Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rolling Through The Italian Countryside



Over the next little while I intend to backtrack slightly and share with you some of my favourite places and experiences of the last few years of travel.
Today we will travel to Italy, Desenzano del Garda, to be exact, for a week of inspirational music in a beautiful location.


Imagine this: 
Waking up with the morning sun glistening over the harbour of Desenzano del Garda. 




Whilst enjoying a lazy breakfast, you watch the Italian town slowly wake before wandering the quiet streets to collect a bicycle from an elderly Italian man who doesn't speak a word of english. After a few minuets of conversation, in hand gestures and languages neither of you quite understand, you take the bike for a morning spin to explore the wonders of Lake Garda. 







After a few hours exploring the small towns dotted around the picture perfect lake there is time refuel with a  quick gelati before continuing your cycle through the rolling vineyards of the sun-kissed countryside on your way to Podere Selva Capuzza, an exquisite family run restaurant/winery. This is where you will spend the rest of your day observing masterclasses run by one of the worlds leading string quartets, before dinner with new friends in the gardens. 








As the shimmering sun says goodnight to the rolling hills, you roll back to town and fall into bed exhausted, inspired and completely satisfied by life.

As the chit chatter of the still bustling Italian town below starts to send you to sleep, you smile, remembering that it will all happen again tomorrow.



Every time I travel I try to get the most out of my temporary new home. I always try to be involved in some aspect of life in the town/city/country and really discover my surroundings as best I can. This year I feel incredibly fortunate to have lived the life described above for an entire week! 
A week feeling as if I was part of an idyllic european movie. 




I knew I would be visiting a dear friend of mine in Milan and after a bit of research discovered the Garda Lake Music Master. This is an international classical music festival that occurs every year and brings some of the top instrumental teachers from across the globe to one of the most beautiful places I know. Individual masterclasses occur daily but I was extremely fortunate to spend my week with Quartetto Di Cremona, one of the world's leading string quartets. 




I perform regularly with a string quartet here in Perth, Mill Point Quartetwe are always looking to develop as an ensemble and as individual performers. What better way than to dive into an intensive week of lessons? 

Having no idea what I had signed myself up to be a part of, I found myself as the only non-Italian speaker, and the only observer for the classes at the quartet village. All the lessons were conducted in Italian, a language that I do not speak, but the language of music was more than enough for me to understand almost every word. 




I was struck by the kindness of everyone involved. The administration team, participants and in particular the Quartetto di Cremona, were so warm, welcoming and incredibly generous with their time.

The lessons learnt and the inspiration gained will stay with me for a long time to come and I am very excited to bring it all back and put it into practice with projects here.

This will be one of those weeks that I will talk about for the rest of my life.



All photographs taken by Alix Hamilton 



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