Jacobs School of Music student, Carlo Fierens, to perform in Armenia

Carlo Fierens

Carlo Guillermo Fierens is a doctoral student in the Jacobs School of Music. Courtesy photo.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

The Jacobs School of Music‘s reputation reaches as far as Finale Ligure, Italy.

For doctoral student Carlo Fierens, he knew he wanted to fly the 4,800 miles to attend Indiana University for its music school.

“I was looking for a Doctorate in music performance and of course Jacobs School is the top choice for every musician,” he said. “This school is simply amazing. The faculty, the facilities … I was really honored to be accepted in such a wonderful program. I find this program challenging and thrilling in so many ways. I think I can learn a lot with such a great guitar professor and the top level faculty for academic subjects.”

Fierens said music was a natural part of his family.

“My father, Guillermo, is an accomplished classical guitarist,” he said. “I was listening to classical music and especially to guitar music all day long when I was a kid, it was literally everywhere around me. So for me, it was very natural at some point to pick up guitar and start playing it, and it was very natural to start studying it with my father.”

Fierens first started studying guitar with his father, an internationally celebrated musician.

“I would say that my whole idea of what guitar is has its roots in his playing and his mentoring me,” he said. “I never had proper ‘lessons’ with him. Rather, it was closer to what a masterclass is. I was studying a piece on my own and then playing it for him to get his advice and suggestions. We would discuss, as we still do, about music and guitar very often, sharing our thoughts.

“Since I had him at home, I didn’t have any other guitar professor until much later in my career. He was also very wise in not pushing me to play the instrument. He let it be my choice and this is the reason why my guitar development was maybe even slower than usual but, in a way, more solid and conscious.”

Performing as an art form

Fierens said the guitar allows him to connect with his audiences no matter where he plays or who he plays for.

“Playing guitar is not always fun,” he said. “It can be frustrating as it is always a new challenge. But maybe that’s the thing I enjoy more. Music always asks us to push our limits and give it all we have. Each time I play guitar I feel blessed because I feel I’m communicating something to people, connecting them with what I’m doing and with the emotions that are in every piece of music. The moment when you get on a stage is a wonderful moment, full of tension and creative power; it is for those kind of moments that we musician work so hard daily, and it is absolutely rewarding.”

Fierens is no stranger to performing for an audience. At 16, he performed his first solo concert and has continued ever since.

He has performed worldwide, including countries such as Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, and Argentina.

On Friday, Oct. 16, Fierens left for Yerevan, Armenia where he will play a concert today at the Arno Babajanyan concert hall, one of the most prestigious venues in the country for chamber music. Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia.

His awards

In 2010, as the winner of the special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece at the Cervo Music Competition, he was invited to play a concert at the Chamber Music Festival in Cervo, Italy. In 2013, he won the Italian National Prize for the Arts, a prize awarded by the Ministry of Education to the best music student of the year. As a result, he performed a tour of concerts in 2014, including a gala evening for the Minister of Education in Rome, Italy.

His other awards include:

  • First prize at the international guitar competition, Alirio Diaz, in Rome, Italy
  • First prize at the international music competition, Carlo Mosso, in Alessandria, Italy
  • First prize at the international music competition, Art Music and Talent, in Vicenza, Italy
  • First prize at the music competition, Carlo Agrati, in Milano, Italy
  • First prize at the international competition, Italian Festival
  • First prize at the national comeptition for musicans, Citta di Ortona
  • First prize at the national competition, Citta di Cantalupa
  • First prize at the national competition, Riviera della Versilia

Though Fierens enjoys performing, there is one piece he particularly enjoys.

“Playing for an audience, either big or small, is always something very special, a real gift,” he said. “But I think for me getting to perform the Concierto de Aranjuez, the most famous work for guitar and orchestra, with orchestra on several occasions, was something memorable. It’s a wonderful piece of music, so loved by the audience. And playing with orchestra gives to guitar a whole new dimension.”

Playing in Armenia

“I’m really happy and honored about this opportunity,” he said. “Last year, I won an important competition in Italy that was held by the ministry of education in Italy to choose the best music students of the country. As a consequence, I was chosen to represent Italian music in Armenia for the ‘international week of Italian language and culture’ event which is held yearly in October. The Italian Embassy invited me and I’m very happy to go there not only as an Italian guitarist but also as a Jacobs School of Music student.”

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