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Vicente Scaramuzza’s piano school

Vicente Scaramuzza's Piano School

General information about Maestro Scaramuzza:

My relation with the Scaramuzza’s piano school

Vicente Scaramuzza's Piano School

There is in Argentina a strong tradition related to piano playing, coming mainly from the influence left by the Italian Maestro Vicente Scaramuzza.

I was lucky to have been formed, at all the stages of my musical studies, by eminent professors (all of them linked – either directly or indirectly – to the great maestro Scaramuzza). I feel I am a true “heir” of an important family of pedagogues, since all my teachers have something that makes them unique. There is no “total knowledge”, but it does exist a global view, both efficient and proven, of knowing a subject in depth. As far as a serious formation in piano playing is concerned, each of them managed to convey to me that amount of knowledge that was the “soul” of their teaching.

During my initial years I was guided by Prof. Eugenia Rozental (who had studied with two great Maestri, Scaramuzza’s disciples, Juan Salomone and Francisco Amicarelli). Being an artist of a strong magnetism, she completed her formation in Romania with Florica Musicescu (Dinu Lipatti’s professor). Mrs. Rozental is a specialist in teaching very young children.

Later, already in Buenos Aires, I was for ten years a student of Prof. María Rosa Oubiña de Castro (whom many consider the highest authority in matters of piano pedagogy in Argentina). Mrs. Oubiña de Castro had been personally taught by Scaramuzza during two decades and she was interested in collecting all that wisdom in the form of didactic material (two books and a DVD). She spreaded this knowledge by means of innumerable courses on piano technique in Argentina, in South America, and in the most important higher conservatories in Europe. Her books were translated into several languages and are due material for the formation of piano teachers in many countries. As one of Martha Argerich’s personal friends, and wife of the great pianist Roberto Castro (son of the most important Argentine conductor, Juan José Castro), Mrs. Oubiña de Castro had the opportunity of gathering several Scaramuzza’s documents (notes in scores, transcriptions from lessons, oral explanations, etc).

I share with Mrs. Oubiña de Castro a passion for pedagogy, and the need of analyzing, understanding and transmitting the basic principles which allow the control of our instrument. I spent many years very closely by her (the ten years of our teacher-student relation) and some more years when I was member of “Centro de Estudios Pianísticos” – CEP, she founded in 1976 to foster the development of young artists and whose director I am in Europe (Barcelona) since 2002. I was her closest coworker in the organization of important cultural events (“Martha Argerich International Piano Competition” – which took place at the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires in 1999 and 2003; a lot of master classes and courses, given by the most outstanding artists and pedagogues of the world, national contests, etc), as well as the preparation of pedagogic material, for which she asks my help for correction, opinion and consultation.

During the years of my higher cycle I was in touch with Mtro. Antonio De Raco, Alberto Ginastera’s favourite pianist, and a great pedagog of Scaramuzza school. His strong points were the working of sound, the legato, the “handcrafted” finish of the works, the development of anattentive and refined ear. From his lessons astonishing children and young artists emerged (among them Horacio Lavandera, winner of the “Micheli International Competition” in Milan).

Ms. Elsa Púppulo, the greatest Argentine female virtuoso resident in the country, was also an important influence on me. She has lately published a pedagogic DVD: “Technique for the 24 Chopin’s studies” (complete performance of the studies at the Main Hall of the Colon Theatre and a master class at a private recording studio, where she explains – passage by passage – each study).

My musical improvement was finally crowned in Europe: Maestri Albert Attenelle and Jordi Mora (“L’Escola de Música de Barcelona” – Spain), Maureen Jones and Dario De Rosa (“Escola Superiore Internazionale di Musica da Camera del TRIO DI TRIESTE” – Italy), Gui-Michel Caillat (Geneva’s Conservatory – Switzerland) and in Baltimore (USA) with pianist Nancy Roldán.

Scaramuzza school provides a clear use of the instrumental technique, by means of an efficient development of the piano touches. For the formation period of children and young people a suitable repertoire is chosen in order to get a set of abilities which guarantee the control of the piano.

As Director of CEP (Center For Piano Studies), I am very pleased to invite national and foreign interpreters every year to give courses and master classes, so allowing a greater approach between students and acclaimed artists. This way I try to widen young people’s horizons in order to shape their artistic personalities by taking in valuable opinions and influences.

I recommend the reading of these two paragraphs:

The piano technique is a means of expression. The quality of the performance depends on its mastering. Its acquisition demands patience and perseverance, which are only possible when there is a perfectionist attitude. As far as the artistic performance is concerned, the result relies on a whole process of elaboration of the knowledge acquired during the formative period of each individual. The result depends on their intelligence, sensibility and will. The rational work, however, eases the acquisition of knowledge and allows one to save time and effort. The teacher’s task must be a contribution to a rational development of the intellectual and physical faculties of the student, who will be, this way, endowed with the necessary means of expression.

María Rosa Oubiña de Castro.

Scaramuzza developed the most natural way to approach the instrument, thanks to his scientific knowledge of a pianist’s anatomy. On the basis of relaxation, there is no muscular effort, not even in the most difficult passage. Let alone the fact that for a pianist there is always a daily effort, not a physical one but that of a complete devotion. Thus, there are no technical barriers, and you can focus on the interpretation. Scaramuzza had an ideal in sounds, a characteristic form of approaching the instrument. There is a “Scaramuzza sound”. He was a Bel Canto lover, with a special culture of the sound.

Nelson Goerner.