Gracie, Pope Benedict XVI. Premiered 2011 in Italy.
GIORNO ITALIA: "AVE MARIA CONCERT FESTIVAL - UN SUCCESSO DI ARTISTI E DI PUBBLICO NELLE SUGGESTIVA CHIESA MATRICE"
AVE MARIA CONCERT FESTIVALS PREMIERED IN 2011 WHILE BENEDICTUS WAS THE POPE.
The following interview present the composer, the ideas behind the project, and how RAI TV witnesses the World Premiere of the project, which brings life to forgotten and ancient music in an atmosphere of modern Internet technology, while also presenting modern and contemporary music composers.
Every year at December 23rd everyone in the World should lift your iPhone and Smartphone and sing one verse of your favourite Ave Maria and record/transmit your talent to friends, family, and your mother, as a gesture and greeting to "motherhood".
We call 23rd of December "THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY" - in other Words, the day before a child is born.
The introduction of Ave Maria Concert Festivals. Background story. Year 2011. The career. The story with Oscar and The Vatican. The visions. The Ave Maria Concert Festival system. Pope Benedict XVI. Franciscus I. Opus Dei. Secret societies. Importance of Icons. The Internet. Youtube. Twitter. MicroSoft. Miracles. Precognition. War & Peace. Cardinals. Italy. Argentina. Germany. 4000 songs.
S: Ave Maria caught me at a young age. I was just six years old when entering the music business professionally, and quickly earned money, very quickly, due to a criminal police officer named Abrahamsen. He made talent shows for kids, sort of "nuove talenti". Within a few months I got parts at theater plays, television, and so on, and performed with major stars of the country. After some succesful years entertaining in my spare time from school, I joined a boys choir, and got the part performing the lead on Mendelssohns "Hear My Prayer".
Q: What lead to the composition of yours, Ave Maria?
S: Oh, may things. First of all I felt it deep in my heart. But the Ave Maria now recorded with Italian lyrics, derives precisely from the date of 25th November 1998, where I sat down and wrote line by line. First the music score. Then the lyrics in German language.
Q; Did you have the idea of creating a festival at that particular point?
S: Yes, indeed. I had for many years been a member of the FIDOF, which is an international music organation, an umbrella organisation supporting over 300 festivals globally. So I had the idea, but was not quite prepared, as I visited The Vatikan on my 3 months vacation in 2011. I presented briefly my idea, and someone from above (ed: Heaven/God) must have liked it, because a few weeks later I was given Cathedral San Cataldo to stage the first performance in the series.
Q: How did it go?
S: Excellent, particulary when you consider we had 14 days to pull international artists together to the event during a month where everyone was busy and booked years and months in advance. We had two television stations reporting and registering. RAI was represented. The repertoire was the famous Schubert and Gounod, and was added such rare composers as Faure, Moe, Liszt, and more. Indeed a fine start of the concept. The Schubert version of Ave Maria was even performed in German language, in other words, the "almost" original language.
After the concert we were asked to perform again several times in other cathedral and cities, and thereby we covered a much larger scale of Ave Maria compositions already in the First Edition.
Skipper. Cathedral San Cataldo.
Q: What happens at the Second Edition?
S: Well, I happen to meet Mr. Punzi and Mr. Triola (ed: La Scala, Milan opera), and it turns out we have the common base of knowing Mr. Amando Moreno of FIDOF.
Within a short time I find one of the worlds finest choirs, "the Piancenza choir", and we make the agreement, that they, the choir, will join the Ave Maria Concert Festival program, which means, that if professional bookers and promoters get requests of certain Ave Maria compositions for certain concerts, the choir will learn the songs and travel to any location on the globe and perform.
Q: ... and there are 3000 compositions?!
S: Yes. Even more.
Q: How is it possible to stage and finance such a vast project? You've said, that all countries and all churches and promoters should get involved?
S: The Ave Maria Concert Festival is indeed ment for the whole world. Although the Italiens were the first to grap the importance of the project, I still think that each and every country and church should get involved. It is important for the project and the idea, that people in poor countries, who cannot affort travelling to Italy, will do a concert in their own area. We speak of a project, which has a value of billion and billion and billion of dollars, euros, yens. So, every region of the world should benefit from this, and stage a local Ave Maria Concert Festival. And use the money to develop artists and life in their own region. There is no need for me to "grap" the money issueing tight copyrights, which I then later should donate or give away again. Let the local societies keep the money and use the money to develop their artists and talents. However, still, if they wish to make a concert where I or we should participate, then the situation gets a bit different because of expenses. But I basicly think that each and every church should join into the concept and learn to perform some of the rara old tunes and add them to the more modern tunes like Schubert, Ilia of Georgia, and so on.
Q: And the idea is being picked up around the globe?
S: Oh, yes. More and more hidden and forgotten Ave Maria compositions see the day of light. Churches are picking up the idea, and I am presently working on doing a festival concept for cities and television.
If any film crews or TV producers read this interview please contact. I'll be delighted to assist with the distribution of the concept and idea.
Q: And you do not have the greed for money?!
S: Oh, no. My life has been interesting with many powerful and influential people around me and supporting me. One of these personalitize once told me about his life, and he said: "Before I made so and so I made x million dollars, and I ate one steak per day. Then I made so and so and I made xxx million dollars and got more work, and I still ate just one steak a day".
Ave Maria. Robertino and N. Skipper's childhood choir.
It is worth thinking that success is not always something you should strive at. Because you can only consume one steak a day, yet you get burdened and stressed with work. (Ed: Smiling) So, why not just burden others with work, as long as you can eat one steak a day.
Q: So - therefore - every church in the world should arrange an Ave Maria concert?!
S: Correct! And we should also stage some concerts, like in Verona, Milan, New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Dresden, Bergen, and so on. Big stages. Small stages. City events. African villages. Moscow. Sydney. And so on and so forth.
Just contact our administration for support.
Q: May artists and choir contact, too?
S: Indeed, yes. We have a special e-mail for artists to contact us, if they wish to join the singing or the international promotion.
As an artist you will get your name within a fine growing network. Choirs should certainly join, and meet with other choirs. All you should learn is seven to fifteen Ave Maria compositions of own choice, and do perhaps an interpretation or sing it as it is, straight from the sheet music.
Q: But you already have a choir!?
S: Yes. But the Piacenza choir is ment for travelling the world. The choir is busy doing opera performances. And the choir is busy and experienced with travelling the world, hotels, stages, rehearsal room, and so on. Also, the choir can work with such brave orchestras as Riccardo Muti, and so on. But the management saw a challenge in also doing a repertoire within the Ave Maria songs, so I am very pleased they accepted to join. Major stages and concert promoters can book them directly or via our management.
The choir present us with some very STRONG voices, which are suitable for stage performances. You see, church choirs often present music with great adjustment to the acustics of churches - and reverberation can be very delicate to handle. A church choirs effect on a stage may not be as successful. So, therefore we have chosen a choir to perform on stages, and who also have the rutines of handling the stress of travelling.
Q: Will it be possible for the choirs to come to Italy and sing?
S: Yes, indeed. Prepare for a singing vacation next summer. If you register your interest now (ed: Free registration), then you may even be contacted for TV performances soon.
Q: We have been asked what political stand-point you have?
Well, the answer is: Probably none!
I have been attached to music ever since my childhood, so, in other words, I have learned that music last much longer than any political party.
The fact that the Ave Maria Concert Festivals system was launched and started under the Pope Benedictus XVI has nothing to do with political stand-points or government rulings of Berlusconi, Fini, Merkel, or any other political figure. It has to do with the fact that someone from above loved the project, and enabled the musical project to be launced.
Yes, I did visit the Vatikan, and, yes, I did meet one of the Vatikans celebrities, and, yes, I did meet a number of celebrities, and, yes, I did present the idea for these various celebrities, and, yes, the first concert based upon the concept did take place some weeks later at a cathedral in Italy. It came much to my surprise, that it all happened so fast.
I was so pleased that the basic concept was loved from the very beginning, and that so many wanted to support the project. We thank thee Lord, We thank thee, as Bach named one of his cantata.
Q: What is in fact your private musical preferences?
S: Oh, believe me, I have many. And ever since Youtube and its concept became famous a few years ago, my musical taste and preferences have expanded drastically. Just imagine, now we can hear thousands of interprestations and renditions of music without being ruined buying expensive CD's.
So, if we stick to the words "We thank thee Lord, We thank thee", I was suddenly presented with the artist Diana Bish national presentation of Johan Sebastian Bach's Sinfonia (Ed: BVW 29) for organ, and was overwheemed by the force that organ and correct microphone placements and mix transmitted the feeling and the nerve lifting the music to new limits.
You know, it it not just and only the music piece, that is important nowadays, it is also the sound engineer. Many people have ignored the fact of the importance of the sound engineer. I recall the music and recording technology in the 1960'ies, and during those days, a perfect song - classical or pop - would never become a success unless you had the right recording with the right recording engineer.
Many hit songs never saw the day of light and the success they deserved, simply because the recording equipment and the engineers were not capable of doing the right turn of the knobs.
Paparazzi photo of Yoko Ono (left) and N. Skipper (right)
Q: Sounds like you have been around in the music business for a long period of time?!
S: Ha! Indeed. Yes. Sometimes I laugh and smile and say, yes, I invented the television.
Q: Oh. When was the television invented?
S: Well, actually I did NOT invent the television. But the television seems to have been invented on the 2nd of November 1936. The technology was held back due to the emarging war. After the war it grew, first with black and white screens in the 1950'ies, then "color" in the 1960'ies in U.S.A., then "colour" in the 1970'ies.
Q: You said, that the launch of Youtube a few years ago had been important to the spread the word of the Ave Maria Concert Festivals. How so?
S: The emerge of the Internet after year 2000 has been a very important tool for people to communicate and gain knowledge globally. Artists, who had difficulty to get signed to a record label, can now promote themselves, and particulary as the internet platforms Youtube, Vimeo, MySpace, etc., gave them and their music a face. Now, everyone can click into any community and expand their minds.
For the Ave Maria Concert Festivals idea and concept this is very important to influence people all over the world to understand that there are over 3000 Ave Maria songs, which all need to be discovered and presented to the public in a concert format. Imagine, over 3000 most wonderful songs. So, without a dictate from priesthoods above, everyone can pick up the concept and sing or play these songs.
Q: Do you know people are accepting the idea?
S: Certainly. First I had to create some sort of awareness to the possibility. Much to my surprise, I discovered, that many, many, people who were actually music lovers and religious, only thought there was one Ave Maria song, perhaps two, or maybe three.
Usually people said - "yes, I have heard THAT song", or, "yes, Schubert, Gounod, Caccini".
So the first phase was to establish one concert and from there on build the awareness to composers, languages, interpretations, renditions, and so on.
From the statistics of the first website created, it is now possible to see how professionals around the world is picking up the idea. Much to my surprise I noticed via the statistics, that people from the Philippines is now gaining a quicker interest into the concert festivals project than the Italians are.
But, of course, statistics and website visits changes again some months later, so more and more Russians and Americans will probably compete indirectly of who can stage the most Ave Maria concerts next Christmas.
Q: So, the project is growing from the bottom and upwards, so to speak?!
Q: It is "the people" moving the project?!
S: Yes. Indeed. And with all of the fuzz, which lately has been published about The Vatikan, it is very good, that the voice of the people speaks in a musical way ... from the bottom and from the hearts of all the people, who can feel God within themselves.
Q: We have received a question here. The Ave Maria Concert Festival system is appealing to all people around the world. How does strict religious catholics take that?
S: Oh, very well. I presented the idea and concept briefly at The Vatikan, because I had already decided to start it, no matter what religious orientation people might have with regards to Budism, Ortodox, Hinduism, Catholisism, Protestants, Christianity, or other religions. There are millions of religions and faithful believers. There are millions of political opinions around the world. Some people are concervative, some are socialists, some are far to the right, some are far to the left. However, music is music.
Music of all kinds bring people together. African rhytms merge with Turkish music and dance. Soon we will experience more Chinese music merging with Western music. We will find Western music merging with Indian music. Korean music merging with Western and Portuguese music.
All tribes have in their hearts a wish for peace and food and life and friendships.
We will soon see all kinds of festivals be staged to favour all kinds of directions. So, Ave Maria Concert Festivals is merely just a concept, where over 3000 Ave Maria songs and compositions are offered to the world for everyone to listen to. It is a possibility and a platform, where artists and audiences can meet all over the world ... even without having to travel. The system is on the Internet, and this was not possible twenty years ago. Twenty years ago is was not possible to create such a forum hailing such beautiful songs, and give access to over seven billion people to listen to such wonderful music.
Q: Music bring people together!?
S: Indeed. Recently the world was in chock, as South Korea released one 3 minutes song. Suddenly, the world saw Korea as much more than a war-nation.
The pop-artist Beyonce Knowles released her own Ave Maria song a few years ago, and this song also brings attention to the fabulous theme, Ave Maria. Her lyrics, which deals with dispair and loneliness, appeal to the youth, and also
Skipper presenting the concept and idea within The Vatikan. Pix coming soon.
a youth, which may never have become interested in Ave Maria. The fact that Beyonce Knowles create attention to the song and the praying and the theme, a whole new generation of youth is gaining attention to Ave Maria. In the music business we call this a "cross-over". We had a similar situation with for instance artist James Last, who used his popularity and income to dare to do recordings with classical music themes. The albums were called "Classic Up To Date", and despite the fact it was pop-cassical were played at discoteques in the midst of Donna Summer, Jackson, Earth-Wind-And-Fire, etc. A whole new non-classical generation of people suddenly accepted the fact, there was something called "classical music". The technique is the same I use while promoting Ave Maria concerts all over the world. The technique is the same while I promote awareness to the project and to the TV-media people. The project came from above, grapped the attention and hearts, and was launched at The Cathedral San Cataldo.
Beyonce's Ave Maria gain more souls, and we hope more and more will love the beautiful music composed by fabulous composers - known or non-known, famous or non-famous - over the past 1.600 years.
Q: You yourself wrote an Ave Maria?!
S: Correct. I am a fanatic fan of Johann Sebastian Bach, who dedicated all his works - sacret or secular, pop or non-pop - to God. In November 1998 I suddenly sat down by the piano, and within a few hours I had composed the melody and basic lyrics in German language for Ave Maria. Like Schubert, you may say. The lyrics were rewritten into Italian by Reitberger, and was recorded in Italy year 2011 by Coppola.
Q: Is it correct, that you had artist Whitney Houston in mind?
S: Indeed. As the song appeal both to classical audiences and church audiences and to pop audiences, it was logically to bring artist Coppola together with artist Houston. A merge between Italy and U.S.A., so to speak. A merge between Black and White, so to speak. A merge between unknown and known, so to speak.
This could have become magic. This could have saved Whitney. Whitney Houston missed her own Ave Maria. Like Beyonce, like Andrea Bocelli, every big artist should have their own Ave Maria. Perhaps with the Ave Maria Concert Festivals, we will see new talent rise.
Q: Can you tell us exactly what happens in The Vatikan at your visit?
..... to be continued.
Journalists and public are invited to send question of interest to be included at his interview page.
Return to this page for interview updates as the project grows. Learn more about miracles, copyrights, chances of jobs and positions within music, and more.