The keyboard collection at the Villa Medici Giulini is without doubt one of the finest private keyboard collections in the world, with instruments dating as far back as the 1650’s to the 1880’s and 1890’s. One sees the development of the piano before one’s very eyes and playing music contemporary to a particular instrument, for example, one hears immediately why composers wrote the way they did, and how they were able to exploit that particular instrument they had to the full.
In September 2015 I conducted a week’s Masterclasses with students from the US, Korea, Japan, Italy, New Zealand and Singapore. The Classes were taken on the modern piano, and I wanted to illustrate the way one can apply one’s knowledge of old pianos and Classical keyboard style to the modern piano, with clearer articulation, pedalling and tempi. One of the days was given to a tour of the Collection by the owner Signora Fernanda Giulini and it proved to be a revelation in so many ways for the students. There were even tears when one of the students, on finishing a piece by Mozart which we had been working on, said, “And now I understand what you mean, what the music menas.” It was very touching.
This was the first Masterclass I had done at the Villa Medici Giulini but I am hoping to make this a regular feature in my diary, and to encourage more students and pianists to come and see this wonderful Collection.