Interview with Giovanni Grano












Giovanni Grano

Giovanni Grano was born in Italy, in Basilicata Region. He studied guitar and graduated with flying colours under Ruggero Chiesa at the "G.Verdi" Academy of music in Milan,after which he attended several master classes with Oscar Ghiglia at the "Accademia Chigiana" in Siena, in Gargnano and with H.Smith (lute) in Sesto Fiorentino. He also graduated with honours at the Faculty of Humanities of Bologna and attended further studies at the University of Paleography and Musical Philology in Cremona.

He has published a number of essays on musicology for Bulzoni, Zanibon, and Bčrben editions and has revised many unknown and rediscovered works for solo guitar as well as for guitar ensembles.His activity as a guitarist has seen him regularly playing in the main capital such as Paris, Hannover, Brno, Moscow, New York, Madrid, Berlin, Milan, Lausanne, London, Dallas, Budapest, St. Petersburg.

He also studied composition for several years with F. Donatoni at Milan “G. Verdi Conservatory and conducting in Prague with J. Stvŕn.

He has been invited to performe concerts in several prominent festival,such as Salzburg, Zurich,Ljubljana,Printemps de Prague, Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Segovia Festival 2002,Voronhez, Mantova Musica Festival, and also in various prestigious halls,where guitar concerts are a rarity(Tonhalle in Zurich, Glinka Theatre in St.Petersburg, Moscow Conservatory, Martinu Hall -Liechtenstein Palace in Prague, Palau de la Musica in Valencia, Columbia University in New York, Plilarmonic Theatre in Tallin, Philarmonic Theatre in Stettin, Auditorio Naciňnal in Madrid, Teatro Bibiena in Mantua, Andrés Segovia Fundación in Linares).

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Interview with Giovanni Grano:

Question: Who do you think is the most overrated and the most underrated composer for the classical guitar?

Giovanni Grano: The world of the guitar is very often connected with " fashions ". For a while it was trendy to perform works by Leo Brouwer, - as everybody knows - a brilliant and very original composer, and also a dear friend of mine. Later on the fashion of Piazzolla, the extraordinary tango composer became popular.Today even the idea of fashion has somewhat faded in favour of some composers "ŕ la page".One of the most overrated compositions - even if well planned - is the Libra Sonatine by R. Dyens, and one of the most underrated compositions is the splendid and mysterious Sonata Terza by M.M.Ponce.

Question: Which „Slogan“ would you use in advertising for the classical guitar?

Giovanni Grano: Just paraphrasing a sentence attributed to F. Chopin " What is more beautiful than one guitar ?" .... I shoul say..... " two guitars" !!


Question: With which prejudices – that are connected with the classical guitar – would you like to get rid of?

Giovanni Grano: First of all think that the word "classical" is not used in an propriate way. The repertoire can be defined as "classical", not the instrument. Nobody defines the piano or the violin as "classical": but I can imagine that such an adjective "classical" has been connected with the guitar only to distinguish it from the amateur guitarists playing a different repertoire.


Question: Which attributes do you find typical for classical guitarists?

Giovanni Grano: I think that a guitarist has to be - first of all - a complete musician, with a good knowledge of harmony, music analysis and history of music.


Question: What things in your life do you definitely want to learn and what do you regret not having done?

Giovanni Grano: I would like to learn and cultivate a passion for archeology and for some other foreign languages ( I already speak six fluent languages ) ; I regret I couldn't improve
my knowledge in philosophy,and alternative medicine.


Question: What dreams do you have that you would like to fulfil?

Giovanni Grano:  ...... I have a dream - remember M.L.King _ ?!
My dream is that some day musicians and artists, generally speaking, could take the place
of politicians to promote and spread culture. Besides I'm sure that they could govern much better than professional policicals.Just think of -for example- Thomas Jefferson(excellent violinist and third president of America), Ignacy J. Paderewski( pianist-composer and prime minister of Poland ), or Lansbergis ( musicologist and president of Lithuania ),or Helmut Schmidt (excellent pianist and Chancellor of Germany ),to mention but a few !!


Question: What is embarrassing for you?

Giovanni Grano: Stupid wars; pain inflicted on innocent people by others trying to get easy and immoral profits; hypocrisy and people who go up the ladder of success of because influence and connections.


Question: In relation to world history, which personalities fascinate you the most?

Giovanni Grano:
The philosopher Seneca


Question: What short phrase would you use to discribe your lifes philosophy?

Giovanni Grano: It's not a serious fault to be ignorant, but it becomes heavy if you decide to remain ignorant at all costs !!


Question: Which abuse in your native country would you like to do away with?

Giovanni Grano: Ill-breeding, some politicians who let pass a bill in favour of themselves, hypocrisy of our actual political system that cuts off funds from culture and makes citizens believe that they live in a democratic Country !!


Question: In relation to world history, which personalities fascinate you the most?

Giovanni Grano: There are many personalities. Among musicians, for example, for sure Gesualdo, the prince of Venosa, the great madrigalist, and also born in my same region;among poets and writers W. Shakespeare, E.A. Poe, among historical personalities Frederick the second (Hohenstaufen who lived in the middle-age, so-called "stupor mundi") and Mikhail Gorbacev, unforgettable president of the former Soviet Union.


Question: Which question would you like to be asked and what is your answer to this question?

Giovanni Grano: The best question is that question that never was asked !!


Question: Which guitar virtuoso today has the makings to follow in the footsteps of Andres Segovia?

Giovanni Grano: ................ Nobody!


Thank you very much Giovanni for this interview.

Jovan Pesec



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