in love with writing, if you love to express yourself through writing, I think you gradually find your way. There are those who began as a sports reporter, some people started as a novelist right away, some people started by doing an enlarged university thesis. There is no precise rule. There are many different ways of being in these two professions, so one finds one’s way. Some are more writers than journalists, and some journalists are columnists, some have a flair for music and art so they become music critics, some are more about chronicling war and have the potential to become a correspondent.

Photo Must Be Credited ©Edward Lloyd/Alpha 079457 14/11/2014 Alain Elkann, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Julia Peyton-Jones Director Serpentine Gallery at Alain Elkann in conversation with Michelangelo Pistoletto Italian Cultural Institute Belgrave Sq London

Photo Must Be Credited ©Edward Lloyd/Alpha 079457 14/11/2014
Alain Elkann, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Julia Peyton-Jones Director Serpentine Gallery
at Alain Elkann in conversation with Michelangelo Pistoletto Italian Cultural Institute Belgrave Sq London

A book you’ve read recently and a museum that you liked.

I recommend a book by Stefan Zweig, the famous Austrian writer of the book “The World of Yesterday” which is his autobiography, and in that very good book the author recounts his life and how he was born into this middle-class family in Vienna and became a great writer in Salzburg. Then came the racial laws, and Hitler came, and Zweig explains how his life started to destroy itself, at which point he lost his identity and the ability to write, and at last he was forced to go into exile. But at the same time his country, Austria, was fast slipping over the brink: that glorious empire became a small province of Germany. Zweig describes the end of this world. It’s really a wonderful book. There is also a very beautiful quotation from this man who no longer has a language.

“Only the person who has experienced light and darkness, war and peace, rise and fall, only that person has truly experienced life.”
― Stefan Zweig, “The World of Yesterday”

Recently I saw the very beautiful retrospective exhibition of Luigi Ontani, in a small town of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, a small village that is both the birthplace of Luigi Ontani and the birthplace of Giorgio Morandi. It’s very interesting this exhibition, partly because it is presented in Morandi’s house, so it is like a game “Ontani-Morandi” as a teaser, as a wink “Ontani-Morandi- Morandi-Ontani”.

It’s very interesting when Ontani plays with ceramics and with his imagination reproduces the paintings and still lifes of Morandi. It is a little exhibition, a small show, but I would recommend seeing it because Ontani is a very special artist.
Then from there I went down towards Tuscany, and my first stop was at Arezzo, to Montichiari and then to St. Sepulchre, I did a kind of reunion, from Piero della Francesca in the church of San Francesco. I was astonished when admiring the wonderful frescoes in the Cathedral, and I went to see the “Madonna del Parto” in Montichiari. And that is the uniqueness of Italy. A village of a few houses in the province of Arezzo where there is this extraordinary masterpiece of humanity, this wonderful fresco that the Museum of Modern Art in New York would dream of showing. The picture symbolizes the beginning of modern art, but the city of Montichiari won’t authorize the transportation of the fresco away from the town. So, if you want to see it, you need to go there.

Tell us about your future projects and plans for this year, what’s cooking?

I don’t do television any more. As for future projects, I have a laborious and intense summer, because I’m still working on two books: the first book is about Italian cities and I’m writing it in Italian, the second one is a short novel that I’m writing in English instead. These are the two books that I am planning, and then there are various interviews at one time or another, the first one that is dedicated to Luigi Ontani is due out soon. I’ll spend my summer between Greece and America, and then I’ll go to Rome for the “Day of Jewish Culture” on September 6th. I’m going to talk about my book “Walking Together” which was released in May. In this book there are three interviews: with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and Rabbi Toaff. I decided to go to Rome to give a talk because Rabbi Toaff has unfortunately died, and this year there is a commemoration in his honour.


Alain Elkann during the press conference for his book "Camminare Insieme" http://www.bompiani.eu/libri/camminare-insieme/

Alain Elkann during the press conference for “Walking Together  ” http://www.bompiani.eu/libri/camminare-insieme/


I agreed to go and talk in Rome because I was very close to Rabbi Toaff, who was a very enlightened, very good and special man. Speaking about enlightened men, I want to talk about Toaff and I’d also like to talk about and remember Father Arturo Paoli. I heard the news that he just died, he was a Pere de Foucauld. He died at 102 years old, in Lucca. As a young man he was the cultural director of “Azione Cattolica”, teacher of Gianni Vattimo, Umberto Eco, Minister Colombo and many others. I went to interview him for the first time when he had reached 80 years of age. I went to visit him at the Iguaçu Falls, we had a long conversation and we did a wonderful interview, and we had a beautiful Mass where there were children. I have a great memory about that, it was a very nice thing. We remained friends and he was an extraordinary man, as Toaff also was, so I remember him.


Thanks to Mr. Elkann for this instructive interview.


I suggest you visit his website and his Social Media Pages:
Site: http://alainelkanninterviews.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alainelkann

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alain-Elkann-Interviews/636915803053282

A very special thanks to David Hughes and again to Mr.Elkann for this beautiful inscription:

I love to write every day, Alain Elkann