Quartetto di Cremona Toured China with Their Famous Old Instruments

Cremona is an old city known as the "cradle of the violin", as it is famous for string instrument making.

Performing at the Mengminwei Concert Hall

Cremona is an old city known as the "cradle of the violin", as it is famous for string instrument making. Not only it is the birthplace of three distinguished luthier families, i.e. Amati, Guarneni and Stradivari, but it also has the fertile ground for talented musicians to thrive, among which is the Quartetto di Cremona, one of the most renowned ensembles worldwide. In the period of December 6th to 17th, they gave four concerts in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. They impressed Chinese audience not only with their repertoire, but also with their string instruments made by famous traditional luthier families.

"The Friends of Stradivari" is a society among those who are owners, users or caretakers of string instruments from the classic Cremonese period, and want to share the commitment of support and develop violin-making side culture. "The Friends of Stradivari" arranged a 1737 Guadagnini violin and a 1640 Madino violin to be taken by Quartetto di Cremona for this China tour. When asked about the reason of using contemporary instruments instead of old instruments for the viola and cello, the viola player Simone Gramaglia said, "The sounds of the viola and cello are lower than the sound of the violin. Considering the balance of our ensemble, I think it’s better to use the contemporary instrument with the matching sound quality."

During this China tour, they performed the Crisantemi by Puccini, Quartet Op. 80 in f minor by Mendelssohn, Langsamer Satz by Webern and String Quartet Op. 59 by Beethoven. Their accuracy in pitch and the tonal quality fit each other very well, especially when using sardine, which is hard to achieve. Quartetto di Cremona not only has the passion for performances, but also has the enthusiasm for music education. Currently, they are professors at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. When referring to the status of classical music and conservatories in Italy, the viola Simone Gramaglia expressed his discontent: "the current situation of music education is going down." He expects more youths who would learn music only for the sake of music itself.

Quartetto di Cremona was founded in 2000. For more than ten years, they have developed close collaboration and a unique interpretation of classical music. They are also full of sense of humor offstage, and willing to share their ideas and stories all the time. This China tour will definitely comprise an important part of their experience. Besides being immersed in the Chinese culture and food, the hospitality of local people also made this journey a very pleasant one. Wherever they go, they found people of openness, generosity and warm hospitality. The musicians all agreed that the warm-hearted Chinese people are the best cultural ambassadors of this country.