Italian pianist Jacopo Giacopuzzi: from Verona to Los Angeles

Jacopo Giacopuzzi. Photo/courtesy of Jacopo Giacopuzzi

Jacopo Giacopuzzi. Photo/courtesy of Jacopo Giacopuzzi

A young pianist from Verona, Jacopo Giacopuzzi is an up-and-coming pianist in our very own backyard. A performer at heart, he has participated in many competitions both here and in Europe, from Portugal and Spain to Paris and of course all over Italy. He has studied in Italy, Germany, Brussels, and California. Wherever he goes, he tries to “put seats”. Strongly committed to what he truly loves, he commutes between Santa Barbara every weekend and, having just finished his first year towards his Master’s degree in piano performance, his schedule remains packed with concerts and festivals all around the States. Not only do his interests lie in performing but also in making a connection between music and videos. This summer, he will be a videographer and photographer, as well as a performer during the Pianofest in the Hamptons. But before that, his music can be enjoyed at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m.
 
What made you come out here to California?
2012 was my first year in the United States, when I flew to California to spend a month by myself, wandering around. I had my first piano lesson with a teacher from Juilliard in New York, who is also teaching in California for the summer. After that, I travelled to San Francisco and then Santa Barbara - I’m from Verona, a small town in Northern Italy, and wanted to explore a little bit. I loved it here, so I decided to apply to the Music Academy in Santa Barbara, and was accepted. I also visited the East Coast, but figured out that my place was in California, because of the weather, of the enthusiasm for music and art in general, including of course cinema. I wanted to perform in this great environment that is California. I also love surfing and I thought, “Living in California, I’m going to surf every day.” Actually that didn’t happen, I went surfing probably three times! I’m so busy, and there are so many things to do here. Commuting from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles is also quite tiring.
 
What was your first impression of Los Angeles?
I had never been in the States before, and I didn’t know exactly what to expect, except for palms and the ocean. It was different from how I had imagined it, but in a positive way. I had a good feeling: the weather reminds me of Southern Italy, and I can feel a strong connection to Italy. So many people I have met here are of Italian origin or love the Italian culture. The food is very Mediterranean, with great salads and pasta, but lifestyle is certainly different. It’s very important for me to connect with fellow Italians in California, as it keeps the traditions strong and alive!
 
What sparked your interest in the piano?
My mom. She’s a piano teacher, so she introduced me to music. When you’re a kid, your parents need to push you a little bit, because kids usually don’t have the patience, but I have always liked to practice it. And as a young man I continued performing and studying and getting degrees. I started when I was 7 and since then I never stopped. Of course, I went to high school, and I received two Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and in Sound Design in Italy - I also like electronic music.  Then, I decided to try some new place. I’ve participated in a lot of competitions in Italy. I also studied and got a diploma from the prestigious IMOLA, an international piano academy focused on music and research, located in the Italian town of Imola, not far from Bologna.
 
What are the differences between Italy and the United Stated in terms of music education?
It’s much more expensive here, but also more organized and kind of strict - not that Italy isn’t. Besides music, I didn’t really live the academic environment in Italy and I didn’t study music business or marketing. This is also one of my greatest concerns about the MA: too many papers! I just want to perform and to focus on art. I turned 27 last week, and I want to do what I love: performing. I’m thinking about applying to the Colburn School in Downtown L.A., right across the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Getting an artist diploma from that school, which is very competitive, would allow me to just play. I’m going to apply and see what happens.
 
What do you have planned to perform at the IIC?
A few pieces from Liszt that I personally love, then Chopin, and some works by a composer who I really love: he’s Ukrainian and Russian, and his name is Kapustin. I will also play Schumann, and maybe Poulenc. Actually, I haven’t defined the program yet. I also have a competition in Seattle coming up first,  based on what I will decide.
 
When you perform, what do you want your audience to take home?
Hope. Inspiration. A good vibe in general, I can’t describe it. Enthusiasm. That’s what I’m interested in, enthusiasm and good values. It may sound predictable, but this is what I want to convey. We often realize the importance of music and how much we need it when something bad happens. Classical music is beautiful to listen to, as it is so perfect and inspiring.

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