From Lucerne to Miami. Cellist Alexa Ciciretti on her experiences in the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY and the New World Symphony

alexa-circettiWhat did you like most about being part of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY?
One of the most exciting aspects of the Academy was getting to play in an ensemble with young musicians who are just as enthusiastic about new music as I am! It really felt like we were working towards a common goal of sharing our love of the repertoire with the audience. Having the opportunity to work closely with world-renowned conductors and composers made the experience truly unforgettable.

You are a fellow at the New World Symphony. What is the main difference between the two academies concerning repertoires, concerts, musical benefit, conductors, soloists…?
I was surprised at how many similarities there are between the New World Symphony and the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. Both Matthias Pintscher and Susanna Mälkki, who we worked with this summer at the Academy, conducted at New World Symphony in the 2015-2016 season. It was a treat to work with them both twice in one year! Some of the repertoire we played at Lucerne is in New World Symphony’s canon (Berg’s Violin Concerto, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, etc.). New World Symphony also has a series of new music concerts called “Sounds of the Times” where we present music that is LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY’s main focus (Boulez, Babbitt, Saariaho, etc.) However, since New World’s season spans over 8 months out of the year, we also have time to do Baroque music concerts, chamber music concerts, and concerts for kids. We also spend a great deal of time at New World working with professional orchestral musicians preparing excerpts and learning how to take successful auditions.

How was it to come back to Miami Beach after having spent three weeks in Switzerland?
It’s great to be back at New World – we’ve already started playing concerts and finding our “orchestral sound.” Each season is slightly different, since some fellows leave for professional jobs each year. It takes a little while to adjust but we’ve been sounding great. I really miss Switzerland, especially the beautiful weather and scenery. Miami Beach weather is not my favorite!

You are used to play in the New World center, a huge musical laboratory based in Miami Beach where lessons but also concerts take place. What is the atmosphere in the center? Can you compare it to KKL and the Academy Foyer?
I absolutely love the New World Center – it’s a gorgeous building designed by Frank Gehry. The atmosphere is always very exciting there, especially because there are always so many musical events taking place at one time. I especially like practicing at the Center because I always feel inspired working in close proximity to the other fellows. The hall itself is quite intimate (750 seats), but we do have the opportunity to play at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami (2,400 seats) several times a year. I did notice many similarities between the KKL and New World Center. The Academy Foyer caused all of the students to be in close quarters. We got to share meals together between rehearsals, hang out together, and exchange ideas. I learned a lot by talking to the other students! I also really liked the atmosphere at the KKL. Since it is in such a central part of Lucerne and there were so many events going on any given day, it always felt very exciting to be in and around the building. It was inspiring to know that world-class orchestras were rehearsing just one hall over from us, and that people from all over the world wanted to attend the concerts at the Festival.

In a fellowship that lasts up to three years, friendships will be built. What is it like if you are in an academy of only three weeks like here in Lucerne? Are you still in contact with other Alumni from LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY?
I am definitely still in contact with other Alumni from the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY! I came to the Academy knowing many people in the orchestra, but I feel that I formed new friendships as well as solidifying old friendships while I was there. We all spent a lot of time together, so we got to know each other pretty well. I also hope to collaborate musically with the Alumni of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY in the future as well.

Can you imagine to come back to Lucerne next year?
Overall, I had a fantastic experience and I would love to come back to Lucerne next year!

The interview was conducted by Julia Mäder

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