OLIVIA BELLI

INDEPENDENT PIANIST & COMPOSER

ABOUT ME

 

 

I was born in Mantova, an historical city well-known for its outstanding beauty and as the birth place of the poet Virgilio. For me however, it will always be the small garden of daisies near Palazzo Te: the clearest memory I have.

   My father was a manager so we travelled around Italy. I spent my childhood moving from one town to another, living in huge and stately flats: great! But I missed something, despite not knowing what it was.

   When I was about  nine years old we settled in Trieste, an eclectic city squeezed between the sea and the rude landscape of the Carso. I immediately enjoyed the feeling of freedom that those surroundings gave me and I discovered the pleasure of living close to nature.

   In Trieste I began playing the piano. Music had always been part of our family life and after touching the keys I realized I could never stop. I had finally found what I was missing: music and nature.

   I started studying in the Conservatory and followed a traditional academic course. A few years later, due to an accident, I had to stop all my usual activities. That experience made me stronger and when it was over I changed my priorities: I needed to find a real mentor for my life and music studies. I took lessons with wonderful musicians and teachers but I found what I was looking for in a young pianist who lived on a hill in Central Italy.

   I found even more than expected: after a few years he became my husband and now we share an enthusiastic life together.

   Enrico and I have a real passion for contemporary music and all kinds of relationship between different arts. We founded a Festival where we could enjoy many projects: we recorded all the four Makrokosmos by Crumb together with famous masterpieces; we collaborated and invented shows with dancers, actors, photographers, video makers, painters… shows where the piano had the main role. It was our piano-theatre.

   In 2005 I met the composer Fabio Vacchi who had just performed his last Opera Teneke at Teatro alla Scala, and was working on a new soundtrack for Ermanno Olmi. I premiered his Echi d’ombre recorded for the national broadcast too. It was then that I began to take an interest in soundtracks, discovering a world of amazing composers and works.

   Then, after a period working in a powerful music management agency in the too-hectic London, we turned our life around completely: we bought a derelict house in the open countryside of the Marche, a region no less beautiful but less famous than the nearby Tuscany. We restored it, during which time our children, Elena and Alessandro, were born and we have lived there since 2012.

   We spend our time taking care of our land, orchard, olive and vegetables garden; cultivating our passions and hobbies; reading the writings of Rudolf Steiner who inspires the way we educate our homeschool kids. Among our hobbies we love watching movies: both classic and modern, independent or great productions. We have a video-library with  several thousand of selected titles.

   I enjoyed playing the most famous soundtracks for my kids, for our family pleasure and fun; I was conquered by those pieces, so I decided to collect them in an album: the music of my private “dolce vita” (My piano dolce vita- December 2016).

   Some of Ludovico Einaudi’s top songs were used to score movies of great success like Intouchables, This is England, Strange Crime. In 1992 he released his first solo album Stanze for electric harp: it is said that when the BBC Radio 3 broadcasted it the phones of the radio station were buzzing with callers asking for the name of the composer. I’m extremely happy to have had the chance to find the original piano version written by Einaudi himself and to have released the premiere recording of Stanze on the piano (January 2017).

   Always on the look out for great composers I couldn’t forget one of the most brilliant and eclectic artists of our days: the award-winning British composer Max Richter whose works include concert music, film scoring, music for ballet etc. When DG published his album “Three Worlds: Music for the Woolf Works” from the “Woolf Works” of the Royal Opera Ballet, I was immediately conquered by the acclaimed piece “Mrs Dalloway, In the Garden”. So I released my piano cover of it played on a Steinway 1899: a thrilling combination between ancient and contemporary. At the same time I recorded a collection of his piano works using an avant-garde conception instrument thus creating a completely new sound.

 

 

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