The project VIOLANET – European Viola da Gamba Network is a European network of universities and institutes of higher musical education aiming to create educational curricula for the Viola da Gamba, strengthening the skills of students, promoting innovative teaching methods and tools for teachers, enhancing cooperation between European universities, disseminating music for viola da gamba through concerts, video recordings, open lectures and conferences. The main result of the VIOLANET project is the enhancement of the knowledge of the Viola da Gamba as part of the European cultural heritage, through the dissemination of the works of violist composers, often little known to the general public, thanks to dissemination activities.
The starting point of the project was the positive experience of the “Giornata italiana della Viola da Gamba” (born in 2011 at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole and awarded the medal of the Presidency of the Republic), which over the years has managed to create a fruitful network of contacts and exchanges in Italy, between teachers and students, between musicians and instrument manufacturers, between professionals and amateurs, to the point of becoming a reference event for experts.
The project is promoted by the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole (Italy) and involves the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague (Netherlands) the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon (France), the Université Mozarteum in Salzburg (Austria), the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Vigo (Spain) and the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar (Germany).
Teachers from all the organisations involved took part in the transnational training activity and will contribute together to the creation of common guidelines for the definition of innovative paths and methodologies for the teaching of the Viola da Gamba. Their universities and higher education institutions have set up specialisation workshops within their university curricula and organised mixed mobility for students. During these mobilities, musicians from each partner country give specific training and in-depth master classes for Viola da Gamba. Each partner has promoted dissemination events, through concerts and public lectures, in order to raise awareness of the value of early music as an invaluable part of European cultural heritage.
The project proposal finds its raison d’être in the peculiarities that characterise the learning paths for the Viola da Gamba: to give just one example, in Italy, among more than 50 conservatories and AFAM Institutes there are only 12 classes of this instrument, and this situation is common to the whole Europe. Teachers therefore find it difficult to exchange views with colleagues on methodologies, orientations and didactic innovation applicable to the teaching of this instrument, outside the orchestra circuit and specific meetings, while students struggle to find opportunities to test their skills in the field. The creation of this European Network responds to this “fragile” condition by proposing a context of exchange, collaboration and mutual enrichment for teachers, student musicians and professionals. The network cooperates in the definition of innovative teaching methods for the teaching and dissemination of knowledge, the training of trainers, the realisation of events and the elaboration of joint curricula in order to promote the homogenisation, comparability and correlation of contents and curricula at European level.
The activation of a Digital Resource Centre is an important and permanent contribution to the training and updating of teachers and student musicians, a common platform where to find contents, materials, information on authors, works, historical sources and modern editions of solo works for Viola da Gamba, constituting the “place” of comparison and exchange of knowledge and know-how related to music education and related professions, with a view to strengthening, consolidating and transferring the network at European and international level.
The project presents itself as an integrated set of initiatives, aimed at achieving the following objectives