1- You were born in a musician’s family: can you tell us more about them and how they influenced you early on in your musical development?
I am very fortunate to have been raised to appreciate the beauty of music through my parents; musical tradition was introduced to me early in my childhood and has since accompanied me through life. Both my parents are cellists who have played in numerous Opera Orchestras across Italy and Germany whereas my sister (Mira Marie Foron) is an outstanding violinist. My grandparents are also artists, my grandfather is a theatre director/regisseur. My passion for music undoubtedly stems from having grown up in such a diverse and rich musical environment.
2- One of your early teachers was Prof. Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Musikhochschule Hannover. How did this master shape you musically?
I have been extremely lucky to have been taught by Prof. Kämmerling, one of the great piano Pedagogues of Germany. He inspired an immense musicality in me and through his rigid (almost old-fashioned) methods taught me the sincerity of music. The incredible discipline that the creation of music needs is something I definitely learnt from him.
3- You became a pupil of Jorma Panula at the relatively tender age of 11 in your instruction of conducting. How do you recall this master?
Here again I was very lucky. I am always going to be very appreciative as well as surprised to have found such a distinct master who believed in me and my capacities at such an early stage in my life. I have learnt so many things from him and still remember vivid moments in my training. I remember Panula as a very lively and joyful person. One of the main things I recall is that he never saw me as a young musician but just as a musician. Believing in one’s talent is something I truly admired of him and that helped me through my years to persistently strive towards excellence, work hard and never stop believing in myself.
4- You have organised your own concerts and opera productions, such as at the Opera Forward Festival or the Grachtenfestival. Can you tell us the path that led to these organisational ventures and how they were received?
I got increasingly more interested and skilful in organising my own concerts. I am particularly motivated by concert creation, because I can keep complete control over the start and end of each production. A conductor should have a broad understanding on many different aspects of music making. Besides the rehearsals and concert, a conductor is also involved in finding players, the right venue, bringing together people etc. This is something I learnt and developed in concert making. I can’t thank enough people around me who have worked and supported me throughout, as creating music together is an absolutely brilliant, fun and unforgettable experience.
5- You are currently studying as a master student in London at the Royal College of Music. How is this progressing?
I am very proud to have been the only selected conductor for the postgraduate master course starting in 2019 at the RCM. I am very happy about my teachers, colleagues and overall experience. The RCM provides a very personal and tailored approach to its students and I am very lucky to be in this position. The RCM is a fantastic institution and has offered me great opportunities. I have 3 main teachers, Peter Stark, Howard Williams and Toby Purser. In addition, we have regular guest professors and conductors visiting. This year, amongst others, Martyn Brabbins (on Mahler 1 and 5), Antonio Pappano (on Beethoven 7), Emmanuel Siffert, Michael Rosewell and Sian Edwards taught us. I have also managed to leverage my connections through the RCM’s excellent network, something I am very grateful for.
6- You have conducted the world premiere of a number of symphonic pieces and opera productions. How does this honour feel like and is there an extra layer of preparation required when charting these new waters of musical performance?
I will continue to conduct world premieres, also during the next season! Yes, it’s a great honour for me, exploring the depth of the human creative mind is something that really intrigues me. I love working with composers, as it helps me refine conducting music of the “classical” era. I feel that the work involved in the preparation of productions, the variety of individuals you meet and work together all merges to create part of an extremely diverse and rich cultural experience that one aims to build upon throughout their life.
7- How often do you practice?
I believe that a definite amount of practice time does not exist, a musician should aim to practice for as long as it takes for him or her to be satisfied that the amount practiced will lead to them shining and performing to the highest possible standards. Undoubtedly there is much sacrifice involved to achieve your maximum potential and hence one has to arm themselves with immense determination and patience to achieve their final objectives. This is exactly what I love: I persistently work hard as I believe one should aim to be the best at anything they undertake. The sense of reward that comes when you are aware that you have prepared impeccably for a concert and the satisfaction and positive atmosphere created by an audience that enjoys and listens carefully are invaluable!
8- Besides being a conductor you also study piano and composition. How does this influence you?
Like I said earlier I greatly enjoy premiering contemporary pieces. This has to do also with the fact that I study composition and of course also piano. Each of these 3 different “instruments” have a different approach of music: Composition helps my conducting to better understand the craftmanship aspect of studying a score. It makes it easier for me to understand the musical story the composer is going through as I know the process that one goes through to compose. Piano keeps me grounded as a proper performing musician and helps me in score reading and hence helps me on a more practical side for conducting. Each 3 have a different viewpoint and therefore optimally add to each other. I greatly enjoy making music and looking at music from these different angles. With each of them I would like to share a different point my dedication and love to music.
9- Do you have future projects in the pipeline you would like to share with us?
I am very proud to be in the final selection of only 12 finalists of the prestigious Toscanini Competition that will take place September 2020. Additionally I will have my debut premier of the cello concerto by Jan Peter de Graaff and Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 in Groningen-Oosterpoort Zaal, Muziekgebouw-Amsterdam and Tivoli Vredenburg-Utrecht with the North Nederland Orkest. And of course there are more things to come!
I want to thank Talent Unlimited for the great opportunities they have given me and especially Canan Maxton for the great care she is taking in me.