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Igor Polesitsky, violin
Comprised of four principal players of a leading Italian symphony and opera orchestra, Florence’s Orchestra del Maggio Musicale, Klezmerata Fiorentina was formed in May of 2005 with the purpose of developing a concert version of traditional Ukrainian-Jewish instrumental music, the family heritage of the group’s founder, Igor Polesitsky. The resulting style could be described as improvised Klezmer chamber music, which imbues the unique instrumental language, dance rhythms and authentic melodies of the historical klezmorim with a classical complexity of expression, wide dynamic range, and elasticity of tempo.
The 2005-2006 season, the first year of the group’s existence, was dedicated to the study and elaboration of archival materials and to the preparation of concert programs which were performed in a number of prestigious venues throughout Europe. Under its original name, “Igor's Tikkun Kapelye,” the ensemble participated in the final concert of the Martha Argerich Project in Lugano, Switzerland in the summer of 2005. The concert was broadcast live on Swiss Radio and some of the pieces were included in the compilation album of that year's festival issued by EMI as a special limited edition. The Klezmerata was invited to perform at the Institute of Russian Culture in Vienna; Moscow's new central concert hall, Dom Muzyki; the first anniversary memorial for the great Italian contemporary composer, Luciano Berio; Teatro Piccolo di Milano; Florence’s Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori; Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; and the Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio. In the fall of 2006, the group had its Tokyo debut. The program, “Fifteen Variations on the Theme of Life,” performed on April 17, 2006 at the historical Renaissance Villa il Poggiale for the Jewish community of Florence, was recorded live and was released at the end of August under the Tuscan NBB label.
On November 26, 2006, the group made its debut at the historic Teatro della Pergola in Florence as part of the concert season of the most important Italian chamber music society, Amici della Musica and since then became a frequent guest of many other prestigious concert organisations and festivals in Italy and abroad. In October of 2007 the group’s concert at the Quirinale palace of the Italian President in Rome was broadcast life by the Euroradio, and in December of the same year Klezmerata performed at the Gala celebration at the Kremlin’s Grate Palace of Congresses in Moscow. Numerous international classical music celebrities -- conductors Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and James Conlon, cellists Mstislav Rostropovich and Natalia Gutman, pianist Marta Argerich, violinists Vladimir Spivakov, Leonidas Kovakos and Dora Schwarzberg -- have all offered their enthusiastic support and approval after hearing the ensemble. Contemporary composers, the Argentine Jorge Bosso, and the Israeli Betty Olivero, have written works especially for Klezmerata Fiorentina.
Igor Polesitsky was born in Kiev, where he began studying the violin at the age of six under the guidance of Gregori Yampolsky. At nineteen, after attending the Glière State Music School of Kiev and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, he moved to the United States where he graduated with a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. While studying under Max Aronoff, Mr. Polesitsky began performing in the USA and abroad, taking part in many international music festivals, the 1982 Curtis European chamber music tour, and the "Russian Music Week" at Carnegie Hall. Since 1983, he has been the Principal violist of Florence’s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra (principal conductor, Zubin Mehta) and has toured and recorded extensively under the direction of some of the world’s major conductors. In addition to his work with the orchestra, Mr. Polesitsky continues his concert engagements with musicians of the highest international renown. Of particular note are his Italian tour with the Borodin Quartet and his stage performance of the solo violin part composed for him by Luciano Berio in his last opera "Cronaca del Luogo," which opened the 1999 Salzburg Festival. Mr. Polesitsky's interests go beyond classical music, however, and have led him to explore the traditional Yiddish music of his childhood. As a founding member of the Gebirtig Trio, the Shir-am 3 ensemble and, since 2005, the Klezmerata Fiorentina, he has participated in numerous international musical events: festivals of Jewish music and culture in Venice, Basel, Krakow, and Moscow; worldwide radio and television broadcasts by the Austrian Radio ORF, Swiss Radio of Lugano, Italian RAI 3 and RAISAT television; and concerts with some of the most prestigious Italian chamber music organizations such as the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, GOG in Genoa, Settembre Musica in Turin, Milano Musica and Società del Quartetto in Milan and Amici della Musica in Florence.
Born in Palermo, Riccardo Crocilla moved with his family to Genoa, where he commenced his clarinet studies at the Paganini Conservatory under G. Laruccia. After graduating cum laude at an early age, he worked with Giuseppe Garbarino and Thomas Friedli. He won first clarinet positions in the symphony and opera orchestras of Cagliari, Genoa, Trieste, Lausanne and, since 1996, is Principal clarinet of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra of Florence, under the direction of Zubin Mehta. He has also performed with the Orchestra of Italian Radio and Television (RAI), the Chamber Orchestra of Padua and Veneto, the Israel Philarmonic Orchestra, the Parma Opera Ensemble, the Filarmonica della Scala, and the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, under the direction of the world’s leading conductors. In collaboraton with well-known international chamber ensembles, such as Trio di Parma, Cappella Andrea Barca of Andras Schiff, the Contempoartensemble and his own trio for twentieth century music with violinist Cristiano Rossi and pianist Massimilliano Damerini, he has performed in prestigious concert seasons: the Accademia Chigiana di Siena, the Società del Quartetto of Milan, Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, GAMO, Elba Festival, Amici della Musica of Pistoia, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Amici della Musica di Vicenza, Centro Studi Busoni, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and GOG of Genoa. One of the highlights of his career as a clarinet soloist was his 2002 performance of the Mozart clarinet concerto under the direction of Zubin Mehta at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Mr. Crocilla is a holder of the prestigious Premio Galileo 2000 award as the outstanding young Italian performer. He has recorded for ARTS, BONGIOVANNI and DISCANTICA labels. He plays Yamaha instruments.
Native to the multi-ethnic border town of Trieste, Italy, Francesco Furlanich began his musical studies on classical accordion at the age of five in the class of Eliana Zajec. He graduated cum laude in 1989 from the state conservatory of his city and won a number of national and international competitions. Exhibiting in his formative years an unusual musical versatility, he took up piano, organ, organ improvisation and composition, and got his second conservatory diploma as a bassoonist, which allowed him to win a permanent position with the prestigious Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra (principal conductor, Zubin Mehta) and to perform extensively as bassoonist with symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Europe. Mr. Furlanich also keeps an active schedule as a concert accordionist. He has frequently made recordings for RAI in Trieste and the Slovenian Radio in Capodistria, has been invited to play with opera and symphony orchestras throughout Italy -- the Orchestra dell’ Opera di Roma, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and others -- and has been a guest performer at various major international musical festivals including the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, Switzerland (2005) and L’été Musical en Bergerac in Bordeaux, France. He has spent many years engaged in the study and research of Argentine music and more recently in jazz. He is a founding member of the tango ensemble A-bandoneando, the Aere Ensemble woodwind quintet, and the improvisational chamber music quartet Klezmerata Fiorentina.
Born in Fucecchio, Italy in 1972, Riccardo Donati studied double bass in the class of Alfredo Brandi and piano with Amleto Manetti at the Cherubini Conservatory of Florence. After graduating cum laude in both instruments, he began his post-graduate double bass training with Salvatore Villani and Franco Petracchi. He participated in a number of national and international double bass competitions, winning second prize in 1999 at the prestigious “Giovanni Bottesini” International Double Bass Competition in Crema, Italy and several first prizes, including the “Rovere d’Oro” of Imperia, Città di Genova String Competition, and the 28th edition in 2005 of the “Valentino Bucchi” International Bass Competition of Rome at which he was awarded the silver medal of merit by the Italian presidency. He also won principal bass auditions for major orchestras, such as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale “G. Verdi” of Trieste, the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala of Milan, and in 1995 accepted the position of principal bass of Florence’s Orchestra del Maggio Musicale under the direction of Zubin Mehta. Mr. Donati has held teaching positions in the conservatories of Genoa, Pesaro and Mantua and has given master classes and post-graduate courses in Italy and abroad. Besides his active teaching schedule, he has frequently performed as soloist with orchestras such as the Chamber Orchestra of Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, the Orchestra “Guido Cantelli” of Milan, the “Solisti Fiorentini” chamber orchestra, and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. In 2001, he had the honor of being the first double bass player in the history of the Florentine Maggio Musicale Theater to perform Giovanni Bottesini’s virtuosic Second Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra, which was broadcast nationally on Radio RAI 3.