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Isabella Plays with Ideas

I was intrigued by her analysis of how music was used by colonial power to usurp the identity and culture of the colonized, or rather the attempt to do so.

By Ayodele Hippolyte - ayodele@citizenbrooklyn.com Hair Make-Up/Akira Flume Photos ©Icarus Blake

Black Flavia V-Neck Dress in Stretch Jersey with Layered Wrap-Around Waist Detail and Drape Skirt By Costello Tagliapietra photo © Icarus Blake

I was not prepared for the torrent of talent and intellectual force that came rushing out of Isabella Abbonizio when we met for our interview. Accompanied by her mother, Isabella appeared almost child-like and her diminutive frame made it easy for my mind to cast her as a young girl arriving for a music lesson clutching her guitar. My mind could not have been more off target. An accomplished performer and published scholar, Isabella Abbonizio is the very antithesis of the music student.

This Ph.D. in Musicology from the Tor Vergata University of Rome has been studying and playing the guitar since she was eight. “I had a wonderful teacher who taught me how producing sound was such a delicate art that you mastered with your fingers”, Isabella enthused as she played a few chords to show me what she meant. Isabella has been passing on this ‘delicate art’ as a professional music and guitar teacher slotmaskiner online for the last ten years in both Italy and the United States. Having moved to New York a year and half ago, Isabella is also on the faculty of the Harlem School of the Arts and the Music School of New York City.

Now a visiting scholar at NYU’s Centre for European and Mediaterranean Studies, Isabella explained to me that “music is really tied to politics and culture” and is not an art form “just out there in the air”. I was intrigued by her analysis of how music was used by colonial power to usurp the identity and culture of the colonized, or rather the attempt to do so. I asked Isabella if her theoretical study of music informed how she played and she replied by patting her chest and said emphatically, “No, it all comes from here”.

Black Flavia V-Neck Dress in Stretch Jersey with Layered Wrap-Around Waist Detail and Drape Skirt By Costello Tagliapietra photo © Icarus Blake

Isabella told me that she is moving to Brooklyn soon and is just thrilled by the idea. “It’s so young and filled with artists and creative people. It reminds me of a town, Il Pigneto, back home in Italy”. She already has Brooklyn ties as a Brooklyn Guitar Quartet member, a new group that she joined with some friends she made from the New York Classical Guitarist Society. They’ve performed at high schools in Brooklyn playing hip and modern pieces that the kids really enjoy. And the plan is to do more, getting kids excited about guitar music.

As I listen to Isabella play Roland Dyens’s Tango en skai, with her eyes closed and fingers moving as if by magic, I am reminded of how inspiring the truly inspired human being can be and it’s even more beautiful when the source of that inspiration is music.

One Response to “Isabella Plays with Ideas”

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