«The first concert at 5 years old. I know what loneliness is, now I teach musicians not to neglect emotions »- Corriere.it

from Ilaria Gaspari

Internationally renowned pianist, he has created a laboratory to help young people. “The artist’s journey requires enormous dedication, emotion is everything, the whole body is used to play”. And on the illness of his partner, the writer Alessandro Baricco: “I was overwhelmed by an unexpected anguish”

Gloria Campaner is an internationally renowned pianist; her next album, dedicated to Beethoven (recorded with the Canova orchestra conducted by Enrico Saverio Pagano) will soon be released by Sony Music. On March 5, after playing in the Senate at an event broadcast live on Rai1, spoke of the right, which we should allow ourselves, “to be afraid”. Campaner has been playing since the age of four, and as she became the pianist she is today, invented C # / SeeSharp: a laboratory that helps young musicians not to neglect their emotional life. But it is not only aimed at pupils and pupils of the Conservatories: there will be meetings open to a heterogeneous public, to anyone who has the desire to explore the joy of art. His dream, Campaner tells me, is “to show how much art is transversal, making it accessible to the public”, as he will do in June with the festival he organized at Villa Carlotta, Fiesta! : three days of meetings and lessons immersed in nature, on Lake Como.

Like athletes, musicians are called to cultivate a constancy that borders on devotion. Does the need to deal with emotions come from your experience?

“It’s nice to associate music with joy: for me, as a child, it was like that. But the artist’s journey – the study, the sacrifice necessary to find one’s voice … – requires enormous dedication. And emotion is everything, when you try to express yourself through something that, after all, is just air that vibrates. To play the whole body is used, because the vibration of the music comes from there: it is a daily research, the virtuous repetition of a gesture. But if, in the course of this research, you don’t heal your emotional life like you heal a plant, it happens that emotions overwhelm you. A musician has many opportunities to be on stage, so she realizes more easily than others how life resembles a stage. And, as an artist, she is even more vulnerable: I started playing when I was not four years old, at five I won the first competition and I did my first concert, alone in front of the audience – and I didn’t even go to elementary school! I didn’t know how to write, I could only read the notes ».

When did you start, was playing a game?

«In the beginning, yes: playing and playing are the same word in many languages, it is one of the great beauties of music. But you quickly realize that talent is something that puts you across borders. I took my first music lessons with my neighbor, we were three years old and we were inseparable friends: she didn’t want to go to music school, I couldn’t wait. The teacher of that little school became my first piano teacher. She insisted that I continue because she had noticed something: this something, which we call talent, is just an inclination that we are more inclined than someone else in a certain activity … There are those who have it for math, who for writing. I was so small that I didn’t even notice. But, beyond the boundary of talent, what about everything else? Of all that life, of what you feel? Nurturing talent is important; but I also find it important to remember that I am one, that I have the responsibility of my whole person. Otherwise, then, it is life that he chooses for us. For example, try to cross your arms: which one do you put on? “

The left.

“Me too! And do the opposite – try it! – how hard is it? It’s just one example of a bodily habit, but it’s important to notice things. How many things do we not realize, because we are all taken to look forward, always forward? SeeSharp means seeing beyond, seeing clearly … But it is also a growing note. C #, or C sharp: a note altered upwards, and all this tension is beautiful and useful for me ».

Was there a time during your growth when you realized how hard your talent was?

«Playing a musical instrument at a concert level, making it your own life, not a hobby, does not only require many hours of study: it is a kind of competitive physical training, in which every single muscle is involved. Almost an aerobic exercise. Although I have always tried to commit myself to school, for me the greatest commitment has always been what music required of me: to memorize pages and pages of scores, to control the slightest movement. The role of the interpreter is very important, it allows people to hear the music; but you must remember that it is not your creation, that you are the medium. You have to put yourself at the service of the music that someone else has written: a form of devotion, in fact. ‘


What kind of relationship develops between performer and composer?

«A sense of closeness is created, even physical: the study of an artist’s work, when it requires a lot of time, a lot of energy and precision, allows you to feel it, almost to see it; you breathe and you have the sensation of tasting the air as he must have perceived it. Staying for years – years made up of months, days, but above all many hours that add up – in contact with the music written by someone else means getting closer to that someone, always shortening the distance between what he – perhaps – hoped to pass on. , and the world: because at that moment you are a bridge, and in music you cannot lie in anything. In life we ​​can hide, but what you play is more honest than any sentence you can say or not say. To make music written by others come to life, you have to let it pass through you: which makes it different from how Chopin or Beethoven played it while he was composing it; also different from the way others / others have engraved it. As an interpreter, you put everything at the music’s disposal: all your most minute thoughts, up to the strings that are the extension of your arm, of your muscles. Think of the pianos that are used for auditions: many hands play them, and you hear a different sound every time, even if the room remains the same, the piano is the same. It is the sound that changes: according to how everyone touches it, how he feels it, as if he imagines it before even starting ».

He seems like a very open person to me. How do you cope with the loneliness that his job requires?

“I’ve spent an infinite amount of time alone, since I was a child, yet by nature I am, in fact, very outgoing, I am an enthusiast. I have been lucky enough to play in ensembles at times, to tour with other musicians: but when you are a soloist, loneliness is already there, in the name. It also says on the dressing room: the soloist’s dressing room. I think, in any case, that the fear of loneliness is more dismayed than loneliness itself: because then I am never really alone, I am with my ideas, my life, my body, my imagination … If this happens to you a life like mine, you have to strive to accept it as soon as you can, and take advantage of all the moments in which you can be with others: maybe instead of twenty hours to spend with my friends I only had two, but that time I was looking for to inhabit it in the best possible way. This training gives you a very important ability to adapt to the world: you learn to be at home where you want to be at home. You can feel at home in an empty hotel room. You feel that you are inside the journey, inside your life, that you are living; in fact I love living in a hotel, I love that it is always different, because then I know that I will find a way to feel good in a completely new place: I have my things, which I take everywhere, and which make me feel good. And these are all things that come to me, precisely, from loneliness. It is within solitude that you find your space ».

How do you feel about the gaze of others when you play?

«The problem is the perfection that everyone expects, to which everyone is accustomed from records, from recordings: but on stage it is different. The live concert, the most important thing in music, needs an audience: there is no concert without an audience. This is why I feel exhausted after a concert: I give the audience everything I have, so much so that sometimes it seems to me that I can hardly breathe, I even struggle to sign an autograph. When I play it is as if I isolate myself, I go into a kind of trance, which can also be dangerous because then the moment comes when you have to land on the present, and you can land by making a mistake, or losing concentration for a moment. In any case, the concert is different from radio, from streaming: you are there with those who listen to you. Together. You are there and you are everything you do, all the smiles that emerge, all the tears that you no longer know if they are of joy or pain. You are everything, and everything is part of this feeling that passes to others, not only from the sounds, but from every small gesture ».


His talk about fear struck a lot of chords. He recently had to face a great health fear for his partner, Alessandro Baricco, who revealed he had leukemia a few days before undergoing a bone marrow transplant, which appears to have been successful. How does she feel?

“I was overwhelmed by an unexpected anguish, absolute bewilderment in the face of the illness of a loved one. Which is not even your disease: you are at the mercy of what happens to someone else. A colossal emotional discharge. I was off the stage, certainly not on stage, but I got a lot of media attention. This time, however, there was no performance involved, it was just a matter of finding a way to be close to a person I love, with all the restrictions imposed by her condition and exacerbated by the pandemic; it was a great training in waiting, in patience. And to compassion, even when we were physically separated. I have felt a lot the strength and weight of this word – compassion -, which trains you to tune in to the rhythm and pace of another, gently, with humility. I tried to dampen the strong emotions that came from outside; I also had to distance myself, for a while, from the music, from the excitement that derives from it, from the sometimes exaggerated concentration due to the continuous repetition of the musical gesture. When there was no need for me in the hospital, I allowed myself a few days in the mountains, in nature, far away. I don’t think I would have been able to endure everything, the fear, the lack, the unexpected daily life, if I hadn’t had the light, the Alps, the breath. There I felt welcomed, I was able to enjoy every little improvement ».

What do you wish for the future?

«I hope to have a good heart: to always remember it, even in tiredness».

April 24, 2022 (change April 24, 2022 | 10:15)

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