Guido Alberto Borciani
Guido Alberto Borciani (1920 – 2008) was the creator and founder of Premio Paolo Borciani in 1987, art director of the competition until 2007. Born in Reggio Emilia on 20 October 1920, Guido Borciani had a very long life, dedicated to his family and his two jobs, as he used to say: the work of engineer – he was one of the world’s leading experts on turbines – and that of man of culture, a man capable of making culture, especially music, alive and tangible.
In 2002 he published the bilingual Italian-English volume Il Quartetto Italiano. Una vita in musica, Reggio Emilia, Aliberti, 2002 He never stopped to dedicate his time to the dearest of his creations, the Quartet Competition dedicated to his brother Paolo. He passed away in his family home in Reggio Emilia, in Corso Garibaldi 32, the same house where the Quartetto Italiano met for the first time in 1945.
In 1989 he was awarded the Gold Medal of Gratitude of the Province of Milan for cultural and professional merits, and in 2007 the Mayor of Reggio Emilia paid him homage by giving him the First Italian flag, since he had contributed to making the city known throughout the world. A talented pianist, he began his concert career at a very young age, but soon decided to work in music from behind the scenes. So, he was secretary of Quartetto Italiano, creator and soul of the cycle of lessons “Scomporre la musica”, member of the board of directors of Aterballetto, Vice-President of Società del Quartetto di Milano. He was a jury member at the International Shostakovich Competition in St. Petersburg for string quartets in 1993 and the International Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris for violin in 2005
In The Quartetto Italiano. A Life in music narrates with a warm and involved perspective the extraordinary history of the Quartet from the beginning to the end of the adventure.
The beginning (1945)
“Carpi and Reggio – as we know – are the first steps of their career. Then they’re off to Milan. It is midnight, it is cold in the mail-wagon where they find some room; the journey is as long as the night. They arrive in Milan at six o’clock in the morning. Shortly after they are in Ada Finzi’s office, the Italian well-known and intelligent concert agent who has invited them for an audition. After a few bars che is immediately convinced that she’s listening to something phenomenal.”
Beethoven Quartet Op.130, Accademia Filarmonica Romana (1947)
“The Nuovo Quartetto Italiano plays one of the most complex works of chamber music for the first time. […] “What a fear! – remembers Lisa Pegreffi – Franco and I, as pale as ghosts, wandered about in our dressing room; Piero tried to control his usual stomach ache; Paolo was in search of a sheet anchor “…ok! at the first trouble, I’ll manage to break a string, inform the audience and we will get out of the hall with dignity”. Luckily we didn’t need any trick […]. At the end of the second movement – a lively “Presto”- a surprising. real ovation rose from the audience and reassured and moved us. All the rest was easy”.
New York (1951)
“The USA and New York keep inviting them. No one of the four “Knights-of-the-bow” (G. Confalonieri) is particularly fond of flying (they will slowly accept it), therefore in October 1951 they face up the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by ship. As they arrive to destination, to their unpleasant surprise, they are confined at Ellis Island, compulsory stop for all the immigrants willing to cross the border of the USA […]. Two days of inquiries about political tendencies and ideas; at last freedom comes thanks to the solicitous intervention of their USA agent.”
Umberto di Savoia
“His daughter Maria Pia invites them to a dinner after a concert in Lisbon. They arrive in Cascais with a lot of doubts about what one can or cannot do at a dinner with the king. They are welcomed heartly, the dinner is frugal, the conversation runs smoothly. The risk of an accident is avoided when Paolo’s bow tie gets sideways; a severe glance of Duke Acquarone is enough to call Paolo’s attention who quickly makes up for the mishap.”