Blog / Maserati Interview: Lorenza Borrani

Maserati Interview: Lorenza Borrani

Posted on 17 Nov 2016 by Leo Messias

Image: Lorenza Borrani in rehearsal with the ACO.

Our friends at Maserati, the National Tour Partner of our 2016 concert tour finale Beethoven’s Favourite, sat down for a revealing chat with Lorenza Borrani ahead of her concert tour with the ACO.  

A Professor of Violin at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, in her hometown of Florence, Borrani has been Leader of the acclaimed Chamber Orchestra of Europe since 2008. She also plays a key role in the self-proclaimed ‘musical laboratory’, Spira Mirabilis, of whom the Guardian said “…they are remaking the modern classical music concert with a remarkable spirit that crosses world-class performance standards with a rebellious, almost anarchistic, streak. More socialist collective than musical organisation.”  This unconventional creative spirit makes Borrani a perfect candidate to join the ACO as guest director and soloist. 

Intrigued? Discover more about this fascinating musician below.

Maserati (M): This is your first time to Australia. What expectations do you have?

Lorenza (L): I am very excited to get to know a new continent and, instead of particular expectations, I am rather looking forward to being surprised! 

M: What are you most looking forward to about working and touring with the ACO?

L: I am looking forward to discovering Beethoven 131 with them. I think it is something that really requires a contribution from each player due to the depth of the piece. From what I have heard the ACO seems to be the perfect partner for this. We don't know each other yet, but I suppose our love for orchestra playing is, for both of us, as personal and self-fulfilling as chamber music and solo performances are.

M: What would you like audiences to take away from your concerts with the ACO?

L: More than taking away an impression about our way of performing - no matter if positive or negative - I hope audiences go home having a deeper insight into the pieces we have played.

Image: Glenn Christensen (violin) and Ike See (violin) in rehearsal with Lorenza Borrani. 

M: The Chamber Orchestra of Europe and ACO both having outstanding global reputations. Do you think chamber music is finding new audiences? 

L: I think that more and more orchestras such as COE and ACO are formed by musicians with strong artistic personalities not only in roles of leaders, but also in the sections. This makes them less distant to the audience and more visible to catch the love and the passion of an audience otherwise typically focused only on the conductor.

M: You’ve achieved so much in your career, yet you’re only in your early ‘30s. What drives you and what is it that you hope to achieve?

L: Doing what I find artistically interesting, committing to it at my best. I don't have the desire to play as much as possible in order to feel I have or I am making a career. I realized I need to do what I am happy to do because this is what gives me the energy to work and study - and consequently makes me happy. I don't think this will ever change. So I don't have a particular goal in mind apart from continuing with what I am doing - studying, deeper and deeper. 

Image: Lorenza leads the ACO ensemble during rehearsals for Beethoven's Favourite at the ACO Studio. 

M: If you could invite three people to dinner, who would they be and why?

L: I would love to have dinner with the three musicians I am yet to meet to form a string quartet. Having a quartet has always been a dream but I never wanted to force it or to go and look for the right people at any cost...but inside I am still waiting for that to happen! I know they exist somewhere! 

M: You lead the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) and the democratic orchestral collective Spira Mirabilis. They seem to be polar opposites in philosophy and execution. How do you approach each, given this perceived difference?

L: Spira Mirabilis is a studying project for professional musicians who want to share knowledge, learn from each other, have rehearsals that require discussions and dialogue. When it is about symphonic repertoire it takes the shape of an orchestra but that is a consequence and not the starting point. The goal is not the concert but the rehearsal process. Concerts are part of it but Spira could also exist without them. 

COE is instead a wonderful chamber orchestra with a big history also in terms of interpretation - thanks to the collaboration with conductors like Abbado and Harnoncourt - that works and rehearses at the highest level to deliver a specific way and style of playing. The approach is completely different, but both realities give me a huge mountain of experience and opportunities to learn and grow. 

Image (from left): Maja Savnik (violin), Ilya Isakovich (violin), Lorenza Borrani (violin), Glenn Christensen (violin), Ike See (violin).

M: What role does ‘community’ play in your creative output and projects?

L: The community aspect is probably what energises me the most! Feeling the commitment, the shared responsibility from many musicians makes the result of our work ten times more satisfying. With good coordination, I believe it is also possible to find coherence and cohesion if ideas coming from different minds. But it is important to have some common starting point regarding taste.

Image: Maxime Bibeau deep in musical thought with the 16th-century Gasparo da Salò double bass, one of the rarest of its kind. 

M: Many of the ACO members play instruments with significant heritage, and you yourself play on a Santo Serafino violin. How important is the instrument in your performance and the creation of the music?

L: I think that having a beautiful instrument is fundamental and the key of our serenity as musicians. This can also be a modern instrument or an unnamed.  The best instrument is the one that has our complete trust or one that we know the best... My Serafin is from 1745. Sometimes the halls in which we play can make a Stradivarius out of a discrete violin. It’s similar to how the light or the air makes the difference for a photographer despite which camera is used.

M: What do you think your Italian heritage and sensibility will bring to this performance?

L: There was a moment when I thought that growing up in Florence had impressed upon me an ideal of aesthetics and beauty that had little to do with most of the music I was studying or performing. I thought my sensitivity was probably different to that of somebody who lived in Bonn, for example. Even more than seeing this difference, I now feel more and more that having grown up in an environment where aesthetics, art, architecture and structure are a constant, built in me a sensitivity which makes me look for them and be moved by them in whatever shape or style they appear... this helps me enormously. 

Image: Lorenza Borrani in rehearsal with the ACO. 

All photographs by Simon Davidson. 



SCHNITTKE Sonata for violin and chamber orchestra
SCHUBERT 5 Minuets and 6 Trios, D.89
BEETHOVEN (arr. strings) String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op.131

Lorenza Borrani Director & Violin