I have recently had the opportunity of being present at Cecilia Ziano's and Maria Grazia Bellocchio's concert (violinist and pianist, respectively), within the events of the festival “Auditions at the Museum” organized by the Stradivari Foundation in Cremona. It was a very interesting and long-awaited concert: I felt enthusiastic about hearing a young and talented musician playing Antonio Stradivari's Il Cremonese violin. After the successful event, I met Cecilia, who was extremely kind and this is the interview carried out by e-mail: GENZINI: Cecilia, your soloist career has started really well; how is your life going? ZIANO: I have been living in Berlin for 2 years and have been studying both at Music Hochschule “Hans Eisler” with maestro Koija Blacher and in Cremona with maestro Salvatore Accardo who, I must admit, is one of the few high level personalities who is genuinely young people oriented in Italy. I have been lucky ever since I was a child, as I have always had excellent teachers, starting from Suzuki School in Turin, where my teacher Fabrizio Pavone began a serious and steady educational path when I was 4. Very soon I had the chance of travelling a lot all over the world and so I got to know situations different from mine. This made me receptive to all that could enrich me and absolutely represented the best start. Then, I got my diploma at Turin Conservatoire with Christine Anderson, a person and a teacher of great value. At the same time, I studied with Adrian Pinzaru and Dora Schwarzberg for 7 years. Later, I met maestro Salvatore Accardo and maestro Blacher, who are still my teachers. Seriousness and intellectual honesty are probably the most important values all of them have handed down to me and which make me carry on despite my moments of extreme tiredness (due to lots of concerts, travels, not enough sleep) and difficulty , intermingled with my moments of success and happiness. I am now living a very strange, but unique period. I have just realized that culture is not considered in Italy; young people cannot study, do research or grow, probably because culture is not considered as highly as a “big brother” or a soap opera whatsoever. Therefore, though I am Italian and know the potentials of my country, I have to leave it. Now that I live in Germany, I can easily say that there are a lot of straightforward things, which could be changed for the better if their German equivalents are imitated. Unfortunately, every time I am back I see that it is the ordinary Italians' mentality which has to be radically changed. One day, I hope, I will come back to Italy without getting angry. I know there are millions of young people who share my point of view and hope this will become Italy's strength. Culture is our only weapon of advance. GENZINI: What features should a good violin have, in your opinion? ZIANO: I think a good violin should have two main features: good sound and projection. I sometimes play violins which have either of these features, but, maybe, this is not enough. I am currently playing a copy of an Amati model made of a very ancient wood by violinmaker and friend Gabriele Natali from Pistoia. I feel perfectly at ease, because the instrument is not only aesthetically beautiful, but it is also very easy to play, it is really “my own violin”. I know it very well and I used it in all of the most important concerts of mine. GENZINI: What can you say about the strings? ZIANO: I use a mix of strings made of coated guts for G and D and synthetic strings for A and E. GENZINI: You have recently played one of the most important violins in the world, “Il Cremonese” by Antonio Stradivari. What were your feelings? ZIANO: While you are playing the Stradivari 1715 , you feel part of history. It is incredible to think of who made it, how old it is and how wonderful it still is today. It was a strong emotion and a privilege. While I was playing it, it was as if one of the most beautiful human voices came out. It was easy and it seemed tailor-made for me from the very beginning. I think there lies the magic of this instrument, I had never had such a feeling when I played other Stradivari violins. GENZINI: Which bow did you use when you played the Stradivari 1715? ZIANO: A bow made by Bergeron from Lyon. GENZINI: What are your future engagements? ZIANO: I will tour in Belgium, Italy and Germany with recitals and concerts for chamber music.