SUBJECT OF THE COURSE: free choice repertoire
COURSE DURATION: 23.07 – 26.07.2023
Massimo Somenzi, from Venice, studied piano with Maria Italia Biagi, a distinguished pupil of Rio Nardi and Alfredo Casella. He graduated from the Conservatorio ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice with top marks, distinction and special mention, also winning the ‘M. Mazza’ prize as the best student in the Piano School. He studied chamber music with Sergio Lorenzi, Franco Rossi and Antonio Janigro. He furthered his studies at the “Mozarteum” in Salzburg and at the “Association Musicale de Paris” where he won a “Premier Prix” in Chamber Music. Winner of numerous prizes in national and international competitions, during his intense concert activity in chamber music ensembles with illustrious international instrumentalists, as soloist and with orchestra, he has played in the most prestigious halls in Italy (Teatro alla Scala and Sala Verdi in Milan, Teatro La Pergola in Florence, Teatro Grande in Brescia, Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Sala Verdi in Turin, Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Teatro Olimpico in Rome), France (Auditorium of the Louvre Museum in Paris), Austria (Musikverein in Vienna), Japan (Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo), Spain, Germany, former Yugoslavia, USA, Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania, Canada, Portugal, China, former Soviet Union.
His repertoire includes 450 compositions performed in public. A passionate Mozartian, he has performed most of Salzburg’s Chamber Music with Piano and Concertos for Piano and Orchestra, the complete Sonatas, Fantasias and Rondo for Piano, and the complete compositions for piano duo.
Massimo Somenzi ‘is’ a pianist, he does not ‘play’ the piano. This is immediately apparent from the music he always brings with him, in his concert programmes, in the Conservatory or Master’s classes where he teaches and in his collaborations with countless musicians. His music is always in search of dialogue, the sharing of melodic and harmonic discoveries to highlight for the pleasure of sound and listening. Even in music that is little frequented or considered minor, his reading is mainly aimed at trying to unveil, with the conviction of one who believes in all music, secrets, embryos of ideas, refinements to be used later as elements to build sound architectures. (Mario Brunello, cellist) It must still be said that a pianist like Massimo Somenzi has few comparisons in the Italian chamber music scene. (Giuseppe Calliari, L’Adige, Trento, 18 November 1991) Franck’s Sonata restored, thanks to Somenzi, with a pianistic temperament of absolute beauty and maturity. (Angelo Foletto, Suonare, Milan, April 1999) Massimo Somenzi is the incomparably poetic soloist. He seems to evoke the gallant style in the lightness of the ornamentations and the gracefulness of the piano proposals, but then in the Andante he plunges into a very lyrical and rarefied cantabile, with subtle explorations and almost pre-Romantic and Schubertian hints. Without forcing it, however, respecting the demands of Mozart’s style, which thrives on subjective and emotional melodism. But the highlight of the evening was the performance of a late work from 1791, the year of his death, an Adagio for glassharmonica, the rotating crystal instrument, that Somenzi created with the piano. It is an elegiac page, hovering in an ethereal sky, which the performer transfigures into a rarefied, weightless enchantment. A way to relive the author’s innermost thoughts in the sign of an intimist lyrical appeal. There are few pianists today who possess the naturalness of Massimo Somenzi’s singing. (Mario Messinis, Il Gazzettino, Venice, 18 October 2006)
Massimo Somenzi has been performing intensively as a Duo with cellist Mario Brunello, Tchaikovsky Prize winner, since 1980. Since then, the two musicians have played together in 200 concerts. This Duo, which increasingly appears to be the chamber music revelation of recent years, has once again imposed itself with an astonishingly beautiful reading. (Piero Rogger, Il Gazzettino, Venice, 2 June 1987) He plays regularly in Duo with the American pianist Gustavo Romero, winner of the Clara Haskil Prize, with whom he has repeatedly performed in the United States and Italy monographic or integral programmes of the works for piano duo by Mozart, Clementi, Schubert.
Romero and Somenzi play deliciously together… (Charlene Baldridge, Village News, La Jolla, California, 17 February 2005)
Sensational Mozart version at La Fenice for the Società Veneziana di Concerti with the duo Gustavo Romero – Massimo Somenzi. On the programme are all the Sonatas for piano for four hands, among the highest legacies of the Salzburg composer’s instrumental production. The performance reconciles the rigour of style with an improvisatory flair that enhances the theatrical allusions of the texts. One grasps the prophecies of Schubert’s pathetic cantabile, as well as Beethoven’s tensions It is a way of freeing interpretation from orthodoxy: this Mozart lives in instant enlightenment but with full formal awareness. The interpretative thought seems to evoke the ‘high’ line of the Central European tradition between the two wars, far from both neoclassical abstraction and romantic passion. The two exceptional personalities complement each other: more lyrical Somenzi, more constructive Romero, an American pianist never heard in Venice. In encores two fragments, again by Mozart, of impeccable grace and creativity. A luminous joy of making music radiates from these soloists. A warm success. (Mario Messinis, Il Gazzettino, Venice, 14 February 2010)
The technical demands of the sonatas – which were many and relentless – only fueled the conviction and creativity of these two princes of the piano, whose performance proved a truly royal experience and called for an instantly grateful reaction among listeners. (Jeffrey Ou, Denton, Texas, 8 April 2016)
He has served on the juries of important national and international competitions and regularly holds master classes in piano and chamber music in Italy and abroad. Massimo Somenzi was director of the Conservatorio ‘Agostino Steffani’ in Castelfranco Veneto for 12 years and piano teacher at the Conservatorio ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice for 18 years.