project by Silvia Belfiore

My Commitment to African Music

My interest in today’s classical music began in the Eighties when I came into contact with the world of composers; after winning a scholarship I attended the famous “Ferienkurse für neue Musik” in Darmstadt (1986, 1990, 1992). Since then, I have focused my attention on this kind of music and in the 500 concerts I have taken part in, I have often included music by living composers of the historic 1900s. From here on, my curiosity for the African continent, better expressed as my interest in the contemporary music in Africa, developed. My discovery was thrilling! The wide-range attention to classical music in today’s Africa is amazing. The composers place their tradition directly on the pentagram. For example, the creativity of Euba derives from the influence of both African and western music cultures and his compositions blend the two elements. One of the first African composers to take up cultivated music and put traditional music on the pentagram was Kwabena Nketia: he was for Africa what Bartòk was for the music of the western world. His concept of tempo and rhythm consistent with the patterns of popular music from Ghana and other African countries was revolutionary and became the foundation for research and study throughout the world. Popular African music often makes use of conditions to be described: ceremonies, moments of life and history.
In 2012, I recorded a CD “Omaggio all’Africa” with works by: Grové, Onovwerosuoke, Cage, Rahim. Nketia, Uzoigwe.

I graduated in piano from the Conservatory of Alessandria with Massimo Paderni. I have a degree with maximum marks in Music from the University of Bologna followed by various courses of specialization with Szidon, Kontarsky, Micault, Damerini, Masi, Gottlieb, Celibidache and Rattalino. After winning a scholarship I participated in “Ferienkurse fur neue Musik” in Darmstadt in 1986, 1990 and 1992. I recorded for the state television in Moldavia, Globo television in Brazil, Radio Bavarese and RaiRadio 3. Actually, in Paris, I’m involved in a Master in the University Paris8 (Music Department) with a thesis: "Écriture et oralité dans la musique africaine actuelle. Compositeurs contemporains de l’Afrique sub-saharienne du nord-ouest". I recorded ten CDs as a piano soloist and in chamber formation with a classical and contemporary repertory. Composers such as Bortolotti, Brizzi, Cisternino, Clementi and Grové as well as Kurshner, Lohse, Onovwerosuoke, Sadoh and Vieru have dedicated their works to me. I'm piano teacher at the Conservatory ‘Vittadini’ in Pavia as well as I'm holding workshops and masterclasses at various institutes, music schools and universities in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Togo and California.

For my interest in the most varied forms of expression and artistic collaboration, I have had more or less 500 concerts as a soloist and in chamber formation in Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Moldavia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, United Kingdom, and United States. Since 1998 I have been the artistic director of “Omaggio a…” an international festival of contemporary music in Acqui Terme (AL).

This all-involving project is an unending search that captivates progressively stimulating the most diverse creativity.
Up to now I have performed classical African Music in Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Peru, Tanzania, Togo, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.
Currently, I am a consultant for the Federation Africaine de Musique Chorale.

Michael Blake
(South Africa)

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Godwin Sadoh

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Fred Onovwerosuoke

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with Lu Dlamini and Jürgen Bräuninger
2013, Durban (South Africa)

with Stefan Grové and his son
2013, Pretoria (South Africa)

with Fred Onovwerosuoke
2009 St. Louis (USA)

with Girma Yifrashewa
2014 Addis Abeba (Ethopia)

con Aline Frazão (Angola)

21/11/16 Abijan, Italian Embassy (Ivory Coast)
22/10/16 Teatro Cagnoni, Vigevano (PV-Italy)
18/09/16 Piazza Gramsci, Villasimius (CA-Italy)
22/12/15 DCAM, Zanzibar (Tanzania)
8/12/15 Goethe Institut, Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania)
4/12/15 Auditorium Stefanini, Treviso (Italy)
12/09/15 Piazza Gramsci, Villasimius (CA-Italy)
15/05/15 Residenza Jan&Cat, Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania)
14/05/15 Alliance Française, Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania)
11/05/15 Residenza dell'Ambasciata d'Italia, Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania)
11/04/15 Sala Pinacoteca Museo Diocesano, Catania (Italy)
21/03/15 Municipio di Arcore, Sala del Camino (Italy)
21/02/15 The Drum, Birmingham (UK)
03/11/14 ERART, ICPNA, Lima (Perù)
17/10/14 Freies MusikZentrum, Stuttgart (Germany)
21/06/14 "Angoli Segreti" Gamalero (AL-Italy)
08/05/14 Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Nairobi (Kenia)
06/05/14 Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)
19/03/14 Museo del Novecento, Milano (Italy)
27/11/13 Hofstelle Flammer, Kusten (Germany)
05/08/13 University of Kwazulu-Natal Howard College Theatre, Durban (South Africa)

01/08/13 North-West University, Campus Conservatory Hall, Potchefstroom (South Africa)
28/07/13 UNISA, Enoch Sontonga Hall, UNISA Sunnyside Campus, Pretoria (South Africa)
02/03/13 Intercultural Music Festival Concert, Tavern of Fine Arts, St. Louis (Missouri, USA)
04/02/13 Hofstelle Flammer, Kusten (Germany)
06/10/12 Musica d'Oggi, Palazzo Robellini, Acqui Terme (AL-Italy)
24/11/11 Teatro Vittoria, Torino (Italy)
28/07/11 Festival FICCFLO, Centre Culturelle Français, Lomé (Togo)
27/07/11 Festival FICCFLO, USA Embassy, Lomé (Togo)
26/07/11 Festival FICCFLO, Lomé (Togo)
27/11/10 Confraternita della Croce Nera, Saluzzo (CN-Italy)
26/11/10 Teatro Baretti, Torino (Italy)
24/09/10 Fondazione Benetton, Treviso (Italy)
30/07/09 Centro Cultura, Villasimius (CA-Italy)
24/04/09 Castello, Roncade (TV-Italy)
28/02/09 Teatro Comunale "Ciro Pinsuti", Sinalunga (SI-Italy)
14/02/09 FESAAM, 560 Music Center, St. Louis, Missouri (USA)
13/02/09 FESAAM, Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, Missouri (USA)
05/09/08 Festival dei saperi, Cortile del Broletto, Pavia (Italy)
05/04/08 Biblioteca, Arezzo (Italy)

“The singular beauty of African melody lies in its capacity to raise the spirit even when it tells a sad story. You can be poor, unemployed, you can live in a rickety hut, and yet that melody inspires you with hope”. (Nelson Mandela, “Long Walk to Freedom”, 1994 / Year in which Mandela became the first President of the free and multi-ethnic South Africa)