Venetian Baroque group heads to Iowa


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Through the manipulation of strings and chords, Interpreti Veneziani, a Venetian Baroque chamber ensemble, manages to deliver intrigue, romance, and exuberance.

Derived from the Portuguese word barroco, Baroque connotes a musical mix of complex melodious notes and ordered structure. Many associate Baroque music — at least Late Baroque — with the prodigious works of Bach and his successors.

“[Interpreti Veneziani’s] repertoire includes virtuoso Italian pieces like Rossini and Paganini,” member Paolo Cognolato said. “The Baroque music in the past often had been composed for churches; it is hard re-creating the same atmosphere … but we try to do it.”

The group, sponsored by Hancher Auditorium, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 228 E. Jefferson St. Admission for the event is $10 for UI students, $26.60 for children, $34.20 for senior citizens, and $38 for others.

The founders of Interpreti Veneziani met while studying at a conservatory in Venice 22 years ago. Since then, the group has earned critical acclaim for its expertise and all-Italian brio.

Interpreti Veneziani, which has 18 members, gives a concert nearly every night.

“Everyone has a [solo] repertoire. We usually play in [nines: five violins, one viola, one cello, one double bass, one harpsichord],” Cognolato wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Iowan.

In addition to the annual concert season in Venice at the San Vidal Church, Interpreti Veneziani performs all around the world.

“[We’ve] played in many beautiful venues in Japan, Australia, U.S., and also in Europe … [and once at] the Russian Kirov Theater during a musical marathon celebrating the reinstatement of the name St. Petersburg,” ensemble member Artemio Versari said.

The program on Saturday will feature works of Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, Pablo de Sarasate, and others.

If past performances are any indicators of quality, audiences can expect an outstanding experience.

During Interpreti Veneziani’s U.S. début concert in 2007, the chamber group received a resounding standing ovation and thundering applause — all before intermission.

Part of the group’s success comes from the collective experience of its members. Cognolato estimates the group has performed 200 concerts in Venice and around 6,000 in total.

Interpreti Veneziani also recently released a CD as a first-time collaboration with music publisher Musikstrasse in addition to 16 previous CDs with Rivo Alto.

Life isn’t always easy on tour though.

“Last year, we had to play in Alaska and had to change the flight in Paris, but there was a snowstorm,” Cognolato said. “We lost the connection; we arrived to Chicago airport late, so we lost the connection again. We took [another] flight to Seattle from there and … arrived so late that we were not able to do our performance. It was the first time we had to [cancel] a performance.”

Another time, the group arrived to a concert only to discover there were no chairs for the audience.

“The organizers had a problem with the company that had to bring the chairs … they asked for help [from] the police,” he said. “We didn’t rehearse but [had to help carry] the chairs found in bars and restaurants.”

Despite the occasional issues, members of Interpreti Veneziani love the job of delivering chamber music to the masses.

“[We get] the chance to travel and meet people,” Cognolato said. “We are lucky people.”

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