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Luca Tieppo

It is as ever, a pleasure to share music and ideas with you and this month we are featuring Luca Tieppo. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and his insights below:

Karen :Q1. I know you have a love for both Opera and Ballet. Can you define what skills differentiate the two jobs as a repetituer and do you think it is something that few (or many) pianists can achieve?

Luca: I have always been fascinated by theatre, and the dramaturgy behind the shows. And I have always wanted to be a composer, since when at 4 I used to hum my own arrangements of popular children’s tunes… So working in theatre has always been my ambition. When I started, not much older than a teenager, first for ballet at La Scala and then for opera in Monte-Carlo, I discovered a world of opportunities and possibilities as a pianist. Thirty-something years on, I am still fascinated by the different skill sets that each job requires. A pianist for ballet needs to be much more flexible, both musically and mentally; I’m thinking for example of the ability to improvise or adapt the music, or of how dancers speak a different “language” that one must understand and interpret. Even when rehearsing the repertoire, a pianist needs to sustain the dancer with fewer but clear and firm inputs. In opera, on the other hand, one has to be able to replicate the orchestra, often filling in the gaps of the piano score, supporting the singers with different colours etc. Adaptation or improvisation are not only not required but also inconceivable..

Not many pianists that I know of have been able to build a career in both opera and ballet, perhaps just because it would require too much of a mental shift to jump from one to the other. I have been privileged enough to have had the chance to work with some of the best of both worlds and at this stage of my life I would love to pass on this experience to younger musicians.
Karen :Q2. What advice would you give younger musicians coming into work in the world of dance?
Luca: I believe music has first and foremost social value. It’s the perfect means to socialise, and is a great companion – a friend for life. With music at your side, you’ll never feel alone. Studying music should be an investment for one’s own existence. To someone who wants to play for a living, though, the first advice I would give would be to be honest in defining their “talent”; to be determined, prepared to compromise but most importantly be willing to give a part of themselves to others. Making music should not be about being successful or achieving recognition, which can be at times a cause of frustration – it should always be about giving. Especially in the world of dance, I would say.
Karen Q3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Luca : I have absolutely no idea! I am currently working on a few creative projects which will hopefully keep me occupied for the next couple of years and then I will do what I have always done – follow where life, music or love take me, and start a new chapter.