Interview with Matteo De Luca

Posted by Simon Minshall on 21 January 2013 | Comments

Tags: , , ,

In this interview, I wanted to dive outside the UK and speak to the current Principal Trombone of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Matteo De Luca.

 What age were you when you got involved in music and how did this come about?

‘I was age 9 in attending elementary school and some classmates of mine started to attend the music classes in our village's band, and I decided to join them. At the time, music was not my priority and I didn’t even know which instrument I wanted to play. I was chosen by the teachers to play the trombone, which worked out great as the trombone teacher for the band was just finishing his studies at the conservatory in Milan. I got to hear the instrument played properly and this inspired me more to play.’

 Were there any other elements that inspired to you play, in addition to the band?

‘I do remember another trombone player in the band, who gave me a recording of ‘Trombone Recital’ by Michel Bequet. Thanks to that CD I made the choice to study trombone seriously in further education, and Michel Becquet influenced my playing a lot. Of course, later on I discovered all the soloists of my instrument, Christian Lindberg, Joseph Alessi, and all who promoted solo trombone playing. I began attending concerts by the La Scala Philharmonic. This started to make me think more about what I wanted to do with music; the answer was playing in an orchestra.’

 So jumping forward slightly, where and who with did you study?

‘After completing my studies in Milan, I went on to study in Novara, a town near Turin, for one year at the conservatory under Maestro Corrado Colliard. I then went to Switzerland and received my ‘Soloist Master’ from the Haute Ecole de Musique, Geneva. My teacher at the time was Andrea Bandini. And he was a tremendous source of inspiration, both as a person and musician. Its thank to him that I am doing well in my career now.’

 Where did your passion for orchestral playing begin, and what experiences did you have to contribute to your career so far?

‘I completed my first audition when I was 17 and it proved successful, with the symphony orchestra of my region. At the time, I had no idea of what it was like to work in an orchestra, and unfortunately conservatories in Italy did not give us the opportunity to play in youth orchestras or conservatories orchestras, so my professional rehearsal skills were learnt very quickly.

An amazing experience I had was participating in the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, where I was member for 3 years. In the orchestra I got to play with some of the worlds best conductors and soloist, and thanks to that experience I decided to apply for job’s abroad. In Italy we have an incredible opera tradition, but I wanted to play in a symphony orchestra.’

 You talk about applying for jobs abroad. Where did this take you?

‘In 2009 I was on trial for the Principal Trombone with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, and in 2010-2011, for the same position with the Orchestra of Opera North in Leeds. I was actually offered the Principal Trombone position with the National Orchestra of Santiago of Chile in 2007 but I refused in order to continue my studies in Switzerland. Currently I am Principal Trombone of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva and have been since 2011., and in addition to this, I play as guest Principal Trombone with La Scala Philharmonic in Milan, the Italian Radio Orchestra and the Teatro Regio Orchestra in Turin. Other engagements include invitations to play as guest principal with the Porto National Orchestra and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.’

 In you opinion how does playing differ in Britian, and did you have to adapt anything when working in the UK?

‘The brass schooling in the UK is one of the strongest in Europe in my opinion. My experience in Britain has only been in London and Leeds, but after listening to many UK orchestras I think the level is very high. The main thing that impressed me most was the orchestra ability to sight-read. There are not many orchestras that sound so good in the first rehearsal. Speaking about the style of the trombones, it is clear to me the large role brass bands and how much they influence your orchestral and solo playing. Articulation is very clear, sounds warm and mellow, and dynamics are never too loud. To some up, I would define the playing as very efficient.

Referring to rehearsal length; it is extremely short! For new repertoire, sometimes the rehearsal time is a little short. With the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, we have at least three rehearsals for each program. On the other side, when I was on stage in the UK, the orchestras would play with so much energy.’

 Thank you for speaking about your career, and also giving some of your views on the differences in European and UK playing Matteo. 


This article can also be read in the British Trombone Magazine Spring Edition 2013