Ludovico Troncanetti, pianist

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music, and who or what have been the most important influences?

It all started by accident when I was 13/14 years after I bumped into an electronic piano at my cousin’s house in Umbria. I began to explore the world of music out of curiosity  and so I continued that way by entering the Music School in my birthplace in Siena for almost six years. In 2009 I met Leslie Howard. That was a very particular period of my personal life and I must unquestionably say that if I had not met him I would have given up music and the piano once and for all. But this did not happen, to my great joy and against all odds. Thus, once I reset my way of studying and approaching the piano, thanks to Leslie’s precious lessons, it became clear to me that my life was not only about the music but that it was the music itself as well. From 2009 the music became a lifestyle for me. I did have another wonderful teacher in Florence, for a three years specialization. His name is Piernarciso Masi and, just like Leslie Howard, he taught me to see beyond the notes and inside myself in order to find out the most appropriate, pure and clear way to portray the music I was playing. Both teachers gave me an important lesson: while playing, the technique is a means, not an end, and the more you are yourself the better – no lies, no mannerisms.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

My greatest challenge is actually still work in progress and it consists of the complete recording of Rubinstein’s piano music. It started officially last year with my first recording of his 4 Piano Sonatas. This CD will be released in January 2020 on the Movimento Classical label, and later on platforms such as YouTube and Spotify. It contains Sonatas no.1 opus 12 in E minor and no.3 opus 41 in F major (the composer’s favourite one). I’m optimistic and willing and I hope it will be just the beginning of an amusing and unique artistic project, mainly in the name of a composer unfairly underrated and not performed enough. Gradually, I’m seeing the results of my work on Rubinstein and this gives me even much more incentive to go on with his music. Later next year I’ve been invited to perform Rubinstein’s third piano concerto in Germany, nearby Dresden, with the Elbland Philharmonie Sachsen, and the fourth concerto in Siberia with the Sinfonica Artica. I also have opportunities to play his two-piano Fantasy op.73 with Leslie Howard, with whom I premiered it in several countries including Russia, Portugal, Italy and India. I then hope to keep on like this!

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

So far, I’m very satisfied of my first performance of Rubinstein’s of third piano concerto last September in St Petersburg with the St Petersburg Northern Sinfonia and Fabio Mastrangelo conducting. A very fine orchestra, which works in complete collaboration, which is the secret of its successes and results. Of course it is also true that I am never totally satisfied with myself because I think that, as musicians, we always aim to achieve the best we can for each performance, which means constant work and research. There is always something new to discover, and this is a matter of fact. As for the recordings, since I just made my first one, I will wait until I have recorded a few more to have, eventually, a preference to name!

Which particular works do you think you play best?

I freely express my way of being through all the four Rubinstein’s Sonatas, Beethoven’s opus 26, Liszt’s Romancero Espagnol S695c, Second Mephisto Waltz, Réminiscences de La Juive S409a, Rapsodies No. 1 and 19, Schumann’s Waldszenen and ABEGG Variations, Rachmaninoff’s first Sonata. Talking about piano concertos I’d go for Rubinstein’s opus 35 and 45, Saint-Saëns’s all, Beethoven’s opus 37, Tchaikovsky’s opus 44.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

It usually depends on my mood but mainly through the reactions I have by listening to a piece or playing it. I do believe we should play what we really feel is close to our soul and taste and leave the rest for the time being because one won’t be in the state of mind to give one’s best to the music. No obligations, as they are counterproductive; everything has to come by itself, naturally.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

Frankly speaking I don’t have a favourite one because sometimes it happens that the venue is fantastic but the piano wasn’t at all, or even the contrary! One of the best pianos I have ever played so far was a 1890 Steinway from New York, restored by an incredible man whose name is Giangastone Checcacci. With that piano I played Mozart’s K466 along with Anton Rubinstein’s cadenzas for the first time ever. I was so impressed and touched by its ancient and rock-hard sound, which I like to think was very similar to the one Anton might have listened to. The second one was also a marvellous Steinway – first rate tuning, technique and sound – at the International House of Music in Moscow, which also had a marvellous venue,  with a fine acoustic. This mix gave me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Composers: I’m very keen on Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, Rubinstein and Rachmaninoff.

Pianists: I like in particular Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leslie Howard, Emil Gilels and Mikhail Pletnev

Conductors: Mehta, Temirkanov, Mastrangelo, Ozawa and the late Kubelik.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

I remember the first time I played Anton Rubinstein’s music in a public concert: it was in Turin a few years ago, and people went absolutely bananas for his opus 12. From that day on I never stopped playing his music in concert, and the Rubinstein “revival” just took its first steps. For emotional impact, my first performance of one of Rubinstein’s piano concertos in St Petersburg, his home, which seemed a far away pipe dream until recently.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

It is doing what you love the most, in the best way imaginable and being capable of sharing your feelings with the audience and communicating through the instrument, the result of talent and focused, steady studies.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Always be yourself, be curious, be enterprising, be stubborn, be courageous, don’t be afraid to be daring, be respectful of every piece you play, feel free to listen to suggestions from others but always make any decisions with your brain. I’m firmly convinced that, as musicians, we do not have to play the music but rather reincarnate it.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

I’d like to imagine myself in my own house with a dog, which I don’t have yet, and always traveling for concerts, spreading Rubinstein’s music in the world.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Waking up everyday day with the smile and lots of ever-changing ideas in my mind, facing the mirror and seeing myself and not another person.

Ludovico Troncanetti’s new recording of Anton Rubenstein’s Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 and 3 is released in January 2020 on the Movimento Classical label

Ludovico Troncanetti, was born in Siena in May 1991. He began studying piano at 13 and just one year later he entered the Siena Conservatory and in 2009 he began studies in London with the world-renowned pianist Leslie Howard. He has studied composition at the Conservatory “G. Verdi” of Milan with Maestro Gianni Possio. In 2012 he played Mozart’s G Major piano concerto K.453 with the “Rinaldo Franci” Orchestra in the Church of St. Augustine, and in June 2010 the Rondo “Krakowiak”in F Major by Chopin at the “Teatro Rinnovati”. He has participated in masterclasses with pianists such as Andrea Lucchesini, Leslie Howard (Camposampiero Academy), Pier Narciso Masi (Academy Corelli Fusignano, Conservatory of Lucca, Music Academy of Florence, Pomarance and Modena) and Henri Sigfridsson (the renowned Academy of Music Palace Ricci in Montepulciano).

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