Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
I was born into a family of musicians, all quite normal. I do not remember any particular choice but of course many of my ideas and beliefs on how to live with music come from mutual and significant experiences like the traditional band, which is very important in the south of Italy, or watching the day-to-day activities of my brothers (both brass players) of practicing and much music making with other musicians, and so a great deal of chamber music.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
In the first instance my parents. Later on, having understood the meaning of the word “influence”, it was my guide to many choices. My enthusiasm, my curiosity and my views are a combination of continual searching and outside influences from people, books, events or encounters. That is why I think a young person should be more worried about the things that surround them; a choice that needs great care. The objectives are continually changing and will come naturally. I can only name my teacher Maestro Franco Scala as a major influence; also the composer Marco Di Bari and the singer Alda Caiello, amongst many other artists.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
I do not see my career as a game or a challenge. That does not mean I do not have goals to dedicate myself to or do not set myself challenges. I have many challenges with myself but not with others. For now, I must say that, having understood what I am not and having had to accept it can be very tiring. Where it will take me to is something still to be seen….
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I cannot really say but to have played the two Ravel Concertos in one evening was certainly something to remember.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
I have a particular penchant for French music of the last century – e.g. Poulenc, Ravel, Debussy, Messiaen etc.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
No precise rule; it just happens that a programme is born from an idea or taking a specific line, but on many occasions it is also the exact opposite. Playing a lot of chamber music, it is easy to discover something new and to include those composers in my solo repertoire.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Not really. I have played many times in La Fenice Theatre in Venice. I love the city and I feel at home in its theatre.
Who are your favourite musicians?
There are many and a lot are still performing today
What is your most memorable concert experience?
I think my debut at 17 in the Konzerthaus in Berlin. I was very excited.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
To feel your own dreams and your own music as an act of generosity. Not to feel yourself as a “son” or “daughter” of the music awaiting gifts and unconditional love, but on the contrary to be yourself the creator of that sincere love and insight of which music is in much need.
André Gallo performs in Manchester Camerata UpClose: The Next Generation at Stoller Hall, Manchester on 4th October 2018. More information
Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D major K. 448
Schumann Andante and Variations in B flat major WoO 10
Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals
Piano Galla Chistiakova
Piano André Gallo
Manchester Camerata Principal Musicians