Aspen’s Emanuele Tozzi to play farewell concert |

Aspen’s Emanuele Tozzi to play farewell concert

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Published: Stewart Oksenhorn The Aspen Times

CARBONDALE – Regarding his upcoming relocation to New York City, Emanuele Tozzi, who has lived in Aspen the last two and a half years, brings up the words of Machiavelli, the 15th century Italian writer.

“As Machiavelli said in ‘The Prince’ – 50 percent of our life is made upon our decisions; 50 percent is the unpredictable,” the 34-year-old said. “So we have the duty to make our own decisions.

“There’s still time to fight. I’m not in that spot yet, ready to settle into a place. I still have things to discover, and use music as a way to decodify the environment.”

Just as Tozzi, a composer, pianist and singer, plans to explore his next home through music, he will also say goodbye to the valley in song. Tozzi leaves with a concert on Saturday, April 24, at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale. The show will feature Tozzi singing 13 of his original songs, backed by Chris Bank on guitar and saxophone, and John Michel on drums.

And there will be more than music. Tozzi is also a filmmaker, who typically works with his twin brother, Lorenzo, as well as a third partner, Maria Elena Rosati. The performance at Steve’s will feature two films: “A Dog’s Life,” an eight-minute work about a dog who, come summer vacation time, is abandoned on the side of a road; and “Books to Escape,” a multiple prize-winner that focuses on Mafia criminals, convicted to life sentences, and finding solace in the library of a maximum-security prison. Tozzi, a former lawyer, said the film explores notions of criminals’ rights, the death penalty, and the culture of the Mafia.

One of Tozzi’s songs, “Shalom,” will be performed as a video is screened. The video is titled “Goodbye Goodbye Berlin,” which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“I want the new generation not to forget what it was about,” Tozzi said of the events of the autumn of 1989, which led to the collapse of Communism in Europe. “That people were like stuck in a prison, couldn’t get out. They used so many different ideas to escape, to go to the freedom side. And then one day, it just happens. And it was just a political decision, based on the communication between the U.S. and Russia.”

While Tozzi’s work contains elements of Jewish culture, rights of prisoners and freedom, the strongest touchstone is his Italian heritage. Tozzi was born and raised in Italy, and his time in Aspen – “a beautiful experience,” he said – hasn’t taken the Italian out of him. It’s no accident that he uses Machiavelli to illuminate his reasons for moving on – he plans to spend the summer in Italy before heading to New York in late August – or that tomorrow’s concert is titled “Destino” – Italian for “destiny.”

He uses another Italian, filmmaker Federico Fellini, to shed light on the music he makes. “It’s the vibe of Italian, French style of the ’50s and ’60s,” Tozzi said, who speaks almost as much with his hands as with his mouth. “You see a lot of pictures in the music – something that would be very close to Fellini’s mind, that kind of world. Fellini had a sensual way to approach his movies, and a little melancholic as well. And this is me, too.

“It’s in our DNA to see beauty, and not just aesthetic beauty, but inspirational. There’s a phrase – e bello cio che piace. It means ‘beautiful, as you like it.’ It’s beauty outside aesthetic perfection. It’s the soul of the beauty that makes a difference, that is essential.”

Tozzi says that his experiences in America – including a year in Houston as a high school exchange student – have made a difference in his artistic make-up.

“The way Americans approach freedom – it’s unique, and extraordinary. And beautiful. How one person’s freedom stops where another person’s freedom starts,” he said. “That’s very clear in this country. This country has the capacity to make practical this concept of freedom. That’s not going to happen in any other country.”

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