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54th Festival of Nations - Città di Castello
For the 2021 edition 'Tribute to Norway', host nation for the first time at the Umbrian festival
The 2021 edition of the Festival of Nations in Città di Castello pays homage to Norway - the Scandinavian country, with the different facets of its musical culture, will be host for the first time at the tifernate event, which kicks off on August 20 and will end on September 18th.

The program will be composed of 14 concerts integrated by numerous collateral events, which will take place in the various locations of Città di Castello - the Church of San Domenico, Piazza delle Tabacchine, the Illuminati Theater, the Garden of the Municipal Art Gallery - but also in other places. of the Upper Tiber Valley: Sansepolcro, San Giustino with the Bufalini Castle, Montone and Citerna.

To inaugurate the 54th Edition of the Festival of Nations will be the extraordinary talent of Raphael Gualazzi, with a long-awaited concert in the suggestive Piazza delle Tabacchine, the August 20 at 21. The singer-songwriter, composer, musician and producer, protagonist of a digital record success of international caliber, will perform in trio with Gianluca Nanni to the battery e Roberto Bartoli on the double bass.

He will propose a sonic journey between stride piano, jazz, blues and fusion, retracing the most important stages of his career: the concert lineup will range between the most loved pieces of his repertoire and international standard soul songs reinterpreted in a completely original way.

In the same scenic square, the 23 August (9 pm) will perform the Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio with the new production 'Dancefloor', an overwhelming and unmissable show dedicated to dance, rhythm and music that goes beyond genres, styles and nations, to tell the story of this exceptional multi-ethnic ensemble, founded in 2002 by Mario Tronco and now known to all. 'Dancefloor' retraces the stages of the exciting and almost twenty-year journey that started from the Esquilino district, the navel of Rome, to land on stages and theaters all over the world, with a repertoire that starting from traditional music, mixing it and dipping it with rock, pop , reggae and classical, has made you discover genres and sounds mostly unknown to the general public.

The Piazza Vittorio Orchestra is made up of Houcine Ataa (Tunisia) under the entry, Emanuele Bultrini (Italy) to guitars, Giuseppe D'Argenzio (Italy) on tenor and soprano saxophone, Duilio Galioto (Italy) on piano and keyboards, Ernesto Lopez Maturell (Cuba) on drums, Roman Villanueva (Chile) on the trumpet, Carlos Paz Duque (Ecuador) with Andean voice and flutes, Pino Pecorelli (Italy) on electric bass, Raul Shebba (Argentina) to percussion and Ziad Trabelsi (Tunisia) aloud and oud.

Two world premiere special projects will then be staged, commissioned by the Festival:

The August 26 in Sansepolcro, in the Cloister of Santa Chiara, "Norway, spaces of the soul"With texts by Erik Fosnes Hansen, Neil Gaiman, Ludvig Holberg, Henrik Ibsen, with Caterina Casini is Maurizio Repetto reciting voices, music and live electronics by Michele Mandrelli, scenography by Stefano Macaione and movements of the shadows of Gloria Sapio.

The September 1st in the Church of San Domenico in Città di Castello, there will be thehomage to Dante in the 700th anniversary of his death with the performance "And then we went out to see the stars again”, Narrator Ivano Marescotti, and music by Daniele Furlati in absolute first performance performed by'Yellow Sound Ensemble (Claudia Giottoli flute, Michele Bianchini saxophone, Gianni Maestrucci percussion, Giacomo Piermatti contrabass, Simone Nocchi piano).

The Festival of Nations will then have other important guests such as  The Venetian Soloists on stage the 2 September (Church of San Domenico, 9 pm) with a Vivaldi program, supplemented by Tartini and - in honor of the Norway guest of the festival - pieces by Grieg at the opening and closing of the concert;

the September 5th it will be the turn of Giovanni Sollima with his cello, two of his own compositions are scheduled, the Round Concerto and Natural Songbook, music by Bach, Sibelius, Stravinskij, and an original version for solo cello of 'Norwegian wood' by the Beatles.

And of course some of the most interesting Norwegian musicians will take the stage:

The August 28 at the Church of San Domenico in Città di Castello, there will be the opportunity to listen to the violinist and composer Henning Kraggerud - a precious Guarnieri del Gesù will play - in duo with the pianist Håvard Gimse. Kraggerud, one of the most successful Norwegian artists, boasts an international career both as an instrumentalist and as a composer, and is currently artistic director of the Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. It presents a repertoire to be discovered, with a program entirely dedicated to Norwegian authors: alongside the essential Grieg, music by Johan Svendsen, Ole Bull, Johan Halvorsen, and his own composition in the first Italian performance.

In the same fascinating space, the September 3 it will be Karl Seglem, saxophonist and composer of great fame, with an Italian premiere project. In addition to the tenor sax, Seglem will also play the bukkehorn, an ancient Scandinavian instrument made from a goat's horn. To accompany him, Kåre Opheim to percussion e Håkon Høgemo is Sigrid Moldestad with another traditional tool called hardingfele, a particular violin provided with other four or five strings in addition to the four main ones, which play for 'sympathy' creating the typical 'a bordone' style.

Still in the Church of San Domenico, the September 4th - in place of the announced one Vertavo Quartet, forced to cancel the concert for health reasons - the Engegård Quartet, formed by Arvid Engegård is Ragnhild Kyvik Bauge on violins, Juliet Jopling to viola and Clemens Carlsen on the cello. On the program Haydn, Schumann, Johan Svendsen, Sigmund Lillebjerka.

The billboard is completed by Faccini Piano Duo (August 21, Courtyard of the Bufalini Castle in San Giustino, with a program between Russia and France), the concert of finalists of the Alberto Burri Competition (25 August 6 pm, Illuminati Theater in Città di Castello), the Hermes trio (August 27 in Citerna, Church of San Francesco, pieces by Brahms and Beethoven), the Trio Hoffmann (August 29, Montone, Chiesa San Francesco, music by Grieg, Sinding, Beethoven).

Finally, the 54th edition of the Festival delle Nazioni will close the tribute to Raffaello dell 'Ensemble Sensus, originally thought for the 500th anniversary of the disappearance. 'Ut Musica Pictura - Raphael and the music of the Renaissance'will take place on September 18th (9 pm) in the Garden of the Municipal Art Gallery.

All concerts take place at 9 pm except the concert of the finalists of the Burri Competition scheduled at 6 pm.

The exhibition "Infinite delay" of Carlo Rea;

for the complete program of collateral events you see

Other information of interest

Norwegian artists present at the Festival:

Henning Kraggerud, violinist and composer, in duo with the pianist Håvard Gimse (August 28)

Karl Seglem, saxophonist and composer, here also at the traditional bukkehorn, flanked by Håkon Høgemo and Sigrid Moldestad on 8-string violins 'hardingfele' and Kåre Opheim on percussion (3 September)

the Engegård String Quartet (4 September)

The three concerts will be held at the Church of San Domenico at 9 pm.

There is more

The history and cultural project of the Festival of Nations

Cultural soul of the Upper Tiber Valley, the Festival of Nations from the very beginning has assumed a distinctive identity of great breadth in the European panorama. In 54 years of great artistic and cultural experiences, the Festival has given all European nations the opportunity to propose their most significant musical traditions to a wide audience, dedicating their own artistic, cultural and musical project to one of them each year.

Furthermore, the Festival has always contributed with great conviction to the spread of the culture of the 20th century by entrusting contemporary composers, such as Salvatore Sciarrino, with the production of first works, demonstrating that it is possible and fruitful to connect tradition and the most innovative expressions of music.

The international identity of the Festival of Nations has oriented its artistic choices towards the broadest geographical and political-cultural horizons. Just think of guest nations such as Spain, Poland, Israel, which led to the meeting between musical groups and artists of the Jewish and Islamic tradition.

The Festival also had the merit of enhancing and making known the numerous historical and artistic artefacts of the Upper Tiber Valley, contributing to the development of high quality tourism. From Sansepolcro to Anghiari, from Morra to Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, from San Giustino to Umbertide, from Citerna to Montone and Città di Castello, all the museums, churches, theaters of this geographical area have been touched by concerts and shows interpreted by extraordinary guests such as Uto Ughi, Salvatore Accardo, Luciano Pavarotti, Krystian Zimerman, Gidon Kremer, Shlomo Mintz, Krystof Penderecky, Yuri Bashmet, the Amadeus Quartet, Alexander Lonquich and Mstislav Rostropovich who performed one of his last concerts at the Festival. All great artists who have marked the history of the musical culture of Italy and Europe.

The Festival delle Nazioni, since its inception, has been supported by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, by the Province of Perugia, by the Region of Umbria, by the local authorities of the Upper Tiber Valley and Città di Castello which elected it as main event through which to promote its civil identity in Umbria, Italy and Europe.

(from the official website of the Festival)


Brief information on the historical places where the concerts take place, from the Illuminati Theater to the Piazza delle Tabacchine:


Information about Città di Castello:


Città di Castello is also the city of Alberto Burri (1915 - 1995) pioneer of Informal art, famous for his Sacchi, his burnt canvases and cretti, among which the immense Cretto di Gibellina stands out.

The Burri Collection is located in Palazzo Albizzini, where the Burri Foundation is also located, and includes 130 works by the artist dated from 1948 to 1989, arranged chronologically by himself in twenty rooms. The works on display are Catrami, Muffe, Gobbi, Sacchi, Legni, Ferri, Combustioni, Cretti and Cellotex, as well as sketches for sets and some examples of graphic production.

The Ex Seccatoi del Tabacco complex, inaugurated in 1990, completes the Collection of Palazzo Albizzini with the cycles created by Alberto Burri between 1974 and 1993. There are 128 works on display, primarily cellotex, placed for Cicli in separate hangars.

Information on Alberto Burri and the Foundation:

54th Festival of Nations - Città di Castello

Author: Sabine Frantellizzi

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