Carlo Aonzo: “Mandolins are an Italian masterpiece to rediscover”

The great mandolinist Carlo Anzo will be one of the protagonists of Cremona Musica Special Edition, with a concert that anticipates a huge space dedicated to mandolins planned for Cremona Musica 2021, with exhibitions, concerts and workshops conceived to rediscover this masterpiece of the Italian musical tradition.


On 27 September you will play in concert at Cremona Musica Special Edition. Have you decided on your program?

The title of the concert will be “the golden age of mandolin”, and I will be accompanied by the guitarist Roberto Margaritella. It will be a historical journey from Niccolò Paganini and Raffaele Calace to contemporary authors, such as Katsumi Nagaoka, Jonathan Jensen, Chelso Machado.


We will also have a preview of Cremona Musica 2021, with the presentation of “Cremona Mandolins Exhibition”. Can you tell us something about it?

It will be a sector of Cremona Musica devoted to mandolins. It will be focused on the Italian mandolin, but it will also host international mandolins. There will be an exhibition of historical instruments curated by Leonardo Petrucci and Lorenzo Frignani on the Italian mandolin, but also many workshops, conferences, didactic events, and concerts with Italian and International instruments. It will be a point of reference for those who love these instruments, musicians, students, luthiers, and people who are simply curious.


This spring you were the protagonist of “Italy, the country of 1000 mandolins”. Can you tell us something about this project and how it went?

With the lockdown we had all our events and tournées canceled, so we started developing my Youtube channel with didactic videos. Then I had the idea to create short documentaries to explain to Italian people the importance of mandolins in our tradition. We made a series of 8 episodes, and now we have been asked for some new episodes. For instance, the Museum of Italian in Melbourne asked for an episode on the “immigrant mandolin”, and the relation between these instruments and the Italian immigrants in Australia, so we realized a 30-minute documentary. In a few days, we will release an episode about Florence commissioned by the Italian Culture Instituto of Osaka, to celebrate the link between Florence and Nagoya, two cities with a great tradition of mandolins. Unfortunately mandolins are not always viewed with the due respect, but they are a flagship of the Italian musical tradition and merit to be rediscovered.


What should be done to promote the culture of the mandolin in Italy?

A lot of divulgation, as we do with the National Academic Association of Savona, or what Cremona  Musica is doing. We need to show the relation between our culture and this instrument that is interesting many young people. Unfortunately, mandolins have no space in our schools, and we have to work on this legislative lack. Cremona Mandolins Exhibition 2021 will be an important occasion to show how mandolins are crucial in our culture.