Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mandolin and Guitar Workshop in Tuscany with a Maestro…What Could Be Better?

Strum your mandolin or guitar amid the beautiful hills of Tuscany. Stay in a 15th century villa where every room evokes the Renaissance and every meal is a feast. John T. La Barbera, award winning acoustic guitarist, mandolinist, composer, arranger, author and performer will conduct this unique workshop. His special guests include Carlo Aonzo, one of the finest classical mandolinists in the world and Enrico Granafei, guitarist and jazz harmonica virtuoso.

This experience, offered from August 11-16, 2010, is designed for those who can read intermediate musical notation and chord diagrams. However, students with knowledge of tablature or who are at an intermediate playing level will be considered. Whether you are seeking a professional music career or play for your own personal development, this is an outstanding opportunity.

The Workshop
This is a rare opportunity to improve your technique, collaborate with other musicians and learn from a virtuoso. La Barbera, award winning acoustic guitarist, mandolinist, composer, arranger, author and performer will offer Master Classes, 3 one-hour private lessons, lectures and participation in duos, trios and quartets. This includes a special one-day Master Class and performance on August 13 with Carlo Aonzo.

This course provides instruction in mandolin and guitar and focuses on improving performance skills and ensemble playing. Emphasis is placed on, but not limited
to, the Italian repertoire for mandolin, solo guitar and chitarra battente, both from the classical and traditional folk music styles of Southern Italy, as well as the Brazilian repertoire of Chorinho, Bossa and Samba music for mandolin and guitar. Music will be drawn from Medieval (Italian 13th century dances, and troubadour songs), Renaissance (lute songs, music from the Italian Commedia dell”Arte, including the Neapolitan 16th century Villanella all Napoletana), Baroque and Classical literature (Giuliani, Carulli and Carcassi), the literature from Traditional Southern Italian Mandolin and Fiddle Tunes book and Brazilian chorinho music for mandolin and guitar.

John T. La Barbera
La Barbera is the author of the first and foremost mandolin book dedicated to the traditional music from Southern Italy, Traditional Southern Italian Mandolin and Fiddle Tunes, Mel Bay Publishing. He composed film scores for Children of Fate, (1992) (Academy Award Nominated feature documentary), Sacco and Vanzetti (2008), Pane Amaro (2008), What's up Scarlet (2005), Neapolitan Heart -Cuore Napolitano (2000), La Festa (1996) and Tarantella (1994).

In theater, he has served as composer, arranger and musical director for several off-Broadway productions including Souls of Naples (Theater for a New Audience) starring John Turturro; Kaos, (New York Theater Workshop) directed by choreographer Marta Clarke. He composed several fully staged folk operas including Stabat Mater, Donna di Paradiso, The Voyage of the Black Madonna and The Dance of the Ancient Spider. He received several composing awards and commissions from The Jerome Foundation, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Martin Gruss Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, ASCAP and was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Awarded for his extraordinary role in the transmission and translation of Italian oral traditions from The Italian Oral History Institute, La Barbera is recognized as one of the first transcribers of Southern Italian folk music in America.

His published works also include: The Marimbaba Suite for percussion quartet and Danza del Fuego for solo marimba, both published with Bachovich Music Publications, 2009 and has contributed a chapter in Oral History, Oral Culture, and Italian Americans, Palgrave-MacMillan. 2009.

He holds a B.M. from the Hartt School of Music (Univ.of Hartford), in addition to graduate courses at William Paterson University in NJ, ethnomusicology at Hunter College in NYC, Villa Schifanoia (Rosary College), in Florence, Italy, and at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, the film music seminar with film composer, Ennio Morricone.

He currently teaches at the Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, in Katonah, N.Y. He has taught at The Julius Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford), The Guitar Study Center of the New School in N.Y., Sessione Sienese in Siena, Italy, SASI in Bratislava, Slovakia and SESC in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

His music has been recorded on Shanachie records, Meadowlark, Rounder Records, Lyrichord Disks, Ellipsis Arts, and Bribie records.

The Villa
The workshop is held at La Chiara di Prumiano, six centuries old in the Chianti region of Tuscany, near Siena. Even if you can’t translate the villa’s website, prumiano.it, from Italian, I recommend looking at the photographs. I have stayed at this villa, and it is wonderful! Spacious and decorated with tile floors and dark, polished wood, I entered the villa and felt the pressures of my regular life slide off my shoulders. Each bedroom, whether single, double or triple, has modern bathrooms and is beautifully appointed.

The food at Prumiano can only be described as spectacular. Breakfasts are continental and completely satisfying (which is not true everywhere you go). Lunches and dinners are feasts that the kitchen staff creates from fresh ingredients grown on the villa property. They pride themselves on serving cuisine that is beneficial to the body and mind and tastes like heaven. These wonderful meals are eaten at long tables under a large, vine-covered pergola on the patio.

The Palio and Other Activites
Prumiano offers a swimming pool and stables on the grounds. Imagine horseback riding in the Tuscan hills….I’ve done it, and it’s unforgettable. The villa also offers shiatsu and ayurvedic massage. In addition, you’ll find spas, mudbaths and a lake nearby.

You may want to consider extending your stay in the Siena area to attend Il Palio, the world famous traditional medieval pageant and horse race. The event takes place from August 13th-16th in the Piazza del Campo in Siena. Ten of Siena's neighborhoods (contrade) compete to win this important contest. Many traditions, ceremonies and rituals take place up until the final race on the evening of the 16th. After the race is run and the winner is crowned, the festas begin, wine flows, food abounds and dancing and merriment continue into the wee hours. As a matter of fact, since each contrada has its own fountain, the winning contrada fills its fountain with free wine for everyone all night long. If you are thinking of adding this event to your itinerary, be advised that places to stay fill up quickly.

Learn more about this special workshop, including prices and registration by downloading this brochure. Just click on the orange Menu button and select Download Doc. Be sure to download both pages:

Mandolin Workshop Tuscany 2010 page 1 -

Mandolin Workshop Tuscany, 2010 page 2 -

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