Daniela Rossi returns to ‘real’ live performance at Clare Hall, Cambridge
Cambridge-based classical guitarist Daniela Rossi is excited to be back performing in a ‘proper’ venue once again as she prepares to take the stage in Clare Hall, Cambridge this Saturday (May 8).
At the free live-streamed concert, Daniela, who hails from Argentina, will be presenting the world premiere of a new piece composed especially for her by Vincent Lindsey-Clark, a fellow classical guitarist.
The concert will feature four folias (ancient themes from Spain) by four different composers: François Le Cocq (Belgium, 1685-1729), Mauro Giuliani, (Italy, 1781-1829), Manuel María Ponce (Mexico, 1882-1948), and ending with Vincent’s piece.
“I’m very excited but I have to confess that I’m really nervous,” says Daniela, 36, “how’s it going to be playing something just once and not re-recording it as many times as I want?
“You know that people are watching at that time and that the video is going to stay online. But it’s a lot more motivating than sticking a camera in front of yourself and recording, although it’s great of course that we can do that. And Clare Hall is a great venue – I’ve played it twice before.”
Daniela adds: “And people can interact on the YouTube channel as well, at the time it’s happening.”
Vincent, 64, interjects: “This is a very new thing, I think, these online concerts where people can say what they think about it while you’re playing the actual music. Can you imagine that in a live venue?”
The Hampshire-based musician, who also teaches at Eton, the University of Southampton, and London’s Centre for Young Musicians, says that he has spent the last year or so “mostly composing” – though he started the piece he wrote for Daniela, The New Folias, before lockdown.
“‘Folia’ means ‘folly’, or ‘madness’, a kind of dance that was done using madness as a background,” explains Vincent. “So the concert is around the idea of taking different sets of variations on this same theme.”
He adds: “Sometimes it’s very difficult to hear the original theme as it’s so disguised. But it’s there – it’s in the composer’s mind all the time. With my set of variations, you may find that it’s very obvious sometimes, but other times it’s buried within all sorts of complex stuff.”
Daniela has played a number of online concerts since live performance ground to a halt last year – the last time she performed ‘in person’ was in March 2020 at the Classical Minds Festival. At a festival in Winchester a few months prior to that, Daniela met Vincent for the first time.
“Basically, I went to hear Daniela Rossi give a concert,” recalls Vincent. “I’d never seen her before but it was local to me, and we met afterwards and went for a drink with some other guitar players – and I thought it would be lovely to write Daniela a piece because she was talking about a new set of folias for the 21st century.”
Vincent, who has also composed music for another top South American guitarist – Berta Rojas, from Paraguay – says he was “very impressed indeed” with Daniela’s playing, and notes: “I was inspired to write something for her, and the idea of the folias came up because we were talking about them in the bar. I do all my organising with people in bars after concerts.”
Daniela, who also teaches guitar – online at present – studied with Eduardo González Velasco at the Conservatory of Bahía Blanca, her hometown, where she graduated in 2006. Since then she has studied with many leading guitarists and teachers worldwide, including Eduardo Isaac, Victor Villadangos, and Graham Devine. She also studied for four years at the Segovia Guitar Academy in Pordenone, Italy.
She has won numerous awards and prizes across South America and Europe, including first prize in the London International Guitar Competition (2015), second prize in the Heinsberg Guitar Competition and Festival in Germany (2017), and first prize in the XXXVI Luis Sigall International Music Competition held in Viña del Mar, Chile (2009).
The pieces Daniela will perform on Saturday are:
- Les Folìes d’Espagne – François Le Cocq
- Variazioni sul Tema della Follia di Spagna – Mauro Giuliani
- Folias de España: Theme, 20 variations and Fugue – Manuel María Ponce
- The New Folias – Vincent Lindsey-Clark.