The VIOLANET project - European Viola da Gamba Network - aims to develop a European network between universities and institutes of higher musical education to create courses of study for the Viola da Gamba, strengthening the skills of the music students, promoting teaching methodologies and innovative tools for teachers, enhancing cooperation between European university institutes and disseminating music for viola da gamba through concerts, recordings, open classes and conferences.

 

The Project Violanet

The project was born from the positive experience of the "Italian Day of the Viola da Gamba" (founded in 2011 at the Music School of Fiesole and awarded with the Medal of the Presidency of the Republic), which over the years has managed to create a fruitful network of contacts and exchanges between teachers and students, musicians and instrument makers. professionals and amateurs, and become a reference event for experts.

The project is promoted by the Music School of Fiesole and involves the Mozarteum University of Salzburg (Austria), the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Lyon (France), the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar (Germany), the Koninklijk Conservatorium de The Hague (Netherlands) and the Vigo Conservatory of Music (Spain).

The teachers of the partner organizations will take part in the transnational training activities and will work together to create common guidelines for the definition of innovative courses and methodologies for teaching the Viola da Gamba.

Each university and institute of higher education will carry out specialization laboratories within their university curricula and will program mobility for the students in mixed modality. During these mobilities, the musicians of each partner country will hold specific training, in-depth masterclasses for Viola da Gamba.

Each partner will undertake to promote events of dissemination, through the realization of concerts and lessons open to the public, with a view to creating awareness of the value of ancient music as an inestimable part of European cultural heritage.

All of the partners will participate in the European Viola da Gamba Day, which will be held in Florence at Villa La Torraccia in May, 2020.

Motivations for the proposal

 

The project proposal finds its ‘raison d'être' in the peculiarities that characterize the study paths for the Viola da Gamba: of Italy’s more than 50 conservatories and AFAM institutes there are only 12 which offer classes for this instrument, and this situation is common to all of Europe.

Because of this, the instructors have difficulty comparing methods, orientations and innovations applicable to the teaching of this instrument, beyond the orchestral circuit and specific encounters, while the students have a hard time finding occasions to experiment their skills in international contexts.

The creation of this European Network is a direct response to this condition of "fragility", proposing a platform of exchange, collaboration and mutual enrichment for teachers, students, musicians and professionals.

 

Objectives

The project is presented as an integrated set of initiatives, aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  1. to develop a series of skills related to the Viola da Gamba through European higher education training courses (for students of universities and institutes of higher musical education) which provide for the recognition of ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System);
  1. to share innovative methodologies and tools for the instruction of the Viola da Gamba, elaborating original teaching proposals, with a view to mutual recognition of knowledge and skills, learned through the promotion of transnational exchange and training for teachers;
  1. to broaden the network of contacts and exchanges between universities and institutes of higher musical education in Europe, between teachers and students, between musicians and instrument makers, between professionals and amateurs;
  1. to promote knowledge, study and interest in ancient music in local communities as part of the European cultural heritage.

Activities

The project has a three-year duration and aims to achieve the above objectives through a structured activity plan, listed below:

  1. activation of specialization laboratories on Viola da Gamba within the university curricula with recognition of ECTS credits;
  1. realization of brief mobility for students in mixed mode (blended mobility) during which master classes will be organized and taught by high-level musicians to develop student's knowledge and skills;
  1. preparation of transnational exchange opportunities between teachers (short-term joint staff training event), in order to define innovative teaching methodologies;
  1. creation of a free access Digital Resource Center for teachers and students, designed and implemented by the Music School of Fiesole, under the controlled supervision of Prof. Bettina Hoffmann, and with the contribution of all partners;
  1. promotion of research, in-depth study and knowledge of the instrumental repertoire through the Digital Resource Center, with a view to improving knowledge for teachers and students of the Viola da Gamba; the research work will be coordinated by the Department of Musicology of the Weimar University;
  1. creation of an ensemble called the European Union Youth Viola Consort, in which the best students will be able to experience ensemble music at the highest level;
  1. programming of events of dissemination about ancient music focused on performances of the Viola da Gamba: concerts, concert lessons, events, etc. within the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018;
  1. involvement, in the network and in joint events, of violin makers specialized in the construction of viole da gamba, with conferences, workshops and demonstrations.

Expected results

The principle objective of the VIOLANET project is the enhancement of knowledge of the Viola da Gamba as part of the European cultural heritage, through the dissemination of works by viola composers often little known to the general public, thanks primarily to diffusion and dissemination activities.

The network, initially composed of partners, will be dynamic and open to all organizations, associations, conservatories and institutes that intend to join and which can concretely cooperate for the definition of innovative teaching methods for teaching and disseminating knowledge, training of teachers, the realization of events and the elaboration of joint study programs, so as to favor the homogenization, comparability and correlation at the European level of the contents and programs of study.

The activation of a Digital Resource Center will be an important and permanent contribution to the training and updating of teachers and music  students: it will function as a common platform on which to upload contents, materials, information on authors, works, historical sources and modern editions of the solo works for Viola da Gamba, constituting the "place" for comparison and exchange of knowledge related to music education and related professions, with a view to strengthening, consolidating and sharing the network at the European and international levels.

What makes this proposal innovative

The peculiar condition of Viola da Gamba, traditionally outside the circuit of the orchestra, makes this project proposal extremely innovative, as there are no similar initiatives - certainly not initiatives focused on higher education programs for the Viola da Gamba - that provide for the recognition of ECTS credits.

The proposal is innovative because it includes both research and activities aimed at enriching the repertoire of works for the Viola da Gamba, as well as opportunities for exchange and training for teachers in order to study and develop innovative methodologies and tools to be applied in the educational field.