Giuseppe Devastato is a pianist and composer recognized by international critics as one of the most exciting pianists of his generation.
Born in Naples, Ital, Devastato has worked in the most important theaters in Europe America and Asia, such as the Manoel Theatre (Malta), Sala Villanueva (Mexico), León Auditorium (Spain), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), the Ravello Festival (Italy), the Carnegie Hall of New York (USA), Ateneum (Bucharest), the Auditorium of the University of Kiev (Ukraine), the Auditorium Tarnow and Krakow (Poland), Wuxi Gran Theater (China), Grand Concert Hall of Tokyo.
Devastato was kind to respond to Global Music Awards' request for an interview:
You clearly inspire deep emotion in those who listen to your music during your live performances. What is the magic of those moments for you as a musician?
It's difficult to explain, because in these magical moments we establish a contact with a deep, mystical energy which takes us in a different dimension. Sometimes, speaking of my own experience, it seems to me that I can almost touch the soul of the composer, capture his emotions, and I try to transmit all that to the audience.
If the conductor is the Prime Minister of an orchestra, what is the pianist?
Personally I think that there are not first or second ministers in music. I strongly believe we are simple servants of the music. I consider myself a missionary of this big art named music. It's correct to say that the conductor and the soloist, in my case the pianist, have a delicate character, to dialogue each other and with the orchestra to reach a complete vision of the composition.
If you were given the position of artistic director of a concert hall, what would be on your program for this season?
I would program a lot of unknown music, since the past centuries until contemporary music, giving priority to young musicians, selecting them by a meritocracy criteria. I would program also a lot of lecture-concerts to involve as many young people as possible. I come from Naples, a city that for three centuries has been the European Capital of music and many other arts, painting, sculpture, etc. In Naples we have a huge musical patrimony: I mean the manuscripts of the great Neapolitan Masters catalogued in the library of the Conservatory San Pietro a Majella. I would like young people all over the world to know that patrimony; in part I tried to do it with my album The Neapolitan Masters which won in 2014 the Silver Medal at Global Music Awards. In this album I presented an historical excursus since 700 to 900, passing from Scarlatti, Pergolesi, Martucci, Thalberg to my composition Notturno La gondola.
What is your perspective about the classical music scene at present? Is there a demographic crisis in attracting younger audiences? What might be done to bring new vitality to classical music?
From my view point I think it would be useful to make programs more involving, general rehearsals open and free and give a friendly image to classical music. There are still many people thinking of classical music as something for just a few individuals, an elite; we should change the approach and simply explain how to get it, taking into it more and more people of every age. The crisis has been felt, as in any other field, but some countries, more than others, decided to invest in culture even more, and the idea was winning. In my humble opinion nowadays the artist should be closer to the people, distance creates barriers. I try to be myself even during a concert, staying close to the audience, dressing easy and introducing every piece with some historical knowledge and nice anecdote.
You have many credits as a classical composer. What may surprise readers is that you also have composed sound tracks for movies, ballets and electronic music. Talk about your non-classical compositions.
I live with music, and I am curious about every music. Since I was a child, to sustain my studies I did pop arrangements, jingles for advertising, and then I had the occasion to compose for the cinema. It's so fascinating and exciting: you feel a complete freedom, the possibility to compose almost without rules. I recorded for productions like Warner Chappel Music and CAM, the two biggest majorities for film music in Italy; I am working now on a documentary which will be presented this year at Venice Film Festival. I find amusing writing all with paper and pen, and then digitalize it with software like Sibelius and Logic. I care for all phases of the pre-production, production and postproduction.
If you hadn’t chosen music as a career, what do you think you would do right now?
Chef, for sure! I am quite good at cooking, I like it very much, it makes me relaxed, and after all I think a good musician must be good at cooking.
If your music is a gift to your fans, what do you want them to say about that gift?
That it keeps giving them emotional.
What were the most important moments in your career and what are your future plans?
The highlights of my career have been sure the Cartagine Prize in 2011 and my debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014, presenting my composition Sembazuru Fantasy, dedicated to the tsunami victims of Japan. I also enjoyed two China tours in 2013 and 2014; they welcomed me as a Hollywood star, and finally the Gold Medal at Global Music Award in 2015, which I never imagined to win. In my next future plans, the presentation of my last CD, also a winner at GMA). The Pianist Composer, many concerts in Europe (Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Germany and France), China (a tour of eight concerts and masterclass all over the Country), and sure I'll come back to US, in New York and some other cities to define. I will continue my collaboration with the Music Department of University Alfonso X El Sabio in Madrid as a Piano and Chamber Music Professor; sharing music with my students. I feel it a privilege to be part of this big musical family: it's the best music Institution in Spain, where talent and human skills are always in foreground. I believe it is the future of the music education in Spain, and very soon in Europe.
Devastato was awarded the position of Artistic Advisor of the Neapolitan Music Society of New York in the presence of the governor of New York, Mario Cuomo and Mrs. Matilda Cuomo, for his artistic merits in the revaluation of the Neapolitan repertoire of the XVIII century.
He received the Verzari Giovani Prize prize for the best young active producer and composer, awarded by the renowned soprano Mariella Devia and pianist Bruno Canino.
Has been invited to represent Italy abroad giving concerts for Embassies and Cultural Institutes in Romania, Bosnia, Poland, New York, Tokyo and Austrian Embassy in Rome.
Devastato was selected by the Italian Ministry of Culture to represent Italy and invited by the Italian Cultural Institute of Kracow to play a concert organized by the Institute of Italian Culture for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy in the Polish Olkutz Auditorium, newly opened on the occasion.
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