Tobias Hug is the Artistic Director of the Vocalmente A Cappella Musica Festival. We’ve met him and here is what he told us.
You were born in a family where music has always been important. So now, what is music for you?
Music is a way of communicating without words. It’s a high level of communication because it’s direct and it doesn’t flow through the head. It’s a way of connecting with other musicians and with the audience.
You are both a musician and the festival artistic director. Which role do you prefer?
Both equally, really. Because, as I said, for me music is connecting and it’s beautiful to do it. Yes, probably singing is my first vocation, but to make something happening is incredible and if you have a team of people that have the same philosophy, people that share the same passion then is fantastic! Vocalmente is a place that proofs that with the right people you can achieve great things! I am so happy to have found the Fondazione Fossano Musica team.
Why Vocalmente is a unique festival?
First of all because it’s a big event in Fossano, so you have the feeling that the all town is excited about it and this is unusual in other festivals. I did the London a cappella festival and nobody cared. It feels good to be in London but you could be everywhere. Also, all the other festivals are in northern Europe, so the character is different: the kind of music, the music aesthetics… they have a Germanic choir and so you can really hear the difference in the Mediterranean. Also, here the atmosphere is warmer, more emotional, more sensual. It’s a cliché, maybe, but everybody just wants to come. They want to have wine in the piazza and have a concert in a medieval castle. You might be used to such beauties, but in the rest of the would they would be considered a Unesco Heritage! For somebody who comes for the first time here is amazing. Being in a castle singing until late at night, it’s an experience not just a festival.
How does this influence the music?
How can I explain this… for me is almost like a different colour. Northern music is blue and here is red. In the north, for instance, they sing without vibrato, they have a different folk music, different taste. Often when you here a choir you can tell where it comes from.
I imagine you having a platonic an idea of the perfect festival. How much of it is happening in Vocalmente?
We have included a lot of things: there is Acacasa, an amazing program; we have the best teachers in the world, so the level is incredible. Then Vocalmente land, the loop station competition. Of course there is no limit to ideas and for me they go into 3 ways: one is to have the people in Fossano benefit more from the festival, so for us to be even more involved with the town life; the other is to go out and have the connection with a German choir station since there is a big potential for music tourism. We are one of the major vocal events in southern Europe, so we should make it possible for more people to come. And the third way is about the creativity! There are a lot of festivals with concerts and workshops, but I think Vocalmente can be a place where we can experiment and support creativity in different forms.
Now, about the area. Did you have the chance to visit it?
I usually come with my family so we went to the Langhe, to Torino, but this year I am going to climb Monviso. But I really like Fossano, the town is fantastic! Everything that you want is in the old town, you don’t really have to leave the centre. Also, I love mountains so for me is great to have them all around. Oh, and of course the food is great.
Do you have anything to say to people who will read this?
Get involved, come to the concerts, take part into Acacasa, come as volounteers…take part as you feel like, but it is important for Vocalmente to have its roots in Fossano. That what makes it special!