A decade made in the USA

Amhrest USA 1997
1997. Amherst
Interensemble with Salvatore Macchia

It was in 1996 that the idea of taking our music to the USA was born. Several trips that I had made between ’90 and ’96 helped me to get to know the States and in particular, the city of New York, which I had travelled up and down on foot during the NYC ’96 Marathon, and where I had casually got to know the composer Milton Babbitt after a summer concert at the MoMA. However, the decisive incentive came from getting to know someone through initial contacts in Internet: the meeting with Salvatore Macchia, double bass player and composer, lecturer at the University of Massachusetts. Thanks to his invitation and a series of contacts with other composers, in 1997 we undertook our first tour of the USA. It was a coast-to-coast tour that took us to Boston (MIT, Brabeis University), Amherst (Amherst College and university of Massachusetts), New York (Sarah Lawrence College), and ending up at the San Francisco State University on the west coast. It was an opportunity to get to know and collaborate with several composers who were later to become particularly important for the group: Eric Chasalow, John Yannelli , Dinu Ghezzo, Daniel Kessner, as well as Salvatore Macchia.

From 1997 to 2008 we returned to the USA almost every year to perform; always in the autumn so as to enjoy the wonderful foliage of New England, Connecticut and New York. Boston and New York were the cities we travelled to the most. We gave concerts and conferences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Branders University, Berklee College of Music, Sarah Lawrence College and at least five or six times at New York University. But we also performed in Washington, Baltimore, at the Rutgers University, New Jersey, in Los Angeles for the California State University, at Hartford, Long Beach, besides the already mentioned Amherst and San Francisco, until the final concert held in Manhattan exactly the day of Barack Obama’s first election.

B. Beggio. From Interensemble 3.0 – About its thirty years

Beggio Biasutti Ghezzo USA 2002
2002. New York
Bernardino Beggio, Michele Biasutti and Dinu Ghezzo

The American experience

In October 1996 Interensemble travelled overseas for the first time, having been invited to the Cervantino Festival in Guanajato, Mexico, to give a series of four concerts in the City of Mexico. The conquest of America began from Mexico quite by accident. Friends from the Icarus Ensemble, Reggio Emilia, with whom we had collaborated at the beginning of 1996, put us in contact with two Mexican composers, Juan Trigos and Victor Rasgado - students of Franco Donatoni - who were organizing for the following autumn a festival dedicated to the great Italian composer who each year held a master in composition in the City of Mexico.

It turned out to be an actual tour of 4 concerts of which a couple were dedicated to Franco Donatoni and to new Mexican composers, and the other two to the music of Astor Piazzolla, which we were recording for the first CD of his chamber music. Everything went wonderfully; the contact with Donatoni, the performance for the very important Cervantino Festival in Guanajato, and the Piazzolla concerts, with the contribution of the accordionist Claudio Jacomucci. Everything was perfect until the last evening, during which the group incurred a ferocious robbery - knives at throats - with the theft of a violin and a viola, their respective bows and other valuable objects. It was a frightening experience but fortunately we all returned unharmed to Italy.

In the meantime, Interensemble was acquiring increasing familiarity with the international circuit and with North American academic environments. The incentive to collaborate with the music faculties of several prestigious American universities came from two composers we had got to know during those years: Salvatore Macchia, of the university of Massachusetts, and Dinu Ghezzo, of the New York University. We began with a coast-to-coast tour that was sustained not only by various American universities but also by the Italian Consulate in Boston and the Italian Institute of Culture in San Francisco. Concerts were held in Boston, Amherst, New York and San Francisco, with Interensemble comprising of 9 instrumentalists, the largest group in our tours’ history.

In 1999 we returned to the USA, stopping off at Washington, the Rutgers University, New Jersey, and in New York. Then the lasting collaboration with Dinu Ghezzo and Robert Rowe of New York University, where the Interensemble performed in various projects from 2001 to 2008. When the tragedy occurred on the 11 September 2001, we already had a tour of concerts programmed in New York and in Boston in October. We were going to cancel the tour but the American organizers begged us to perform after all, as a demonstration of how one could stand up to terrorism. We not only gave the concerts in New York, but also those programmed by Interensemble in Padua during the following winter under the title against the terror.

Then in 2004 it was the turn of Harvard, who invited the group to perform the works of doctoral students of the composition course. And that same year Interensemble returned to California for 4 concerts and various conferences in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Irvine. In 2008, besides new concerts at the NYU and at Amherst, there was a performance at the Berklee College of Music, the American temple of Jazz and Contemporary music. It was precisely in 2008 that we discussed with the Town Council of Boston, the possibility of performing in the City centre the multi-medial event Andrea da Padoa, el Palladio, recently produced for the fifth centenary of Palladio’s birth. But with the onset of the grave American financial crisis, followed by that in Europe and the rest of the world, it was impossible to find sponsors for the initiative, and so we had to renounce the project.

From 1997 to 2008 Interensemble gave 37 concerts in the USA.

B. Beggio. From Interensemble 3.0 – About its thirty years


I testi di Dinu e Marta Ghezzo, Tom Johnson e Salvatore Macchia pubblicati in
Interensemble 3.0 - Il punto sui trent'anni

Dinu e Marta Ghezzo
Tom Johnson
Salvatore Macchia
Progetti letterari
Progetti letterari
Progetti letterari