Women Orchestra makes Sicily great. Alessandra Pipitone and her girls on the notes of Ennio Morricone
What’s special about this story is a bit of everything, starting with the ingredients. The most beautiful island in the world; a visionary leader from Marsala who, on the day against gender violence (2017), transforms her idea into matter; a group of 28 beautiful women, artists (the youngest 18, the oldest 43) and the touching melodies of Oscar winner Ennio Morricone. The fusion of such great magnificence gives birth to La “Women Orchestra” by Alessandra Pipitone (Graduated in Musicology and lecturer at the Liceo Coreutico di Palermo), a top-level reality in the national music scene, conceived, conceived and developed in the Sicilian capital. And it is precisely from Palermo that this all-female “creature” takes its first steps up to tread the scenes of the main theaters in Italy and Europe, also winning a collaboration with the great Sting! Brass instruments, winds and strings (violins in primis) mix in a refined embrace, earning a place next to the major orchestras of the Peninsula. Last September, the performance of the “Women” at the well-known transmission was famous “You’re worth it”, broadcast in prime time on Canale 5. A succession of memorable hits of signed soundtracks Morricone (New cinema paradiso, Mission, Once upon a time in the West, etc. etc.) thrilled and moved the parterre of judges and presenters – Maria De Filippi, Gerry Scotto, Rudy Zerbi, Teo Mammuccari, Sabrina Ferilli and Belen Rodriguez – who, enthusiastic, welcomed the Sicilian girls with a resounding ovation, and the audience in the hall could only reaffirm it with an amazing 99% of the votes! Behind them is the giant picture of the Roman “Maestro-composer” who died on 6 July 2020 at the age of 92.
Ad Alessandra Pipitone, the far-sighted leader, we will now ask (to better understand and deepen) details on the past, present and future of this magnificent “revelation”.
Director of an all-female Palermo orchestra. When and how was the idea born?
The idea was born in November 2017 when a dear friend and colleague invited me to create a group of women to honor the day against gender violence by organizing a solidarity concert. Feeling very close to the female universe, I wanted to believe in this idea and launch myself into this double adventure: the conducting and the project Women Orchestra. Over the years, some have changed city, country, but the group has always managed to move forward by creating a real, cooperative and exciting team.
You were born in Marsala, but the members of your orchestra are all from Palermo. What drives you to choose the Sicilian capital as the site of your project?
Palermo is my adopted land, my cradle, my refuge. I deeply love this city since the days when I, as a little girl, shook dad’s hand and looked at the decorations that were mammoth for me that only Christmas in Palermo could give me. I did my main studies in Trapani but at the first opportunity I ran away in search of “that little bit more” that I had not yet found … and Palermo gave me its unique energy! I graduated in Musicology and then Biennial Chamber Music and as a collaborating Maestro, and I literally managed to “elbow”, knocking on the doors of associations and musical institutions to be able to enter the fervent artistic panorama of this city. And today here I am, teacher of the Liceo Coreutico of Palermo, director of a wonderful orchestra and infinitely grateful to all the Masters I have met in these – now – 12 years of panormita life.
Last year you participated in the “Tu si que vales” program. Would you like to share some anecdotes and share your beautiful experience with us?
The thing that most of all surprised me, in addition to finding a stage ready for 10 minutes – where dozens of technicians worked – was to find in my hands a draft of my own (a reference sketch) of the orchestral stations, masterfully designed by a former stage builder from Sanremo. Everything was perfect and every technician knew exactly what we needed. Not to mention the widespread organization of each exhibition and the work team associated with each artist. Professionals with a capital “P”.
Among your artistic inspirations, a link with the Italian pride Ennio Morricone stands out. What aspects of his music have influenced you the most?
Morricone is undeniably one of the Italian masters who knew more than anyone to write music that knows how to touch the strings of the soul. His music is now silk, now feeling, now full of fury and it is certainly the most loved by the public because with its simplicity it is able to tell the stories of all of us. Inside his scores there is heart and soul, before he notes, and perhaps that is why his music is so performed, listened to, preferred by millions of people. And who better than us women can express the strong sensitivity contained within his masterpieces? Our bond with his music is very strong and for this reason we decided to plan an entire concert dedicated to the Maestro but of which we could only propose a part last December during a Christmas recital. We look forward to next season to present the complete event to the public.
What message do you want to address to the artistic world (and beyond)?
That of never giving up, putting all the strength and determination that our dreams ask us to use. The difficulties of this moment are a parenthesis, painful and tiring. But we must continue to fight for ourselves and for our society; whoever fights, you know, can lose, but whoever does not fight has already lost at the start. Everything that has been taken from us will come back, and it will be more beautiful than before. As the great Rita Levi Montalcini says: Do not fear difficult moments, the best comes from there!
Being an all-women orchestra in the days of Covid-19. Would you like to share some thoughts?
I would simply say that “being an orchestra” in this period of pandemic has damaged all formations and all artists in the world, in an era in which being an artist is not even recognized as a “serious” profession. The various closures have considerably penalized the “Art” sector in all its forms and forced several colleagues to “change clothes” and reinvent themselves professions and life. My thoughts went to all of them.
To change things, a political change is needed before a change of conscience. Until theaters and artists are recognized as necessary to the life of the country, precisely because they testify to our history and our culture, in the world making art will always be considered a series “B” activity. For the rest, I consider mine Women Orchestra was lucky, because even under the pandemic period she managed to organize trips and play for events and concerts, albeit in streaming.
Among your collaborations which are you most connected to?
Certainly the latest experiences have been the most intense and engaging. I mean “You’re worth it,” Channel 5, and the guest, to “Eu.Web.Awards” at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa last December, together with Sting (remotely), for the awarding of the best websites of the year. However, I will not be able to forget the very first concert of 2017 at the Lena Theater in Cammarata, a neophyte of conducting and at the same time grateful for the trust of these wonderful women who have entrusted themselves to me.
Projects for the future?
On May 21, 2021 we will be guests of“Io Talent Europe” in Daugavpils in Latvia for a European tour that includes 16 stages in which various talents from all over the world will perform. Furthermore, on September 30th we will be guests of a second stage of the “Eu Web Awards” at the Ancient Theater of Taormina and on this other occasion there will be artists of international fame. We can not wait!!
Info and Contacts
Siciliarte Opera Management – Nuccio Anselmo