Leading up to Elisa Citterio's debut as Tafelmusik's new Music Director, we sat down with Elisa for a short Q&A so we all could get to know her better.
Welcome to Toronto, your new home! Did you know much about the city, or Canada as a whole, before your first visit?
Thank you! My first visit to Canada was when I first met Tafelmusik in 2015, and at that time I knew nothing at all about either Canada or Toronto. In the past I had turned down many tours of your country because I was too busy with other commitments, but every time I hoped to be able to come as soon as possible. My wishes came true!
What do you look forward to exploring in the city?
I am so excited about exploring the different neighbourhoods, with so many cultures living together, to discover many kind of foods, and to find green areas around the city. I am looking forward to relaxing walks on the beaches. I’d like also to explore other musical events here.
What are you looking forward to performing this year?
To be honest, I am looking forward to performing anything with the orchestra, choir, and Ivars! But I am particularly excited to perform with our guests Jeanne Lamon, Bruno Weil, Kristian Bezuidenhout, and Alison Melville.
Who are your favourite composers to perform?
Bach and Mozart. But I love Monteverdi as well. I have to say that I have also loved performing works by Strauss, Janáček, Shostakovich, Puccini, and Verdi.
What is your favourite thing to do on a day off?
If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said dancing the tango, visiting with my nephews and nieces, and walking in nature. Now I spend every free minute with my one-year-old daughter.
What was your first music gig?
It's difficult to remember, because my mother organized a few concerts every year with her piano students, and I played every time on both piano and violin. I suppose the first time I probably played a Bach minuet on the piano, and a violin concertino by Küchler. The first professional performance was for the award ceremony of a violin competition: I was twelve and I played an easy Vivaldi concerto.
What are the last three recordings you listened to?
• Bach Goldberg Variations
• Mozart trios
• Some Vivaldi operas
What is your “guilty pleasure” music to listen to?
I used to listen a lot of tango music from the 1940s and 1950s, and also some Italian pop music.
What is your great ambition?
In terms of my career, I have always wanted to play beautiful music with good musicians, but often good musicians aren't so kindly. Tafelmusik’s members are good musicians—and kind! As to my personal life, I’ve been looking forward to leaving Milan, because I don't like living in such a chaotic city. Toronto is
certainly bigger, but I think you have many more green areas here. I had also been wanting to have a baby for many years but I didn't have the time to realize this wish. I am so happy to have my daughter Olivia in my life. Now my biggest ambition is to be helpful to Tafelmusik.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
There are so many wonderful musicians all over the world, and the list would be very long! Firstly I received a big inspiration from my mother, since she loved music so much — whenever she was home she listened to classical music, and she practised piano for half an hour every night, even after very long days. And I had lessons with so many teachers, and some of them were really inspiring. I can mention four of them: Chiara Banchini, Enrico Onofri, and Luigi Mangiocavallo for baroque violin, and Dejan Bogdanovich for everything.
Where do you see yourself ten years in the future?
That's the most difficult question for me at this moment of big change. The next three years will be a great adventure both for me and for my family. Maybe we will all fall in love with your country! Of course, taking care of them and of their wishes for the future is a priority.
We don’t have the soccer following that Italy does, but we do have some passionate fans! Do you follow any sports teams?
Actually I don't — I don't appreciate the big business that surrounds soccer, so I won't miss it. I enjoy following the Olympic Games, but that's all.