I’m off to Italy to teach for a week on the European Chamber Music Academy course. ECMA is an unusual organisation which moves around during the year, holding courses at a number of ‘host institutions’ in different parts of Europe. It offers high-level coaching to chamber groups – mainly string quartets and piano trios – who are often post-grads or young professionals, but feel that they still benefit from occasional study sessions. Groups have to audition to be admitted as ECMA members, and only a few are accepted each year.
This summer the ECMA meeting is being held in at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, in the hills above Florence. The Scuola runs its own summer string quartet academy, held this year in parallel with the ECMA project. I’ll be teaching groups from France, Italy, Austria, and various Eastern European countries. Nobody has asked me whether I can teach in those languages, so I’m hoping that English will turn out to be a lingua franca as it usually does. I could make a little headway in various languages, but it would involve a lot of pantomime.
If you are due to be in or near Florence next week, there are two concerts by the ECMA participants – at 21.15 on the evenings of Wednesday 24 July in the church of S.Salvatore di Monte (there’s no piano in this concert) and on Thursday 25 July, with piano-based groups, in the famous church of Santa Croce (see photo). Having read the participants’ biographies, I am sure both concerts will be very fine.