February 1, 2012

Quartiere Forcellini - June 27, 2011

"Quartiere Forcellini!" was the cry made by about five Italians that were kind enough to show me the direction in which I needed to go on this Monday morning....yes, I got lost.

My getting lost should come as no surprise to you, as I was in a new country and at the time - very early morning (5:30am) - I was still in the place of processing the fact that I had flown across the ocean while simultaneously focused on the tasks both at hand and before me. Then again, the absentminded violinist should always remember to check his directions!

Padova (Padua), Italy is a fantastic and beautiful town, located in the Venetian region of Italy. It was truly amazing upon arriving to see just how well-connected the city is via public transportation: in addition to trains and buses to Venice Marco Polo Airport, the city is crossed daily by a working bus system AND a light rail system that takes people throughout the city center.

On this morning, after breakfast and many little cappuccinos (thanks to the machine), I was focused on the task at hand: practicing. The Padova Competition, which consists of many divisions, started on June 27 and I was slated to play on June 28 during the preliminary round for the "Soloist with Orchestra" division. Luckily, Casa di Colori (the hostel in which I stayed) sold bus tickets, so I was able to say "due billetti" and immediately get what I needed. The first bus took me to the train station, where everything intersects. Following that journey, I walked across the street to the platform for #6 which, according to the instructions given by the compettion officials, would take me to Teatro Internato Ignoto.

Yes, these machines are everywhere - and the coffee comes with little stirrers?!

As I write this, I find myself laughing - why is it that I, the one who makes sure that everything is purposeful and deliberate, forgot to consult either a map or a person before making the day's journey? Shortly after boarding the bus, I found myself with the feeling that I might be going in the wrong direction while simultaneously enjoying what could only be described as an excursion that lasted until the bus arrived at a shaded square in a residential section of the city.

So, I left the bus - many thanks to the Nigerian man who advised me to go into the small grocery store. Upon entering the grocery store and having the opportunity to speak with someone, I found that very few people spoke English...

"Can you tell me how to get to Teatro Internato Ignoto?"

"Quartiere Forcellini!" The next finve minutes consisted of all of the customers communicating in Italian, finding pen and paper, and writing these instructions down for me.

Again my thanks to the bus driver - as I boarded the bus, the bus driver said "The last stop on this route is Quartiere Forcellini." Perhaps I had the desire to see the city in its entirety and live the saying that the best way to see a city is to get lost?

Approximately two hours later, we arrived in Quartiere Forcellini - the bus stop was literally right in front of the competition site...

Teatro Internato Ignoto, Padova, italy

After arriving - a bit of a search for practice rooms and one of the most productive practice sessions ever experienced. Somehow, despite having been lost and being in both a new nation and city, I found it within myself to practice for five hours.

Meanwhile, there WAS a competition round going on - and it was truly interesting to experience all of the emotional energy of the contestants. At one point, a very nice and harried young man from Paris asked to share my practice room (the only room I found was a large classroom in the basement), and I said yes....after all, we're all experiencing the same feelings, right? There was also a VERY nice young American saxophonist who, upon flying in THAT day, needed to find a space to review a Piazzolla work....

...so I practiced, and then went back to Casa di Colori...

Stay tuned,


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