Siracusa For EveryoneMarch 25, 2021
L’Arcolaio – Dolci EvasioniMarch 26, 2021
All photos © Orchestra Barocca Siciliana
The O.B.S. - Sicilian Baroque Orchestra
When they told us the Sicilian Baroque Orchestra (O.B.S.) was about to shut down, we could hardly believe it: the organisation that had “brought” baroque music back to our island over thirty years ago, by inviting the best soloists of the international scene and by training entire generations to perform with authentic instruments, was about to disappear forever… We had to do something, as quickly as possible. After gathering a group of young and resourceful Sicilian musicians and researchers together, all of whom were still living far from Sicily or had just returned, we attempted everything that was possible (and impossible) to avoid the disappearance without trace of this vast heritage of experience and knowledge.
From the very beginning, choosing Siracusa as the home of this “rebirth” felt really like the only choice possible: after all, what could be more obvious than playing baroque music, with baroque instruments and following baroque performance practices in one of the most beautiful baroque cities of the world? Nonetheless, no one believed we would manage: too many times in the past our city had fooled us, by dampening or nipping in the bud meaningful and ambitious cultural ventures for no good reason, almost like a mother that suddenly becomes a stepmother out of jealousy or envy towards her children.
The reader can only imagine our surprise when we saw hundreds of people filling up the church of San Martino for the inaugural concert of the 2020 calendar. That was the moment when the “dream” began to take shape: after years of studies and sacrifices, made up of short-lived successes and countless disappointments, the “tune” was finally changing, and the O.B.S. could finally - rightly - play its part to help quench the thirst for Beauty that had overcome our fellow citizens, by taking its place as a model of engagement and active participation for the production of important cultural events.
Without the support and motivation of our partners, no effort would have been enough, especially in a field like ancient music, which for the most part is considered (wrongly) irksome, difficult, and reserved for the experts. Concert after concert we have discovered how much enthusiasm our audience still has, together with the desire to discover more about the practices and execution of baroque music, embarking on a trail of discovery that hasn’t stopped even in the face of the darkest moments, during which long-distance listening and discussions have helped to overcome the isolation the virus has forced us into: thanks to the support and affection shown by its members, the O.B.S. has survived the pandemic of the century, and it is now stronger and more unified than ever, as it searches for new challenges.
During the first lockdown, we started to organise the first Baroque Week, which then took place in August under the stars, in the Cloister of the Convento dei Cappuccini, a space with perfect acoustics for concerts, a time-machine of indisputable artistic value and charm, as well as an ideal place to protect teachers and students of our international masterclasses from the chaos of modernity.
To round off a year of wonder and amazement, we could even put the cherry on the cake: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs selected the New Italian Baroque project as the flagbearer of the Italian way of making music, and will now fund a recording and distribute it all over the world through a dedicated section on its official website.
We don’t yet know what awaits us in the future, but we have really enjoyed this first year, and we want to continue surprising ourselves and you...
President of the Orchestra Barocca Siciliana, with a diploma in piano and harpischord, Luca completed his training at the Scuola di Alto Perfezionamento Musicale in Saluzzo and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. He graduated in Musicology at the University of Pavia, and then with a doctorate in Sciences of Literary Texts and Music. He works with various groups who specialise in playing on original instruments. In 2016 he won the VII International “F. M. Ruspoli” Prize for Musicology Studies.