Last time he was in the capital, Cesare Picco was a back-up musician. Now he returns to Abu Dhabi as a solo headliner for a free performance.
The Italian pianist has fond memories of supporting the Iraqi oud virtuoso Nasser Shamma at last year’s Abu Dhabi Festival.
“This is the miracle of music, to share on stage different cultures, having the same goal and to find a new language,” he says. “I’m happy to return to Abu Dhabi for my first solo performance.”
Titled Piano Calling – and co-organised by the Embassy of Italy in the UAE – Picco describes next Monday’s show at the auditorium in Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi as an introduction to his acclaimed 25-year career. “I play all around the world and I can feel the power of this instrument: its sound reaches the audience of every country,” he said. “The most important thing I would like the audience to know is the role of improvisation. I always improvise on my music, and in every performance I create new music in real time. This is my great challenge.”
Picco’s improvisational technique makes him part of a growing legion of current composers receiving acclaim for their progressive vision instead of faithfully performing old classics.
He explains even the maestros of old had modern ideas.
“Mozart was a contemporary artist at his time,” he said. “He wrote in his letters: ‘Give me the best piano in Europe and for the audience people who can’t feel music like me and I will lose any pleasure of playing’.”
• Cesare Picco plays a free concert at 8pm on Monday at the Auditorium in Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Reem Island