Presentation of the CD Bach Sanssouci of Massimo Mercelli and Ramin Bahrami 27/09/2019 at 15:30 in Sala Zelioli Lanzini
"Sanssouci" is the place of the soul of Frederick II, King of Prussia, his Castle at Potsdam where he cultivated his love for art. As a skilled amateur flutist of hus era, on 7 May 1747 he received Johann Sebastian Bach, to whom he asked to play all the instruments of his collection. Bach accepted, after having first asked for an escape theme to improvise on. This is how was Musikalische Opfer was born, composed after coming bach to Leipzig on the "Thema Regium", a work that he dedicated precisely to Frederick II. Hence the connection of the Bach family with the Sanssouci Castle, where the second most famous of the twenty sons of Johann Sebastian, Carl Philipp Emanuel, worked as a composer and chapel harpsichordist. Performers of this concert are two world-famous musicians: the flautist Massimo Mercelli - for whom composers like Penderecki, Gubaidulina, Glass, Nyman, Bacalov, Morricone, Sollima have written - and the pianist Ramin Bahrami, one of the most important living Bach interpreters, considered by critics "a magician of sound, a poet of the keyboard".
Massimo Mercelli is the flautist in the world with the most important dedications; star composers as Penderecki, Gubaidulina, Glass, Nyman, Bacalov, Morricone, Galliano, Sollima wrote and/or performed with him. Massimo studied flute with the famous flautists André Jaunet and Maxence Larrieu. At just nineteen years of age, he became the principal flute at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, won the Prize Francesco Cilea, the Concorso Internazionale Giornate Musicali and the Concorso Internazionale di Stresa.
He has performed as a soloist in some of the world most prestigious concert halls, like Carnegie Hall, New York, Herculessaal ,Gasteig, Munchen, Philarmonie, Berlin, NCPA,Beijing, Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Auditorium RAI, Turin, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Puccini Festival, Victoria Hall,Geneve , San Martin in the Fields and Wigmore Hall, London , Parco della Musica, Rome, Philarmonic hall , Saint Peterburg, Philarmonic hall Warsaw, Čajkovskij Hall in Moscow, and in Festival as Ljubljana, Berlino, Santander, Vilnius, San Pietroburgo, Bonn, Festival Cervantino, Rheingau, Jerusalem, Warsaw, performing with artists as Yuri Bashmet, Valery Gergiev, Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, Massimo Quarta, Ennio Morricone, Luis Bacalov, Peter-Lukas Graf, Maxence Larrieu, Aurèle Nicolet, Anna Caterina Antonacci, Ramin Bahrami, Albrecht Mayer, Gabor Boldowsky, Jiri Belolhavec, Federico Mondelci, Jan Latham-Koenig, Catherine Spaak, John Malkovich, Susanna Mildonian, with orchestras as Berliner Philarmoniker, Sinfonia Varsovia, the Filarmonica del Teatro Regio di Torino, Moscow Soloists, Filarmonica Toscanini, Opera di Roma, Wiener Symphoniker, Cameristi del Teatro alla Scala, Prague Philarmonia, Filarmonica di San Pietroburgo, i Virtuosi Italiani, Salzburg Soloists, la Moscow Chamber Orchestra,i Solisti Aquilani, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, I Musici, i Solisti Veneti.
Massimo Mercelli is artistic director and founder of Emilia Romagna Festival. Since 2001 he has been a member of the board of counselling of the European Festivals Association (EFA) and on April 2011 he was elected vice president until May 2017. On 11 September 2006 he performed at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium of the United Nations. He performed in the Berliner Philharmonie with Berliner Philarmoniker and in the Big Hall of Moscow Conservatory, in a Gala Concert with Yuri Bashmet and Gidon Kremer. Massimo Mercelli has made two tournée with “I Virtuosi Italiani”, conducted by Krzsystof Penderecki, playing his Sinfonietta for flute and strings.
Recently he performed at London’s Wigmore Hall and Salzburg’s Mozarteum, held a Master Class at the Rostropovich Foundation and played the first performance of Philip Glass’s composition “Façades” for flute and piano, with the composer at the piano.
He performed the World Premiere of the new Cantata “Vuoto d’Anima Piena” by Ennio Morricone, under the baton of the composer and he has taken part in the Festival at Warsaw Philharmonic for the 75 years of Maestro Penderecki. In the 2009-10 season he played in Milan at MiTo Festival, at Prague’s National Theatre with Denyce Graves, in China with Luis Bacalov at Shangahi EXPO, and he performed the World Première of the concert for flute and orchestra by Michael Nyman dedicated to him. In January 2011 he played at Čajkovskij Hall in Moscow under the baton of Yuri Bashmet and in November he played at MusikVerein in Wien.
In 2012 the Orange Mountain Record has released “Massimo Mercelli performed Philip Glass” CD with Philip Glass’s chamber music for flute. Mercelli has been a jury member of the following international competitions: International Competition of Geneva; Concours de Flute Jean-Pierre Rampal – Concours Internationaux de la Ville de Paris, Concert Artist Guild of New York (USA), Fischoff Chamber Music Competition of South Bend (USA) Beijing Flute competition (China).
As a pedagogue he gave Masterclasses in Oslo Norges Musikkhogskole (Norway);Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (Finland); Cleveland Institute of Music (USA); Akron University (USA); Trinity college of music (UK); Mannes School of New York (USA); Singapore Conservatory (Singapore) Oberlin Conservatory (USA); Bankok University (Thailand); North Carolina University (USA); Universitad of Santiago(Chile); Taiwan University (Taiwan); Matan Project –Tel Aviv (Israel); Rostropovich Foundation (Vilnius, Lithuania).
Recent engagements include the recording of Bach’s sonatas for Decca with Ramin Bahrami, the world première of the new concerto dedicated to him by Sofia Gubaidulina and participation to the concert for the 85th anniversary of Kzrysztof Penderecki.
Among his next commitments we emphasize the new CD Bach “SansSouci” for DECCA with Ramin Bahram, and a series of 5 documentary about Bach’s Sonatas for RAI5, the world premiere of “Jade Concerto” dedicated to him by Richard Galliano, and the performance of Warum by Sofia Gubaidulina, written for him too, at Teatro alla Scala di Milano and the new concerto by David Chapela in Buenos Aires and Los Angeles.
For his work as a promoter of Music, he was awarded twice by the European Commissioner for Culture JAN FIGEL and by the French deputy minister for Culture (Prague University and Paris, Centre Pompidou).
Ramin Bahrami is considered one of the most interesting interpreters of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music of our days. In May 2009 he debuted at Leipziger Gewandhaus with Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester, performing two of the greatest Bach Piano Concertos. The Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote: “a wizard of sound, a poet of the keyboard… extraordinary artist who has the courage to face Bach in a true personal way”.
Other important appointments work during all the 2009-10 season: performances at the “Piano aux Jacobins” Festival in Toulose, then in Finland and Estonia with Andres Mustonen (including the appearance at the Opening Concert of the Tallin Estonian Baroque Festival) and in solo recital; in February the debut in Paris playing the Goldberg Variations and in March a tour with the Festival Strings Lucerne; in May another great success with Riccardo Chailly in Gewandhaus completing the Bach Concertos presentation; next summer the invitation from other important European piano festivals (including La Roque d’Anthéron and Uzés in France) and the Beijing Piano Festival. The Persian pianist is deepening more and more his original mixture of chiselled interpretative reading and European but in same time Oriental vision of the monumental piano works by Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2009 DECCA Universal released the 6-cds box Ramin Bahrami plays Bach, with all Bahrami’s Bach recordings till there and a selection from live performances of the last years, and in 2010 the French Suites recording. Before that, the Goldberg Variations, the 7 Partitas and the Art of Fugue, released respectively in 2004, 2005 and 2007, launched Bahrami as popular artist, and the recording of The Art of Fugue reached the top ten of pop-music best sellers in Italy, keeping this position for seven weeks; then the releasing of Concerto Italiano, with Bach works inspired to Italy (Concerto Italiano, Aria variata nella maniera italiana, Capriccio sulla lontananza del fratello dilettissimo, Quattro Duetti, etc.), and in 2009 the inusual Bach’s Sonatas received again important evaluations from critics and audience. Bahrami already performed in the most prestigious concert halls of the Italian musical panorama. Among his highlights, important tours and the performances in halls like Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Sala Verdi di Milano, Teatro Olimpico di Roma and expecially Accademia di Santa Cecilia, where he appeared in the prestigious “Solo Piano” series with Maurizio Pollini, Grigory Sokolov, Daniel Barenboim, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Evgeny Kissin and where, in March 2008, he performed a Bach-Marathon with the cellist Mario Brunello. In June 2008 his appearance at Wigmore Hall in London, with great plause of the audience. In May 2009, he performed the Art of Fugue at the prestigious “Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli” Brescia and Bergamo International Piano Festival, together with other important names of the piano such as Andràs Schiff, Lang Lang, Angela Hewitt, Grigory Sokolov, Alexander Lonquich. In September, he received the invitation to open the Autumn edition of Bologna Festival “Il nuovo, l’antico” and to close the Festival Pergolesi Spontini with the cellist Umberto Clerici, playing Bach’s Viola Sonatas and other composers that then he toured in Asolo, Napoli, L’Aquila and other Italian cities. Moreover, he recently opened the chamber music season of Santa Cecilia, in Rome and the Beethoven Festival in Varsavia, together with flautist Massimo Mercelli. After a triumphant concert in the Great Hall of the Liszt Academy in Budapest and at the Tonhalle in Zurich, he had the chance to perform with Yuri Bashmet and Moscow Soloists.
Born in Teheran, he left his country at the age of 5 with his mother and brothers after the obscured death of his father, a Persian engineer imprisoned during the ayatollah revolution. Bahrami was helped to go to Italy, where he studied piano with Piero Rattalino, graduating at “Giuseppe Verdi” State Conservatory of Milan and at “Incontri col Maestro” Piano Academy of Imola; then he studied with Wolfgang Bloser at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart. Bahrami then specialized with Alexis Weissenberg, András Schiff, Robert Levin, and expecially Rosalyn Tureck, the pianist who most remarkably contributed to popularize Johann Sebastian Bach in modern piano repertoire. Bahrami’s debut at Teatro Bellini in Catania was so impressive, that the Municipality granted him in that day the honorary citizenship. Since then, he appeared mostly in Italy, invited by the most important Italian theatres, seasons and prestigious piano festivals. In 2004 he signed an exclusive contract with Decca Universal for a series of Bach recordings, attesting his constantly deepening knowledge of Bach’s work. In January 2009 Bahrami was awarded the Premio “Città di Piacenza-Giuseppe Verdi” dedicated to the greatest personalities of musical scene (before him: Riccardo Muti, Josè Cura, Leo Nucci and Pier Luigi Pizzi). He was also awarded the “Mozart Box” Award for his passionate and captivating work in classical music distribution.
His ever-successful recordings were also published in a dedicated collection of 13 CDs by the newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Furthermore, he has published two books with the publishing house Mondadori. A third book, called “Grandpa Bach” is coming soon.