Some thoughts and assessments on the National Strings Orchestra Meeting
The Festival of the String Orchestras that took place in Elbasan has already been considered a unique event our country. Actually it is taking the proper importance.
Wishing to make some personal considerations in the role of the head of the Jury i would firstly stress the seriousness of the organisation and people´s passion to put into life the right and important aims of its bases.
Secondly, it has to be emphasised the ensemble performances. With their artistic values they established valuable standards of performances that need to be appreciated.
Thirdly, it should be noted that we are late in supporting the municipals orchestras.
If to date we have heard the usual refrain: “We have no funds” it should be noted that funding for culture does not burden but save a country’s economy (though it is “wasted” for those who want to embezzle it).
There is no sense where we have high schools of music in other cities, with a large number of instrumentalists who have graduated from the University of the Arts without having a Philharmonic or at least an Institution-level Orchestra. Then why does all that University serve? To supply only Tirana audience?
What about the other cities audiences?
Fourthly, I think that in such a meeting thy must necessarily participate the Shkodra, Durres, Fier, Gjirokastra, Berat, orchestra municipalities as there are music high schools. Otherwise the question arises what do these music schools do in these cities? What about the cultural musical life in them? What is their end product and what is their relationship with the finances they absorb? Has the Ministry of Education ever thought of them or treated them as insignificant rudiments?
Fifth, it has been noted since long the lack of professional conductors. The only conductor in this edition was Oleg Arapi, who at least communicated on professional lines and schemes with the instrumentalists.
We use to have many people who play the piano, but concert pianists are a few and they are the only one who are able to hold concerts. We are not pretending to have Daniel Barenboim level here, for sure!
In general, the lineup is run by educated musicians who can bring on high quality product but who are not conductors. This phenomenon is related to the fact of our conducting school in our country for at least the last 20-30 years. On the other hand, for almost 40 years no new orchestra has been formed in which any talented young man or girl can step on the podium to refresh the air around.
Sixth, this is “National Meeting”, but isnt ‘t the time to call it a “Nationwide Meeting”? This year there were instrumentalists from Northern Macedonia and probably next year orchestras from Kosovo will also come. Prishtina, Prizren, Gjakova etc. who have good string ensembles that can and should be present in this competition. If the “Kamerfest” Festival was extended to Tirana and Skopje this year, it is definitely ready to participate in Elbasan as well. This will further increase the artistic competition and the level of “Meeting” in general.
Seventh, referring to many “International Meetings”, I think that the requirements for participation must be raised to high professional levels. If not a mandatory national repertoire, at least there must be a well-defined repertoire, of which will also help the Jury’s fair judgement. For example, someone comes up with diverting music, someone else with difficult romantic pieces, someone with a popular party and someone else with Baroque works, and judging the level becomes much more difficult. Of course, the first editions cannot be made on strict requirements, but I think now is the time to come up with the best international examples. I think the seriousness of selecting a repertoire cannot and should not be done to the public’s taste, and there is no point in thinking about sucking frantic applause with out-of-art elements. The goal should be to converge on finding a repertoire that identifies the qualities of the formation, without aggravating it, but rather stimulating it.