T. Lonquich: "I love making music in all its forms"

During Cremona Musica 2019 the clarinetist Tommaso Lonquich is taking part in three events: an educational project, a masterclass, and a concert. Waiting to meet him, we made an interview to know what we should expect.


Maestro Lonquich, in your first appointment in Cremona Musica you will hold a chamber music seminar entitled "La voce in ascolto". How will it be carried out and to whom is it addressed?

I find that the human and artistic model offered by chamber music is the most natural and stimulating: it triggers a fertile dialectic between individual responsibility and openness to dialogue, poetically (and practically) intertwining the proposal and listening. It is a point of view that I keep unchanged even when I play solo. After all, playing music with sensitivity is never "solo": we are in eternal dialogue with silence and often with sound. Starting from my passion for chamber music and from the majestic desi Dædalus re to infect young performers, I set up the "Listening voice" workshop in Florence, part of the Dædalus training course, which takes place in our Kantoratelier in close collaboration with MusicaFelix by Roberto Prosseda and Alessandra Ammara. In Cremona I will be in the company of Cristina Barbuti, pianist, art-therapist and co-founder of Kantoratelier and. The seminar will take the form of an open conversation about the nature of chamber music and will include an interpretive workshop with two young pianists from the Dædalus course.


In the same afternoon, you will perform together with the pianist Giuliano Mazzoccante. How did this collaboration come about and what program will you propose to us?

I had the great pleasure of listening to Giuliano a couple of years ago in one of the Hauskonzert organized by Dora and Nora Schwarzberg in their Viennese home. These occasions are beautiful days, marathons of music in the original spirit of Hausmusik, which involves musicians from all over the world and of all ages in sharing a love for music and great human warmth. That day Giuliano and I did not play together except in a fun klezmer improvisation born extemporaneously after a few sips of wine, when it was already dark. Since then we wanted to find an opportunity to make music together again. We are very happy to be able to inaugurate our collaboration in Cremona with a consolidated program of masterpieces by Debussy, Schumann, Poulenc, and Skrjabin.


From your CV we read that you had many experiences and you still play both in orchestra and in various chamber ensembles. In which situation can you best express yourself?

I love making music in all its forms. I choose my projects looking for a variety that keeps my relationship with the stage fresh, preferring the quality of the repertoire and the harmony with particular colleagues. Most of my work is in chamber music: the clarinet has the privilege of a beautiful chamber music repertoire, including mature masterpieces by Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Debussy. I also love collaborating with special orchestras who have their roots in a culture of chamber music listening, such as the Mantua Chamber Orchestra, the Haydn Philharmonie in Austria and the Leonore Orchestra of Pistoia. Furthermore, my interest in the historical context of interpretation has led me more and more towards the original instruments; not only through experiences with the antique clarinet, but recently also with the baroque recorder, an instrument that allows me to access the music of a historical period that I love enormously, but from which unfortunately the clarinet is almost excluded. On the contemporary music side, I deal since several years with improvisation and synergies with other performing arts like dance and theater, mainly in Denmark with the MidtVest Ensemble.


What are your first memories of music?

A particularly sweet childhood memory is to wake up slowly to the sound of a piano, played by my father or my grandmother: Chopin, Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert ... Daily and recurring voices. I suppose for me music will always retain the echo of that domestic warmth, of a comfortable awakening among sound blankets.


You were born in Imperia, at the age of sixteen you left Italy to move first to the United States, then to the Netherlands and Spain. Now you live in Denmark but continue to travel the world for concerts. How important is it for an artist to know the global reality that surrounds him and what precious stimuli did you get from these itinerant experiences of yours?

There is also an additional relocation: since a couple of months I am taking a break from my Danish experience and I have moved to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Certainly, traveling has enriched me so much in experiences, friendships, abilities and points of view. This is still the case. But ultimately I confront myself more and more with the peculiar sensation of feeling myself at home almost everywhere, without however being able to call any place truly "home". I suppose it's a feeling shared by many musicians and all serial travelers. Perhaps the fault lies in the dense calendar (maybe it's the advancing age!) ... but it happens more and more often, in the moments that follow the last note of a concert, that I can't immediately remember where I am. Is it not music that conveniently offers itself as an escape route, a lively rest on a tiring travel itinerary, as "home"?


Having also studied economics, you could have pursued another professional path. Why did you choose music?

I have always had a great interest in history, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. At the university I was also enrolled in the faculty of economics, poised between music and an alleged future in jurisprudence. But the stage took the choice, as a source of a special thrill that caught me and which I can't do without now. I believe that my extra-musical passions still play a fundamental role in contextualizing and enriching my imagination as a listener and performer.