Initial feedback from the 39th International Willems® Congress

First echoes of the 39th International Willems® Congress

After the first two days, which were affected by the heatwave that hit Europe in mid-July, we can say that the heat has changed its nature, as it came from the growing interest of the 100 or so delegates present each day for the plenary sessions, workshops and concerts.

The ‘Jacopo Tomadini’ Conservatorio Superiore di Musica in Udine opened its doors to us, and the friendliness of the staff who welcomed us made up for the ambient temperature!
Located in the buildings of Udine’s former court, the Conservatory’s spacious rooms boast an impressive number of grand pianos. The former “courtroom” was perfectly suited to the presentations of the Willems® pedagogical progression, which allowed us to see a lesson every day.

Willems® music education lessons

  • 1st level presented by Mateja Tomac Calligaris with 4 year olds from Ljubljana.
  • 2nd level presented by Franca Bertoli-Cividino with 5-year-olds from Willems schools around Udine.
  • 3rd level presented in two stages with children aged 7 to 8 also from the surrounding area and taking part in WIC 2. The ‘pre-solflegic’ part was presented by Franca Bertoli-Cividino, and the following day, the ‘pre-instrumental’ part was presented by Mateja Tomac-Calligaris.
  • 4th degree presented by Una Košir with young Slovenians aged 13 and 14 taking part in WIC 1.

Musical listening

Béatrice Chapuis-Westphal had offered to lead a musical listening session to open the day. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend the Congress.
In order to maintain the idea of starting with music, Christophe Lazerges proposed listening to a work or excerpt each morning to discover or rediscover works from the 2nd half of the 20th century. See the programme in the corresponding article.

The workshops

The planned themes were implemented, with two exceptions: Thibaut Louppe’s organ masterclass did not take place, due to a lack of sufficient trainees, and Béatrice Chapuis-Westphal was replaced by Eulàlia Casso i Samsó, from Barcelona, for Movement, and Ivana Dizdarevic, from Ljubljana, for Solfeggio. Thibaut replaced his Masterclass with an additional keyboard harmony workshop.

Most of the participants attended the same workshop on 5 consecutive days, which enabled the teachers to progress their work over the 5 days.

The Concerts

  • Monday: Opening concert by Conservatoire teachers and students. Held in the open air on the Conservatoire grounds, it featured a brass quartet and an ensemble of 19 saxophonists led by Fabrizio Paoletti in a varied and colourful repertoire!
    See the programme here.
  • Tuesday: “Annelies” concert in the chamber version, with the “Accademia del Coro del Friuli Venezia-Giulia” choir and an instrumental ensemble, conducted by Anna Molaro.
    Composed in 2004 by James Whitbourn from the Diary of Anne Franck, this poignant and original work, accompanied by a slide show, moved the audience at the Chiesa di San Pietro Martire in Udine.
    See the programme here.
  • Wednesday: Organ recital at Udine Cathedral by Thibaut Louppe.
    A fine programme featuring composers from the delegates’ countries of origin:
    – G. Frescobaldi and D. Zipoli, for Italy
    – F. Corréa de Araujo, for Spain
    – F. Couperin and O. Messiaen, for France
    – J. Trošt, for Slovenia
    – J.-S. Bach, for Germany
    See the programme here.
  • Thursday: a family duet featuring Franca Bertoli-Cividino, piano, and her daughter Laura Cividino, violin, who came all the way from Houston (USA) for the Congress and this concert at the Chiesa di San Pietro Martire in Udine!
    A magnificent programme focusing on Romanticism, with 3 great sonatas:
    – L. v. Beethoven: Sonata Op. 30 No. 2 in C minor
    – J. Brahms: Sonata Op. 100 in A Major
    – C. Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major
    See the programme here.
  • Saturday: WIC concert, again at the Chiesa di San Pietro Martire in Udine.
    A programme combining intimate works and great choirs from the opera repertoire, all in 7 languages! Enough to delight listeners, and to feed the sensibilities of these young people in a wide range of stylistic directions.
    See the programme here.
“Habanera” extrait de Carmen de G. Bizet – Benjamin Lunetta, Direction – Ferdinando Mussutto, piano

The IWF Ordinary General Meeting

It was held on Friday 21 July on the premises of the UCCELLIS head office, where the oral examination for the Willems® Pedagogical Diploma, preceded by a preparatory course, had been held. These premises welcomed students and congress participants as well as the young people of WIC throughout this period for all meals.

Chaired by Nicole Corti and accompanied by 7 members of the Board of Directors, this AGM succeeded in presenting the activities of the last two years in record time, thanks to simultaneous translations of the various reports projected in 3 languages on a large screen.

A particularly large audience was also able to applaud the 20 new Graduates and the candidates who passed the written and oral musicality tests.

Nicole Corti paid tribute to Christophe Lazerges, who resigned from the Board after thirty years of intense service to the FIW.

And 3 new members were elected to join the Board: Thibaut Louppe, Philippe Fournier and Carme Mampel.

A detailed report will be sent to FIW members.