In 1983 I have started to collaborate with the Orchestra “Arturo Toscanini”
in Emilia Romagna, as piano, celesta, harpsichord and keyboard player.
I took part in many symphonic concerts and opera settings.
Between 2004 and 2010 I was a member of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted permanently by Lorin Maazel. Under his baton and other important conductors, including Mstislav Rostropovich, Charles Dutoit, Georges Pretre, Yuri Temirkanov and Jeffrey Tate, I have took part in many tours in Europe, USA, China, Japan and South America.
It is not a very common experience for a pianist to be part of a Symphony Orchestra.
The piano is seldom used in the orchestra and only in the twentieth century’s repertoire.
You would not play much, you would spends a lot of time counting the waiting bars, the pauses,
and many times in the overall orchestral “forte” you feel useless, because of the impression of
being covered by the sound of the others, even if you are playing fortissimo.
Every now and then, there would be some "solos", brief moments that seem to last forever, where you have to play fully exposed, maybe a fast cadence. A few minutes before these moments the tension mounts, the heart rate increases and you would struggle to send away the thought that if you mess up in those moments it would be like ruining the entire concert. The solo in the "Pines of Rome" by Ottorino Respighi is one of these, and Lorin Maazel liked to perform this piece on tour. It was a guaranteed success. He also chose it for the 50th anniversary of Toscanini's death concert, at the Avery Fischer Hall in New York, which was broadcast live on the radio. It was in the programme even on my first concert with Lorin Maazel. I remember it well: we rehearsed with him only the morning of the day of the concert, in Santa Sofia, Istanbul. He rehearsed twice the part with the piano solo and then finished the whole piece, before continuing with the New World Symphony by Dvorak; he turned to me: "Thank you! You can now enjoy the afternoon as a tourist in Istanbul. See you this evening". I was very relieved.