A Journey with Elgar

A CULTURAL AMBASSSADOR FOR BRITAIN AND ITS MUSIC

Albanian born Alda Dizdari’s passion for things English echoes that of Byron’s – a love affair with an adopted country and its best music and culture.

England is more than Alda’s home for the past 10 years. She says that British values, way of life, culture, liberal thinking and democracy are qualities she loves about her adopted home. And for her as a passionate musician, Elgar’s music is the heart of England.

“If I bring Elgar’s music alive and the English countryside visible to the eyes of every person I play to, be that in Albania, Poland, Russia or Romania, then my mission is completed. Everybody must have some Elgar in their life!”

English values are worth living and fighting for she says and musically she is a great promoter of the essence of everything English exemplified by the music of Edward Elgar.

Following her travels with this piece around Eastern Europe, Alda is releasing a memoire entitled “Kiss me again, a diary of Elgar in unusual places”, recording the journey with the music of Elgar in some unusual unbeaten tracks of Eastern Europe. Much more than just a book about music, this is a journey that blazes a trail through time and explores Alda’s relationship with her dramatic past, the world she left behind as a young girl in Albania and later as a young woman in Romania. Elgar is the meeting point of her past and her present and a confirmation of her accomplishments as a musician and human being.

In her words: “This concerto is a symphony with a soloist. My dream is to perform and to have people not commenting on my playing but just recognising the power and beauty of Elgar’s music.

And how is her love of Elgar received in Eastern Europe? Alda says:

“I have had no difficulty sharing this great love of mine with people that knew nothing about British music.

Because of his love of music and the violin Elgar speaks to this still largely rural people. His evocation of land and water and nature, forests and mountains in his music get to them in ways that amazed me. If you play his music with passion, sincerity and complete commitment, the audiences everywhere in Eastern Europe respond. They understand, they connect, they get it! Nothing can be as exciting as that for an artist. I suppose it is a little like introducing a new lover to your parents. You so want them to like each other. And when you see that they do and more than like, then one is a little overwhelmed with happiness.”

Alda Dizdari, is described by music critics and press as: “a remarkable talent,” a tremendous performer with “vivid imagination, brilliant playing,” who has come to the international scene in the most unpredictable and interesting way and in the recent years has emerged onto the British musical scene as one of the most beautiful and charismatic personalities. She is also an inspirational teacher working at the highest level, such as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Purcell School of Music.

Born in Albania during the years of the Hoxha dictatorship, she was nurtured by her musician parents and followed in their footsteps. She fell in love with the violin at the age of 5 and started learning the instrument.

It is no surprise that her talent was spotted by other musicians and music teachers and she was offered a fellowship to go and complete a Masters Degree in the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with the distinguished violinist Sherban Lupu. In two years she won all the major competitions in and surrounding Illinois, including Krennert Centre Debut Artist of the Year and recorded her first CD. She won a scholarship to complete a Performing Diploma at the Juilliard School of Music in New York but upon recommendation from important inspirational figures in her life, she turned down this offer and decided to move to London instead to study with one of the greatest teachers at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, David Takeno.

She was the recipient of the Leverhulme Fellowship Award and was invited to Lead the famous and one of the oldest String Quartets in Britain, The Allegri String Quartet, while still a Fellow at the Guildhall.

She soon discovered a solo career was the path for her and continued pursuing it with important debuts at the Wigmore Hall, also releasing a very successful live CD from this concert, other debuts followed, at the Southbank Centre, Cadogan Hall but even more important for her international career was the appearance as a soloist with the Radio Television Symphony Orchestra of Albania, making their debut in the UK in Canterbury Cathedral in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minster of Albania.