At the heart of the International Cultural Centre of Hammamet in Tunisia, the press conference was inaugurated by the Tunisian representatives of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Veritable support for the emerging Medinea network (MEDiterranean INcubator of Emerging Artists), the institutional organisations recalled the context and the objectives of this cooperation. An introduction which highlighted Medinea, a network of Mediterranean musical institutions initiated and run by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in conceived for the training of young artists in an intercultural context.
Mounira Mnif, Director of the International Cultural Centre of Hammamet – member of this growing network – welcomed the participants to this intercultural creation session handing the floor over to Fabrizio Cassol and Zied Zouari, overseeing and intervening in this session, to present in more detail, the continuity and the content of the two weeks of training.
Twelve young artists coming from Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia and Turkey are preparing to live a rich experience of sharing and of intercultural musical creation. It is the mission of these intercultural creation sessions which bring together a great diversity of musical aesthetics and of Mediterranean expression and play host to all styles of music calling for improvisation (jazz, traditional music, early music…). Selected at the end of an audition tour in countries on the edge of the Mediterranean, these young male and female musicians have an important experience in musical improvisation, or indeed in composition and are orienting their careers to become professional artists.
It is the composer and jazzman Fabrizio Cassol who directs the intercultural creation sessions. Pedagogue and musician experienced in improvisation, he leads since 2015 at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence these work sessions giving birth every summer to a shared musical creation. For this session in Hammamet, Zied Zouari, a Tunisian violinist from Sfax, has been invited for a few days to intervene and transmit his experience to the musicians.
Up until 31 March, young instrumentalists and singers are going to take part in improvisation and composition workshops and experience all together and in small groups the techniques of collective writing. They will share their musical cultures and will bring into resonance voice, stringed instruments (double bass, guitar, oud – Arabic lute – violin, cello), woodwind (ney – Turkish flute – saxophone, trumpet) and percussion to create a unique musical production. The young Mediterranean artists will perform for two concerts of public restitution: 29 March at the International Cultural Centre of Hammamet and the 30 March at the Ennejjma Ezzahra Palace at Sidi Bou Said.
Three other intercultural creation sessions are organised by the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra in collaboration with Medinea : in Istanbul (Turkey) in April, in Aix-en-Provence in July at the heart of the Festival and then in Nuoro (Italy) in August. In France, you can hear the collective creation resulting from their session in Aix at the restitution concert on the 18 July in the courtyard of the Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède.
— Could you please tell us about your musical training and background, which are completely atypical?
I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I started out by [...]