A career in music: exclusive interview with Daniela Carapelli

Tenured Professor of Piano since 1975, Daniela Carapelli taught in the Conservatories of Cosenza, Alessandria, and Turin until 2018. She has won many national and international competitions, has performed in concerts for important music associations, and has recorded for the major radio/TV networks in Europe.

At the Accademia di Musica Daniela Carapelli teaches pre-academic and advanced courses in piano, as well as holding masterclasses during the Musica d'Estate summer courses. As part of our section A Career in Music, we interviewed him to ask what advice he would give to our students, who are set to become the future generation of music professionals.  


What were the key experiences that marked your development and training as a musician? At what time of your life did they take place? Why were they significant?

Of course it’s hard to choose between so many important experiences, but I have particularly intense memories of the time I spent at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, studying with Maestro Guido Agosti: I was still very young and the environment of this school was perfect for me, satisfying all my curiousity, my doubts and my thirst for musical knowledge. Every day was a “full-immersion” in music: we began in the morning, never knowing when the Maestro would call us for our lesson (we had three every week), took a brief break for lunch, then there were courses all afternoon till it was time for dinner. In the evenings we had to practise. It was absolutely wonderful and so stimulating to sit in on the lessons of all the other students, during which the Maestro would take incredible pains to explain to us the details and the infinite subtleties of the piece of music being studied.


Can you describe one or two turning points in your career? What impact did they have on your career? Why were they important?

I think one key moment was at the beginning of my career when I was asked by a trio, with only three days’ notice, to take the place of their pianist, who was unable to perform with them at an international competition. I was very hesitant about it, but then I decided to accept. Surprisingly, considering the situation, we won the First Prize for the whole competition. This certainly convinced me that I could believe in myself and encouraged me to continue on my path with confidence and passion.

Corso triennale di perfezionamento in pianoforte tenuto da Daniela Carapelli


Often our mistakes teach us important lessons. If you could go back in time in your career what would you do differently?

If I could turn back time I don’t believe I would do anything very differently, but I think that there were times when it would have been a help to me to be able to discuss music with other musicians. In my opinion, sharing and comparing ideas enables you to broaden your outlook on life, because talking and listening to others with respect and empathy allows us to form solid connections, both in our working relationships and in our personal lives.


Along a musician’s career path there are always many important decisions to be made and these often depend on and result from the opportunities that are offered to them. What helped you to stay focused and not to lose sight of your goals?

Respect, honour, passion, family: I think these have always been the 4 key values in my life. Respect towards people and things, but, first and foremost, towards myself, so that I never gave in to temptation in situations that often turned out later to be false hopes. Honour sounds like an outdated virtue, something from the distant past, but it is actually an essential value that is being lost in today’s world, where disloyalty, double dealing and scheming seem to be the order of the day. I have always tried to be a person who did not need to resort to underhand tactics to achieve a goal, to achieve the result I was seeking for. The passion that I have always felt for music and my firm belief that working with passion is the guarantee of a better outcome: this is what has enabled me to find the courage to strive to reach my goals, despite all the difficulties on my path. Last but not least, my family, who have always been my mainstay, supporting me with love and understanding even in my moments of greatest difficulty.


Apart from studying with great passion and dedication, what advice would you give to young musicians who are starting out on a career in music?

Listen to your own feelings and instincts, listen to what your emotions tell you, and approach music with great humility. Be aware that being a pianist and a musician is not a profession, but a philosophy, a concept of life, which cannot be based only on your good intentions, or your natural talent. Above all else, it requires an immense spirit of sacrifice.



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