It may just be the prettiest little town of Sicily: Ragusa Ibla in the south part of the island. Or at least, to us it was the prettiest town: all warmth, all beautiful buildings, all music. Music everywhere! We went to Ragusa Ibla in July, when the international music competition IBLA Grand Prize took place. About 100 musicians from all over the world assembled in the ancient city, and from then on the town filled with music. In churches, courtyards and in the theatre there were piano’s and grand piano’s, there were string players and singers rehearsing, composers were playing, and there were concerts every night. And there were we! A programme of Dvořák, Poulenc, Naeff, Rosenblatt and Shostakovich, and our own appointed church (with two grand piano’s!) to rehearse in every day: what a unique experience! Like all other contestants, we were allowed to perform every night, in different venues. Concerts easily lasted until after midnight; curious tourists, music loving Ibla inhabitants and of course jury members of the competition being the audience! We will never forget walking back ‘home’ in the nightly Italian warmth after having played our programme, and on each corner of the street hearing music still: competition concerts that took place inside were broadcasted live outside on the streets and squares. And no matter how late at night it was, children were dancing to the music while eating ice cream, parents chatting and drinking their limoncello. And the music – Bach, Brahms, Ligeti – just was there, all around, as a matter of fact, a natural part of life. <3
As if this entire experience was not wonderful enough; back home we received the results of the competition. We are unbelievingly happy to announce that we have been awarded as ‘Most Distinguished Musicians’ with a jury mark of an 8.7! And on top of that, we received a special mention for our performance of our favourite piece ‘The Aftermath’ by Dutch composer Ruben Naeff!
We are molto allegro e felice! :)