Born in Italy in 1985, Giuseppe Chiaramonte debuted as a classical guitar concert artist at the age of 15 and has performed many concerts throughout Italy, meeting with a notable audience and critical success everywhere he has played.
Among these, he played as solo at the prestigious International Guitar Festival “Brescia Chitarra”, at the International Music Festival “Infinitamusica”, and with the Microkosmos Orchestra at Museo Diocesano in Milan.
Invited in special radio programs dedicated to him, he performed a series of solo concerts with live radio broadcast.
As a winner of the “Sony Classical Talent Scout”, his interpretation of Johann Kaspart Mertz’s Elegie, live recorded during Sony Talent Scout at the Madesimo Music Festival 2013, will be included in a compilation-CD by SONY CLASSICAL label.
He did the first absolute recording of Francesco Domenico Stumpo’s compositions for solo classical guitar (publication year: 2014 / Sinfonica Label, Milan).
His performances are supported by a well-developed technique and a refined timbre appreciated by some of the world’s greatest representatives of classical guitar.
He attended classical guitar lessons and public Master Classes with Angelo Capistrano, Giovanni Puddu, Emanuele Segre, Pavel Steidl, Zoran Dukic and with Aldo Minella at the International Music Academy of Milan.
Among others, he won the 1st absolute award at the International Music Competition “Città di Maccagno” in 2007 and he was rewarded by the Rotary International Club with the justification of “having combined the study of classical subjects with a valuable musical dedication to the field of guitar interpretation”, in 2001.
Since 2011 he has given an annual Master Class at the Art and Music organization “Infinitamusica” in Milan.
He earned his Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2006 and his Master Degree in Electronics Engineering in 2009 with full marks at Politecnico di Milano. Today he is here with me for this special interview! Enjoy!
Hello Giuseppe, I would like to thank you to be here with me in this space! In this period you held many concerts and recorded an album. Would you like to tell me more about your last tour?
In my last concert tour I was involved in Milan, Berlin and Lecce. In Milan, during a hand-made-guitar exhibition , it was a very informal concert, one of those where people interact with you between a piece and another, and maybe even make you some (unlikely!) repertoire request! At the end of the performance a very good guitarist has approached asking for lessons with me (it’s one of the most beautiful things that can happen to you at the end of a performance!) and now he is already a student of mine. The Berlin concert was focused on Spanish music, it was held at a prestigious and elegant KunstSalon, and that is what I consider my real international debut. The last concert, in Lecce, was a double event. That day in the afternoon, in fact, I gave a Master Class, then the concert, in the evening. There was a great and warm audience, who responded with applauses and cheers, but at the same time the crowd was extremely quiet during the performance. But, for sure, the real souvenir I will keep with me from this experience, is the standing ovation at the end, it does not happen so often and when it happens it is really exciting. From every concert I carry with me a special souvenir, like that time in Milan when a girl burst into tears listening to the Fernando Sor “Fantasia Elegiaca” (it is a piece the composer dedicated to his pupil Charlotte, who died young). You see, every performance, in which I give emotions to the audience, also enriches me!
Which composer do you feel most attached to?
I’m very fond to the romantic guitarist-composer Johann Kaspar Mertz because a large part of his music, which is really piano-inspired (in his works many elements typical of the style of Chopin and Liszt are recognizable) is particularly, let’s say, enhanced by my technique, a new technique I often give seminars and public classes about.
But, if I were to say who is my favorite composer, undoubtedly Johann Sebastian Bach, his music is divine and human at the same time! I don’t add anything else because it would be reductive.
The perfect soundtrack of a journey
If I travel for concerts, of course the entire repertoire to be performed is the soundtrack!, it comes constantly back in my thoughts and each time I have the possibility I rehearse it.
If I make long car trips I usually select a range of CD among the last bought, but the Mozart Requiem K626, the Bach Goldberg Variations performed by Glenn Gould and a recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Sinfony conducted by Riccardo Muti are never missing!
What must never be lacking in the suitcase of a musician?
Music scores, with no doubts! When you cannot listen to music or perform it, sink into the view of a score and imagine the sound of notes, the dynamics … it is something priceless, I do it often in train or plane. Just two days ago, on a plane, coming back from vacation, I got lost that way among the notes of Capriccio Diabolico by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, a master piece written as a tribute to Paganini. And then, a nail file and many pieces of sandpaper, if you are a guitarist, should never miss!
What is your relationship with fashion, what do you like to wear when you hold a concert and what you enjoy in your free time instead?
I am not an expert in fashion and I am sure you can forgive me for this I like everything that is simple, essential.
For concerts I usually dress differently depending on the occasion. Smoking for the most important performances, “total black” for informal concerts.
In my free time I choose randomly from the wardrobe…
A place on earth in which you are particularly fond of.
Surely the beautiful castle of Santa Severina, in Calabria, because there I held my first personal recital in June 2002 … since that day I always carry with me, in my guitar case, a small silver guitar the mayor of Santa Severina gave me as a gift after my performance (here revealed my good luck charm!)
What is your relationship with art? Do you enjoy visiting museums?
Figurative art was the first art form I was interested in. Actively, I mean. As a child I loved to paint with watercolors and tempera, a passion that has survived until adulthood (the last picture was a still-life with violin), and until a few years ago I drew in pencil. Then, the tyrant time has forced me to choose and I gave the music a priority.
I love visiting museums and I have a respect bordering on veneration for the great masters of art. In particular I am attracted by the paintings of the Romantic era because they are the true expression of the romantic man’s inner turmoil (let’s think of stormy landscapes of William Turner …), as the music of that period, of course, perfectly in balance between the “larmoyant” and the “flamboyant”.
How did your passion for the guitar rise up and what led you in this direction? And what advice would you give to those who want to pursue a career like yours?
The passion, the real one, was not a love at first sight, but it gradually raised. Not an explosion, but a plant that has grown slowly over the years. At the beginning, my mother wanted me to take guitar lessons, but nobody had pretensions, me neither. At a certain moment I met maestro Angelo Capistrano, who treated the most important years of my music education, bringing me, in a few years, from beginner to concert artist!
For those wishing to pursue a career as a performer I strongly recommend to listen to each note they play with a severe critical eye; never be satisfied! moreover, don’t passively imitate the interpretations of others but constantly try to find your own point of view, your interpretation, always in accordance with what the composer wrote, of course! To paraphrase a Middle East saying, when I pass on to a better life I will be not asked “why you have not been Segovia?” I will be probably asked, instead, “why you have not been Chiaramonte?”
Where will we see you in the near future?
The next already scheduled event is my participation in the International Festival Gitarrentage Vaihingen, in Germany. Within this event, involving musicians from several continents, I will keep a master class and a lecture-concert entitled “Comparing Guitars” during which I will play all the hand-made guitars exposed. It is a type of performance quite challenging because each guitar is different from the other (size, sound sustain, tension of the strings, etc.), and from each instrument you must bring out the best. Other concerts are being planned in Italy, Germany and Austria.
Among the future projects I can announce, for the first time officially, the recording and publication of an instructional DVD on the new principles of classical guitar technique mentioned above. To intrigue your readers, in particular I will deal, among other topics, with the immediate and mediate preparation, with the super-rest-stroke and I will introduce a new approach to the study of tremolo, which is one of the most fascinating techniques of classical guitar!
This is a special gift for you Alida, hope you like it, and when we’ll meet in Milano I’ll give you the book personally!
Thanks a lot Giuseppe… See you soon on the web pianolovers! :* A big kiss!