The story began in September 2019 in the Salento region of Apulia in Southern Italy. The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation had partnered with Outhere Music and MUS-E Italia Onlus to organize a music residency that would close with a concert in Alessano, in the context of the Muse Salentine Festival, with the aim of raising awareness among the population of Salento of social inclusion of children from all cultures through art in schools, as proposed by the Foundation’s MUS-E Programme.
The concept of the residence was to revisit some of the repertoires dear to Yehudi Menuhin by including some elements of traditional music and doing this by bringing together classical musicians and musicians from Italian folk tradition. Therefore, the core team of musicians was formed by the Brussels Chamber Orchestra and musicians of MUS-E Italia Onlus: Eugenia Amisano, Sebastiano Forte, Antonino Talamo, Davide Bonetti, Gioele Balestrini. We had the honor to have the participation of the virtuoso Alessandro Quarta. Together, they revisited pieces that Yehudi Menuhin particularly appreciated such as the concerto for two violins BWWW 1043 and Partita III for solo violin of Johann Sebastian Bach as well as Grapelli’s “Ballade” and “Rolls” and they even explored the seductive world of Astor Piazzolla. The closing concert of the residency took place on the 15 September on the open air main square which was – first ever – packed with the exceptional participation of the Mandolin Maestro Antonio Calsolaro.
After this Italian success, the IYMF brought the concept back to Brussels for an exceptional performance at the Plaza Theatre on the 9 December 2019. A special tribute to Yehudi Menuhin and a voyage through different musical styles and cultures that embarked the audience.
As part of this concert, IYMF partnered with Outhere Music and MUS-E Italia and received sponsorship from the Italian Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium. The event was attended by high representatives of the European institutions and other international personalities.
The road to this concert didn’t stop there either. The reception of the concert by the public in Brussels was unanimous and so we decided to offer it at the international classical music festival held in Pietrasanta every year, “Pietrasanta in Concerto”. Marked by the coronavirus crisis, this 2020 edition of the festival was certainly different but all the more moving and necessary for the music world. It could have been called this year “Small is beautiful” because intimacy was the main theme. Intimacy and solidarity. The concerts were held on open air stages and the profits were donated to associations in the Pietrasanta area.
We were very proud to present at this festival the concert we created almost a year ago. Once again, our musicians literally turned the audience on its head and it was a magnificent tribute to Yehudi Menuhin.