1 ) Hello dear Diego, or should I call you ´maestro´ Diego?
Good morning, please call me Diego, just Diego, as I have a long way to go to earn such a title.
2 ) As you know, I'm a bass player by profession and I teach at ´Institute of Musical Studies G. Paisiello´ in Taranto ( Italy ) . When I saw the video of you playing Capuzzi in F and the Eccles sonata, I was very impressed with the ease of execusion and your joy in playing the bass. All this and you are just 12 years old! Do you realize that this is truely exceptional and do you consider yourself to be a `bass - genius ´?
Oh no, I do not feel special at all. I think I am a normal child who started playing the bass when I was seven years old and I really like it. The progress I have made is the result of my passion and of the hard work of my teacher Andrzej Karasiuk.
3 ) Diego, could you tell me what an average day looks like for you? Do you also have hobbies apart from playing the bass ?
I attend the sixth grade in the Italian State School of Madrid, so I'm busy in the classroom every day until 15.00 . My favorite subjects are math, geography and Italian . I am fascinated by mythology, history of imperial dynasties and astronomy .
Also I have a great love for Russia and Russian culture. Maybe someday I would even like to live there.
Every afternoon I go to the Conservatory for a few hours , but I always have time to do homework, study the lessons and practise my instrument .
I enjoy reading and I go to school by train, so I use this time for reading.
Also I love drawing and I am fascinated by fashion so I combine these two interests by designing womens´ clothes. I have made over a thousand sketches.
When my practise sessions with Andrzej become too long we will occassionaly have a short break and play a quick game of chess, but unfortunately I don´t win very often.
4) You know, Diego, everyone in the world wants to know : "Why did you choose the bass " ?
This is a long story ... I am the youngest of four , all are studying or have studied an instrument, and as soon as I was born, I was immediately immersed in classical music . When I was three years old, my mother took me to listen to a concert , "The Carnival of the Animals " by Camille Saint - Saëns. I remember it clearly and it made an enormous impression on me . When it was time for the elephant to play I stood up, pointed and said, "I want to play that ". Since that day I have had a goal in life! In kindergarten I did nothing but make drawings of myself with a bass. When I was five I was made to study the violin for a couple of years: it was a disaster! It was not my instrument and on top of that I was not comfortable with the teacher , who, after a while, said to my mother that she would not give me more lessons and that I was “not made for music”. At seven years old in Spain , you can enter the Conservatory of Music . I could now choose an instrument and said: " If you do not give me a bass I'm going home!" My mother finally resigned , and so my dream was already half fulfilled! With a tenth size double bass in my hand I felt like the happiest child in the world!
5 ) Do you think that the beginning of the study of the double bass was difficult or boring , or do you think that in a sense you were born, especially for this instrument ?
I was extremely lucky that my first teacher was the Polish master Andrzej Karasiuk , a Polish virtuozo on the double bass and a very good teacher. There was an immediate click between us. He tells me exactly what to do, what to practise and what to listen to, and I do it.
It is clear: without Andrzej I would never be able to play the way I do today, certainly not with so much happiness and enthusiasm. He motivated me from the first moment , his methods are perfectly suited for me.
After the first year together, Andrzej was transferred to another conservatory and in five years I have changed teacher four times. But at that point it was already clear that Andrzej was my teacher, and so he has offered to continue teaching me privately. He comes to our house every friday and often works with me untill deep in the night. I feel privileged for all the support he gives me and I owe everything to him.
6) I understand that you play the piano as well. Could you tell us a little bit about your piano playing?
I sat at the piano a lot as a young child , but without really practising, I loved just listening to the different pitches that always seemed to be perfectly in tune . In fact, I only started taking lessons and practising more seriously this year. I have piano lessons at the Conservatory. I enjoy playing, it is teaching me more about harmony and about music in general, but it can not compare to playing the bass. The double bass is my voice.
7) Diego , how much time do you spend studying the double bass to achieve such amazing results? Our readers will be curious to know in detail what you study(eg scales, arpeggios and stuff like that ) .
During the week, I can not spend more than two hours a day on the instrument . In the weekends I have more time and I practise six to seven hours a day. It never feels like work, it is like a game to me, I enjoy it so much .Andrzej gives me a practise schedule which usually starts with practising scales with different bowings followed by some arpeggios and then an etude. Andrzej calls this part of practise the `spinach´ and says I have to eat it to become strong. After this I work on repertoire, I have just started practising the Hindemith sonata for double bass (1st mov.), the Friba suite in old style (Gavotte) and the Bach Suite nr. 1 (Prelude). I also love to improvise so I always finish my practise with a bit of improvising, sometimes with the bow, sometimes pizzicato, sometimes all by myself and sometimes I play along with records.
8) You know, Diego, people reading this interview will think of you as an alien ( playing Eccles at 11 years old is not for everyone ) but would you like to explain that you're a normal guy who plays games as well?
Of course, I have just turned 12, and I love to play with classmates and with my brother and sisters . I like cycling and skating, I play table football and I love to swim.
9) For a moment, let´s forget about your life as a double bass player and talk about your familly life.
Often on Sundays we all go out to eat a hamburger together and then take a walk in the park or go to the movies. Sometimes my father takes me to the stadium because I'm a fan of Atletico de Madrid . I wear a scarf,hat and a striped shirt in support of my team and I shout out loud when they score!
10) Diego, you are 12 years old now, have you thought of turning bass playing into your profession? Have you heard of Edicson Ruiz and are you inspired by him?
Edicson is an example for all young people who play the double bass . His immense talent led him to be the first South American musician to play in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra , as well as being a great soloist on the bass. Who would not love to follow in his footsteps?
11) Do you have any CD of a classical bass player that you like in particular ( apart from my running foul of the Gavotte of Lorenziti or the tarantella Bottesini !)
I really have a large collection of CDs. My mother knows what to give me to make me happy and also Andrzej advizes her. There are many famous bass players I love to listen to: Franco Petracchi , Bozo Paradzik, Francois Rabbath, Gary Karr, Catalin Rotaru, to name just a few. But I don´t only listen to bass players, also to a lot of
pianists , violinists and cellists . Every night I fall asleep with music on. Often I listen to the music I am playing. For example recently we performed Beethoven´s ninth symphony with the youth orchestra I play in and so I spent a lot of time listening to many of the great recorded versions of this beautiful piece. The Bach Cello Suites are also a great favorite of mine and of course I do not only listen to classical music. I also love jazz music and am a big fan of Esperenza Spalding and I like pop music. Madonna is one of my favourites.
12) Now you're still a child but would you like to record a cd as a soloist one day?
Of course I dream of being the soloist with a great orchestra, like the London Philharmonic but to be honest I really don´t think about this very much. At this moment it is my goal to improve my playing as much as I can and we will see where this leads me.
13) I noticed that when you play Eccles you spontaneously smile. Can you say something about this smile?
The smile is a part of me,people tell me that I always smile . My mother says I'm like the " Cheshire Cat " from Alice in Wonderland. When I play I smile because I remember all the feelings and emotions that I felt while I was studying that particular passage, I am happy because many of the problems I came across while working on the piece have been solved and I am happy simply hearing sound coming out of my bass.
14) If you had to choose between being a professional bass player, winning a Formula 1 race or being a football billionaire ..............?
I can not play football (table-football players do not usually become billionaires)and I do not have my driving license so I don´t think there is much to choose between. Still, I realize that there is a long way to go and that I have a lot of hard work to do.....
15) Well, Diego , our short interview ends here . As you have seen very simple and suitable for a child's amazing what you are. I thank you very much for the opportunity that you have given me to find out more about you and your extraordinary talent, and I am sure that many more interviews will follow for you.
Thank you very much , Maestro Liuzzi for your generosity in offering me this great opportunity.
It has been a great honor for me to answer your questions , I really hope that in the future there will be a chance to play together.