lunedì 8 ottobre 2007

Interview to Bruno Italiano

Bruno Italiano is the author and promoter of Gremus. He’s also a writer, en educator and a musician. He’s interested in education with particular attention to the aspects concerning arts, communication, social relations, and to the management and marketing techniques concerning the artistic and show training. He’s also an orchestra conductor and music divulger. He’s the director of the artistic training and production centre “Musica in Lemine”.

Hi Bruno. First of all thank you for having allowed me a little time for this interview. I have known you for some times visiting your blog. I’ve soon understood that “Gremus” is an high-quality blog, one of the most interesting and useful Italian musical blogs on Internet. Why did you create it? What are the aims?

First of all thank you for your gratifying compliments. The ambitious plan of Gremus is to make music and musical culture as a common good, receiving the spirit of human knowledge that moves the Web 2.0. Almost by chance, near music I’ve added social and cultural themes that have allowed people to understand an important phenomenon. It’s necessary to be broad-minded to meet other audience, to divulge and let be known our art and thought. The human knowledge cannot be divided in sections or in a book of one subject. Moreover, music has never been an exclusive expression. It has always flourished even in the religious, political, social and historical contaminations.

You found the web power as I did. Today should a musician visit internet towards a blog (as a vivid and elastic site) or a classic and “static” web site? How much do the musicians believe on Internet opportunities?

It depends on what you expect to obtain by the web. A popular musician can choose to create a static site adding winning drawings, e –commerce and forum systems in contact with his public. For a novice the aim should be to climb rapidly the “rank” of search engines and the best way to do that is to create a dynamic site, the blog. Obviously the musicians must feed their blogs every day and update them with new contents, ideas or comments. Internet doesn’t offer concrete and predictable possibilities but it allows every musicians to sound out and test a new level of communication. In this period the communication is essential for those who want to take part in the social life, so Internet must extend the field of communication making it global and across the cultures. Internet is a powerful media for the distribution of music and its universal importance. I think that musicians will not have any chance. Internet will take great part of their life.

You talked about expert musicians who probably want to create a static web-site and musicians in search of success who should create a more dynamic one. I think that this division is economically correct, but I’m quite worried about it. Is this the way of an expert musician “to rest on his laurels”? If the musician reaches a good result with a dynamic site in which he presents music, thoughts etc… why should he give up that way? Probably because he wants to capitalize what he has done and work less! How should people who has followed him till that moment take it? Should this, beyond the real changes of opinion, be a betrayal? Let me explain in a better way… how much pleasant should be if we find a musical blog about expert musicians like Guccini or Dalla, that exploit in a detailed way the power of Internet?

A dynamic site is useful both for the amateur and the expert musician mainly because it creates a direct contact with the public. The popular artist ignores such an experience because through his popularity he can sell his experience, his “know how”, his stories and his advice. He can do that by writing books, making interviews or TV programmes etc. I’m going to say something provocative. Web 2.0, the sharable knowledge is an extraordinary way of communication but only for those people who cannot access to a more popular and direct media levels. Who can access at those levels, hardly renounces. The power of those levels that distribute direct income to whom sell his art or his knowledge is decreasing more and more. So it will happen that also the stars should take part of the shared web.

So… at the end we always think of nothing but making money, do we? What do you really think humanly speaking? Let’s think only about music. What are the artists driving at? Why should an artist break off his relations with fans under less direct ways of communication and on behalf of making even more money?

The history of art and the mankind can answer this question. If Bach, Mozart, Verdi or Pavarotti made music without thinking of having money, should they offer to mankind the same music as they did? All these musicians made art for living. Let’s not demonize the art-money combination. The artists were driven very often by necessity to overdo themselves.

I beg your pardon. I think I put it very badly. I agree that money is very important. When I talk about “making money” I mean pursuing it at all costs. I mean that particular moment in which the artist forgets why he does something only thinking at making money. Art becomes a way not the end of making money.

We must analyze the situation from an ethic view. This means that an artist is considered first of all a man with its values. I don’t like very much the ethical generalizations because I think that the most strenuous moralists are often the most intolerant. Even Mozart used to seek rich customers and was subject to their wishes. All the musicians used to move in aristocratic salons instead of taverns. Even Beethoven preached freedom but lived on private income and donations given by the aristocratic fled the revolutionary Paris. Verdi created “The Lombards on the first Crusade” with a sense of the Risorgimento and he dedicated the score to Maria Luigia, the Duchess of Parma, ex-wife of Napoleon. Verdi was to describe that period of operas and dedications as his “galley years”. History is full of that curiosity. I have chosen to be a musician and a writer for a living. I based my choice on values far from the pursuit of money. But if one day someone comes and tells me that he would buy Gremus for a pretty penny, well… I will probably stop and think about it.

Mmmm… I can’t imagine you without your site. By the way… let’s talk about the author’s rights. One time they didn’t exist but there were musicians like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Depussy, Vivaldi, Scarlatti and many others. When the author’s rights were born, there were Lucio Battisti, the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, drug, sex and rock’ n roll. What kind of legislation should be for the future?

The first musician who was recognized as an artist was Giuseppe Verdi. Before him the musician used to sell his score to a private customer or an editor without enjoying the author’s rights. Verdi, as an expert financier as he was, realized that he could earn more not on the sell of the scores but on their use. Then came the age of disks, and the musicians earned more on the sold copies and radio passages. The system was perfect but the problem was that the disks cost too much to the final customer. The coming of Internet has broken off the system based on the copies’ rights. The work of the author was little by little depreciated not only as regards music but also literature, screenplay, photography and video. The good artist should live with nothing. I dare say that the system of author’s rights should be adapted to this new background to function again. This is impossible, I think! The author’s rights are practically dead. There is nobody who protect it with incisiveness. What should be done? I think that the author must return to produce to order, inventing additional services like production or professional advice and creating their own networks to contact directly the public and acting without intermediaries or brokers. The author must seek its public by his own, and he must be paid by them. Internet will soon become the heart of the “peer to peer” value. Internet has broken the author’s rights but it has given an alternative. It will not be easy, but for now I can’t see better ways.

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