Photographs by STEPHEN IRONSIDE/IRONSIDE PHOTOGRAPHY
Corrado Rovaris says he didn’t know what to expect from Northwest Arkansas, but now he and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra musicians know it’s a special place.
Friday, May 19, 2017
The Artosphere Festival Orchestra, under the baton of music director Corrado Rovaris, has been recognized as an important new voice in the classical music world by American Public Media's Performance Today, the nation's most popular classical music radio program. But who is the maestro who has accomplished so much in seven years? What's Up! asked Rovaris five questions.
Q. How did your association with Artosphere come to pass?
Artosphere Festival Orchestra
WHEN — 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville
COST — $10
INFO — 443-5600
BONUS — The concert includes four original versions from Luigi Boccherini’s “Withdrawal by Night in Madrid,” superimposed and transcribed for orchestra; Avner Dorman’s “Frozen in Time”; and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7.
A. In 2010, when Peter Lane and I sat down for lunch in Philadelphia, he began describing the Walton Arts Center's new exciting festival called Artosphere. He had recently come to a performance I conducted in Italy and asked me if I would consider bringing that orchestra to Arkansas to play in this new festival. My thoughts instantly went to, "Why not build something new and unique for Artosphere? Something special, an orchestra that embodies all the values that Artosphere aspires to?" And that's where the orchestra began.
Q. What made a new festival in a not-very-cosmopolitan area appeal to you then?
A. I work in many situations around the world, and in each of them the most important component is the people I get to work with, especially when the project can become something much more meaningful than merely one concert. The opportunity to build something from the ground up creating a significant impact for both the musicians and the community was also appealing.
Q. What has surprised you about the orchestra's success since then?
A. What surprises me most is how much our musicians love this orchestra and the festival. It is rare to find ... musicians that are so committed to making beautiful music together in such a special way. We are always honored to have so many members of our "musical family" wanting to return year after year.
Q. What goes into your process for selecting music for the festival, particularly the finale?
A. Artosphere brings together the arts and nature to inspire us to take better care of our fragile world. I work to find music that speaks to this idea. Take a look at this year's programming, for example. While performing in the beautiful natural settings of Crystal Bridges, our concert [on May 17 took] the audience throughout Scotland listening to musical pictures of unique landscapes. In our third program, we travel again, featuring a percussion concerto that captures prehistoric Indo-Africa, then Eurasia and landing in modern-day Americas. It is more than music -- it is a choreographic percussion experience not to be missed.
Q. What would you say to people who have never imagined traveling to Northwest Arkansas?
A. When I first imagined Arkansas, I did not know what to expect. Being from Italy, Northwest Arkansas was completely unknown. Now, after coming here for seven years, I tell everyone that this part of the world is truly a hidden treasure!
-- Becca Martin-Brown
NAN What's Up on 05/19/2017
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