Francesca Dego is considered to be one of the best Italian violinists of her generation. Later this year she makes her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing the Mendelssohn and Bruch Violin Concertos at The Baths Hall Scunthorpe on Wednesday 22nd, The Hawth Crawley on Thursday 23rd, Northampton Royal & Derngate on Sunday 26th November. We found out more about the young soloist and how she found herself in the spotlight...
What are you looking forward to most about your debut performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?
I used to live in London while studying at the Royal College of Music and I remember often attending inspiring RPO concerts at Cadogan Hall and Royal Albert Hall. The idea I’ll soon be on stage with them is a dream come true. I will be playing the Bruch and Mendelssohn concertos and after so many years on stage with these incredible works I feel confident and even more eager to learn from every orchestra and conductor I work with.
What is so special about the Bruch and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos and why do you think they are so popular?
They are both perfect works, in form and ideas. The richness of melodic and passionate moments is in perfect balance with fireworks and bubbling virtuosity. In both concertos the movements seem to flow into one another with a perfect sense of timing and there is not one moment you would spare, every note is perfect where it is. It is such a joy to play these works, every time there is something new and fresh to discover and it’s really difficult to leave the concert hall without a smile, audience and musicians alike.
Do you have a defining moment in your musical career?
Paganini has been my companion and lucky composer. My career really took off in Italy when in 2008 I became the first female prizewinner at the Paganini Competition since 1961. I then went on to being signed by Deutsche Grammophon and releasing Paganini’s 24 caprices as my debut CD in 2012 so I would say that was also a real turning point.
What is the best thing about being a soloist?
What I love about music is that it connects all sorts of people. Meeting and playing for different audiences is very enriching and the energy one gets on stage changes at every concert and helps shape the performance! Ending up in unexpected places and learning firsthand about cultural habits and local traditions is thrilling. Lack of time and energy can be frustrating because I don’t get to explore as much as I’d like to.
What do you listen to in your spare time?
I’m married to a conductor so I get to see lots of extra concerts and especially opera performances which I love and don't involve me in any professional way, making it carefree and just plain fun. I am fascinated by how complex theatre is and how when the magical mechanism starts to work every little piece of the puzzle fits perfectly. I’ve always felt inspired by singing so listening to opera is wonderful and gives me all sorts of great phrasing and pacing tips. I also love to go to musicals and know all the words to Evita, Oklahoma, West Side Story and Chicago.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
My advice to all young musicians would probably be similar to what my mother used to tell me: if you love it and it’s what you want to do, never give up and remember that the only person in control of what progress you make is you.
Here's a sneak preview of what audiences can expect, with a stunning performance from Francesca of Bach's Chaconne: