10 Questions for Duo Greci-Bruno

Door Vink Beijer

On the schedule for the next 24chambers edition is Duo Greci-Bruno in Utrecht on October 4th! This duo was established in 2022 and is composed of violinist Giulio Greci and cellist Stefano Bruno. Both musicians have won numerous individual awards at international competitions and in February 2023, they won the Grachtenfestival Conservatorium Prijs as a duo. Join us for a conversation with honest questions, (unintentional) poetic answers and lots of laughter as we get to know Stefano Bruno and Giulio Greci better through 10 questions!

1. You’ve been a duo since 2022, how did you come together?
“Our journey started in 2021 right before we started at the conservatory, we crossed paths at a summer masterclass. We started talking and found out we were both going to Amsterdam to study. Life got in the way for a little while and we were both busy but still wanted to play together. Then finally in May 2022, we started playing together and haven’t stopped since!”

2. You’re both Italian. Does your background play a role in the music you perform or the way you perform it?
“We don’t select pieces based on our Italian background; we choose them because we like them. However, the fact that we speak the same language influences the way we play. It’s hard to find proof but maybe that is also the reason why we like to play together. In the rehearsal space, it helps that we speak the same language, we can communicate more directly.”

3. What do you miss most about Italy now that you live in the Netherlands?
“What we miss most about Italy is the food and the weather, that’s kind of a cliché response but it is very true.”

4. Who inspires you in your musical career?
Stefano: “I have been very lucky with my teachers, who become my source of inspiration and role models when I study with them. Now this is Pieter Wispelwey. I also have a lot of respect and admiration for Nicolas Altstaedt, because he is very versatile in what he does. He plays solo, he does baroque, contemporary, romantic, chamber music, duo, quartet, everything… For me, that is really inspiring.”
Giulio: “My teachers also inspire me but there are so many other things that inspire me! I find inspiration in random concerts, whether by professionals or other students. If they have an idea that resonates with me, something I can use in my music, it becomes a source of inspiration. Of course, it is different than having a role model, but inspiration is all around us: you just have to look for it.”

5. If you hadn’t gone for music, what would you have become?
Stefano: “I would have probably gone for something with movies and cinema. Whether as a writer, filmmaker or director. I don’t know exactly what, but it would definitely be something related to movies.”
Giulio: “I would have been a software developer. I’ve always had an interest in technology, but music was better!”

6. What else do you enjoy doing besides making music?
Stefano: “This will not come as a surprise anymore, but I love watching movies.”
Giulio: “My life has been really music-focused recently, so I don’t have much time for other things. But whenever I can I like swimming and have always loved reading. Although the problem with books is, that when I start a book, it is very difficult for me to stop reading. I know now that if I have to practice, I can’t start a book. I reserve reading for the holidays, whenever they may occur.”

7. What concert hall is still on the bucket list to play in?
“Playing in the Concertgebouw was always on our list, but we are going to do that now. However, we haven’t performed as a duo in the big hall and would love to do that eventually, we just have to convince them! (Concertgebouw if you read this: book them for the big hall!) Amare is another venue we would really like to perform in, and for German venues, the Elbphilharmonie tops the list.”

8. How do you prepare the day of a concert?
Stefano: “Just before the concert I have a few routines because I tend to get paranoid. For instance, I must check the length of my cello’s endpin on stage, and I never make adjustments before the concert starts. It gives me peace of mind knowing before I get on stage that it is at the correct length. Another odd thing of mine is that if I don’t have to use the rubber end of the endpin in the concert, I always keep it in my right pocket.”
Giulio: “I make sure the music stand has the correct height, and if I have an important entrance, I try to coordinate it before the concert. Obviously, we also rehearse together, this is an important part of our preparation. In the worst-case scenario, we rehearse the day before. If time is limited in the concert hall, we focus on practising the most challenging passages. We believe that if we have played the hardest passages beforehand, they have already sounded in the hall and are imprinted in our memory. This approach not only serves us musically but also psychologically: knowing it already worked in the hall, helps us feel confident it will work again during the concert.”

9. What can we expect from the 24chambers edition?
“You can expect a mix of folk music and a lot of energy, especially for the first piece. The second piece will give a lot of impressions and we will conclude with a fun finale. Overall, we will play a lot of visual music. It’s the kind of music that creates vivid pictures in the audience’s mind!”

10. What will the future hold?
“We want to try and live in the Netherlands as long as possible and boost our musical careers here. Of course, we will spend the holidays in Italy. Because we won the Grachtenfestival Conservatorium Prijs last year we have a tour set up. We will play in the small hall of the Concertgebouw and in several other halls such as the Orpheus in Apeldoorn and De Vereeniging in Nijmegen we are really excited about it!”

The concert by Giulio Greci and Stefano Bruno is fully booked. Do you want to join us at the next 24chambers edition? Request an invite for the guest list of our upcoming concerts. Free admission, pay what you can at the door! On the day of the concert, we’ll send you a text message with the exact location.

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