2016 is without a doubt a very special year for the Elba European Island Music Festival, so as a way of celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the concerts held in various parts of the island will be of an even higher level; not only that, one will be held on the Island of Pianosa, one of the other jewels that make up the Tuscan Archipelago.
A combination of factors have helped make all this possible: first of all the idea of creating a first class special event and the desire to involve artists of an international and unique level, not forgetting the help and contribution from local authorities and associations, and last but not least the public who has believed in us all these years, or even simply those people who have sometimes come because the programme has captured their interest.
On the first evening, August 31st, Piazza Cavour in Portoferraio will come to life with soul music sung by Patrizia Conte from Taranto who, along with her quartet, will fill the air with wonderful jazz music that anybody can go and listen to.
This 20th edition will also welcome the return to Elba of Yuri Bashmet and the Soloists from Moscow, who, accompanied by the pianist Ksenia Bashmet are what can be considered the real "backbone and all time members" of the festival. They have taken part in each and every edition of the festival since it started on October 4th 1997, time when, the young pianist walked onto the stage with her father and the whole Orchestra, just back from a tour in Japan.
For the last concert, on the other hand, the cellist Mario Brunello, who loves to play in a breathtakingly beautiful setting, will enchant his audience on the pristine Island of Pianosa. It is not by chance that it will be these artists, the true backbones of the event, who will open and close this edition that can only be described as really special.
On the evening of 1st September the Moscow Soloists, along with the Orchestra leader Bashmet will play in the Roman Villa of Le Grotte.
In the evenings in between these two unique events, some singers and composers from previous editions will be back once again to embellish the atmosphere of the Festival. Their names spring to mind immediately, like the violin players Alexandra Conunova and Gregory Ahss, as well as those of the violin player Béatrice Muthelet and the cellist Raphael Bell.
Elba will welcome many international artists for the very first time, like the charismatic pianist Alexander Melnikov and the very popular chamber music players, or the outstanding cellist Giovanni Gnocchi, the violin player Kio Seiler, the American viola player David Quiggle , or the Scottish pianist Alistair Beatson.
Just for this twentieth anniversary the duet consisting of the pianist Pierre Bouyer and the violin player Nicole Tamestit will play Beethoven's Sonnets on a fortepiano that dates back to the year 1810.
Traditionally, as in the past years, there will be one evening of classical music followed by an evening of jazz music, but thus year they will be held in the Vigilanti Theatre in Portoferraio. Avishai Cohen, the outstanding trumpet player from Israel, with his quartet will present his recently published project entitled Into the Silence.
A long awaited appointment included in the Festival programme, made possible thanks to the efforts of the Associazione Amici del Festival (Friends of the Festival Association), is the Elba Festival Prize. This year it will be awarded to the young musician from Elba Jacopo Taddei (saxophone) on the occasion of the concert on Monday 5th September. Just like in the past years, the prize is awarded to a gifted, young musician, chosen by a commission with the Maestro Yuri Bashmet as the head. The winner will not only be granted the honour of being included in the programming of the Island of Elba Europe Music Festival, but will also receive a prize in money on behalf of the Associazione Amici del Festival.
Although almost all the concerts will be held in the Vigilanti Theatre in Portoferraio, the yearly appointment of the Moscow Soloists Orchestra with Yuri and Ksenia Basmet will take place in the beautiful Hotel Hermitage; not only that, wonderful trekking through the woods above Marciana will get you to the Madonna del Monte Sanctuary, where the Moscow Chamber Players Soloists will play as well as in the suggestive church in Rio nell'Elba.
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