Albanian-Spanish sounds in Classical music Biennial

More than a dozen musicians from Albania, Kosovo, but also Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany are participating in the seventh edition of “Classical Music Nights” biennial staged in the city of Durres by internationally renowned Spain-based Albanian violin virtuoso Florian Vlashi.

This year’s biennial is held under the motto “Spain: A musical journey in Cervantes’s home” bringing different genres of classical music and three ensembles from Spain, Kosovo and Albania.

Violinist Florian Vlashi says the Albania-Spanish relations are as ancient as 17 centuries old.

“I was recently reading in Spain a piece of news which made me think. A Spanish ship had been discovered on the waters of Durres… sunken 1,700 years ago. That ship was discovered by Albanian underwater archaeologist Adrian Anastasi and according to Spain’s daily El Paid, “was transporting precious and carefully selected items such as wine and oils to please the subtle taste of the local aristocracy. That was 17 centuries ago. I didn’t know connections with Spain were that early,” says Vlashi.

“In fact Durres is the Albanian city which has most played Spanish music and where many musicians, composers and artists were represented in Spain,” he adds.

“If somebody asked me why Durres I would answer that it was the Classical Music Nights which established this bridge of sounds with Spain. But somewhere I feel that this was maybe another bond, much older as ‘written” on the sailors’ wills of the ship which sank 1,700 years ago in the waters of Durres,” says Vlashi.

The festival, scheduled to be held in Durres from August 1 to 7, will feature the surrealist, ancient music, baroque, classical, romantic modern and contemporary music nights.

The 2013 biennale marked “700 years of music in Durres, tracing the history of music in the ancient coastal city of Durres starting with 14th century musician Jan Kukuzeli to continue with some 15th and 17th century performances.

The biennial ¨Night’s of classical Music¨ was born in 2003 in a natural manner and in just the right moment and place, as do all things that seem predestined. “Spending the holidays in my home city of Durres I would reunite every evening with my old friends from school. There, between endless talks, memories, beers and laughs, we would play the Mozart Quintets. In the end, we decided to perform these beautiful works for the public,” says Vlashi.

There are seven nights with different themes, like a promenade between different periods of music, including a competition for young talent: Night’s of Baroque Music, Classical, Romantic, Modern, Albanian, the Competition for young people and Carte Blanche. Each concert takes place in a particular, special, surrounding, like the Santa Lucia Cathedral, Archaeological Museum, Jozef Gallery, Aleksander Moisiu Theater, ¨Jan Kukuzeli¨ Music Conservatory, even in an abandoned factory in the outskirts of the city.

“In contrast to the “20th Century Instrumental Group” which I direct since 1996, the project of the biennial in Durres is more ¨familiar¨, more intimate, it is music amongst friends. In the end, this is the essence of chamber music,” says Vlashi.

The “20th Century Instrumental Group” performs regularly in the biennale, thereby creating a ¨sonorous bridge¨ between the two countries. In the last edition, the ¨ Night of Baroque Music¨ was dedicated to the Count Giacomo Durazzo (1717-1794), a native of Durres, an enormous figure of the European cultural scene in the 18th century, who during his stay in Venice as ambassador collated the greater part of Vivaldi´s manuscripts, including the work the Four Seasons. These manuscripts only saw the light in the 1920s.

 Florian Vlashi, the Albanian violin in Spain

Born in Durres, Florian Vlashi, 50, has been living in Spain for the past two decades. He began his study of violin at the age of 6. His father, writer and famous theatre director, Gjergi Vlashi, had a decisive role in the future of his son. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana,

in 1989 he won the Competition of Soloists and Symphonic Orchestras of Albania. The same year, he was the director and soloist of the “Jan Kukuzeli” String Orchestra with which he performed many concerts and recordings.

Since 1992, he has been a member of the OSG, studying with G. Egger, L. Múller. His activities extend to pedagogy, publications on aesthetic interpretation and congresses. He has been invited to play in the inauguration of the concert season of the Center of Modern Art Reina Sofia, Fundación Juan March, Auditorio Nacional de Música of Madrid, Caim –Salamanca, CAI- Zaragoza, on the Academia de España in Roma, Instituto Cervantes in Nápoles, Suiza, Albania, Pristina, Sao Paulo, Montevideo, etc. and in many festivals of music in La Coruña, Santiago, Vigo, Bilbao, collaborating as a soloist with the Plural Ensemble of Madrid.

Composers such as E. Buharaja, C. López García, J. Vara, X. De Paz, P. Pereiro, D. Malumbres, J. Durán, F. Buide del Real, A. Koci, W. Rosinskij have dedicated works to him.

In 1999, he launched his “Andrés Gaos – Integral para violín y piano” CD and in July of the same year, Albanian TVs dedicated him a documentary called “Florian Vlashi – The Albanian violin in Spain”. He is founder and musical director of the summer festival “Nights of Classical – Durres 2003”.

Since 1996, he has directed the chamber group Camerata Brigantina and the Grupo Instrumental Siglo XX, which is formed of soloists of the OSG, premiering more than 80 works by Spanish composers, some commissioned by the group itself.
Albanian-Spanish sounds in Classical music Biennial Albanian-Spanish sounds in Classical music Biennial Sunday, August 02, 2015 Rating: 5
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