The Magadino International organ music Festival
Magadino and its parish church held this organ festival for the first time on Saturday June 22, 1963.
Marcel Dupré, in one of the last of his concerts, opened the show before a large, waiting and dignified audience.
These were still times when people went to a concert in their best attire and you did not applaud in churches. To compensate for the lack of applause during the concert, the idea of warmly welcoming the performers on the church square at the end of the concert started from Magadino itself.
The atmosphere of the church also suffered from this constraint: the pieces were announced by placards carried by children dressed as altar boys and girls.
The brilliant success of that first edition was that the organizers found the motivation and stimulus to continue the experience which has now lasted for almost 50 years.
The first edition of our festival was held at a baptism, later by the cited maestro Dupré, by Luigi Favini of Magadino, by Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, by Victor Togni (who prematurely passed away in 1965 at only 30 years old), by Gaston Litaize, by Alessandro Esposito, by Hans Vollenweider and by Fernando Germani.
And on that occasion the First International Prize for an organ composition was announced: “Gambarogno – Lago Maggiore 1964” [‘Gambarogno – Lake Maggiore 1964’], organized by the Circolo di Cultura del Gambarogno [Gambarogno cultural circle] and by the then Pro Gambarogno.
The Magadino organ festival began a very rich human experience for its sponsors (the maestro Carlo Florindo Semini, Reverend Aldo Lanini, Manfredo Patocchi – who then presided over the Circolo di Cultura – Eros Ratti, President of the then Pro Gambarogno and Federico Alluisetti: contacts with personalities of different cultural extraction and different practices – who are taken by the frenetic artistic activity, who are enthused by the landscape,who are subject to the political provisions of their countries of origin and who are however hindered by too many commitments and bureaucracy which derive from these.
Despite the commitment of a large organization, the anxiety about things which only worked at the last moment and concerns to reconcile the artistic requirement with the festival’s available funds, the enthusiasm and joy of keeping the events on time never got lost.
And during this long journey it was comforting to be able to count on the appreciation and collaboration gathered from the public authorities and the population of Gambarogno.
On November 15, 1985 the constituent assembly approved the constitution of the Magadino International Organ Music Festival Association and so ensured the necessary continuity for this Magadino institution.
Since then, the organ festival has known to constantly renew itself proposing to keep interests alive via enterprising ways and opportunities.
The concerts are enriched by a guiding theme and organ interpretation courses and competitions have even been organized by introducing the maestros Guy Bovet and Paolo Crivellaro to the artistic committee.
A small country, Magadino, a small organ, but constantly and diligently being improved and extended by the initial good stock of Italian organ tradition; a great festival, which thanks to its international nature and to the frequent images and broadcasts by RSI [Swiss television] is well known almost worldwide.
The Mascioni organ is currently composed of 44 registers and was recently equipped with a display which enables up to 999 levels to be selected.
A great festival which is prepared to celebrate its “Golden wedding” in 2012 and which we are continuing to wish a joyful success and long life again.