“When I play it, I immerse myself in beautiful soundscapes…”

Pia Rossi, 24 years old, comes from San Giorgio del Sannio, a town in the province of Benevento in the Campania region (Italy). Benevento is a city famous for its outstanding historical artistic and archaeological heritage due to the successive rulerships over the course of history (Longobards, Samnites, Romans). She graduated in Organ Studies at the Nicola Sala state music conservatory in that city and is currently enrolled in the second year of the MA programme in Organ.

San Giorgio del Sannio

Describe your personal path to music: When and why did you start playing your instrument?

I started playing the piano at the age of 5 – thanks to my mother, who was a pianist. Thanks to my family, I developed a passion for classical music. When I was 11, I enrolled to study Organ at the Benevento conservatory and I met my teacher Varriano, who made me very fond of this instrument.

At Benevento Cathedral

What was it like to play the organ for the first time? What makes your instrument so special to you and what do you feel when playing?

The organ has always been a fascinating instrument. The first time I played it, I was filled with amazement by this instrument with its thousand tonal “nuances”. The organ is a special instrument because, in my view, it reflects the historical and artistic culture of the nation or country in which it is built and has, as far as possible, retained its original form without being wholly influenced by the current century. When I play it, I immerse myself in beautiful soundscapes, trying to best recreate the fabulous compositions that are dedicated to it.

Do you play any other instruments or have other artistic talents?

I’ve been playing the piano since I was little – another instrument to which I’m very attached. Over time, I also developed a passion for the harpsichord and had several opportunities to play it. At high school, I also learned to play the oboe and attained a decent level of proficiency. I took drama and music classes and attended a dance school.

Why did you decide to spend a semester abroad at the mdw?

I’ve always dreamed of being able to study abroad in order to learn about local musical customs. Ever since I visited Vienna as a little girl, I’ve always been enchanted by this city. The second time I came to Vienna, thanks to an organist I was able to sit down at the mdw’s organ, dreaming of being able to study at this university one day. Who would have thought that one day I’d have this chance?!

What were your first impressions of Vienna and the mdw?

Vienna is a wonderful city! I hardly remembered it and I was delighted to be able to see it again and revive my memories. The university is really beautiful! Highly organised, reputable and of the highest quality. Unfortunately, due to the health emergency, I haven’t been able to experience very much, but I’m hoping to make up for it next semester.

What would you say are the most striking differences between your home university and the mdw?

The most notable difference lies in the layout of the university, with multiple locations that are based on one’s instrument or musical style. Here in Vienna, there are many more locations, more classrooms and spaces dedicated to music, also due to the size of this city. As for the study plan, fewer subjects are covered here. In Italy there are more subjects, both theoretical and practical: for example, all students are required to attend courses on instrumental and choral ensemble music, whereas here at the mdw, the studies are more specific to their instruments.

Besides studying, how do you spend your time in Vienna? Do you have a favourite place (in Vienna/at the mdw)?

I really like visiting museums and as soon as I arrived, I visited Schönbrunn, Mozarthaus, the Albertina Museum and Haus der Musik. I love walking around the city, visiting multiple parks and the many churches with beautiful organs. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown I haven’t been able to see everything, but I plan to make up for it over the coming months. Vienna is a beautiful city, and I can’t claim to have one favourite place.

What are your wishes and plans for your artistic career?

I’d like to do many things, as well as complete and broaden my organ studies. I want to enlarge my harpsichord repertoire and study it seriously. I’d very much like to start playing in chamber music ensembles again, and also to get to know the repertoire and improve my skills in that area. I’ve always loved playing and sharing my passion for music with other instrumentalists.

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