The Music School of Delaware will launch a new "Cultural Crossroads" series this Sunday that starts with an in-depth immersion into Italian culture.

The Music School of Delaware will launch its new "Cultural Crossroads" series Sunday afternoon with music and workshops celebrating all things Italian.

The program, also called "Sprezzatura,"will also includes three free 20-minute seminars:

Italian Folk Dance:Learn basic steps of the tarantella, an Italian folk dance. During the concert, volunteers can dance a tarantella onstage accompanied by the Music School's faculty guitar trio.Italian Cuisine: Learn to create authentic Italian coffee and salad dressing. Workshop to be led by Simeone Tartaglione, conductor of the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Italian Language: Learn easy and practical Italian phrases.Following the hour-long cultural immersion, guests will then be rewarded with an hour-long concert courtesy of the Faculty Guitar Trio. The group will perform a diverse set of Italian music, including a set of Italian Renaissance pieces from the 14th and 16th centuries; the theme from the classic " The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" and an original tarantella composed by guitar faculty members Chris Braddock and Doug Seth.

Continuing the performance will be a group of vocalists presenting scenes from three famous Italian operas.One highlight of the concert features the performance of Niccolo Paganini's "Caprices for Solo Violin" by violinist Alessandra Cuffaro. Originally published in 1819, these pieces are a mainstay of violin repertoire, written to exploit nearly every technical challenge of the instrument.

Cuffaro notes that playing Paganini's 24 Caprices is "similar to what an athlete goes through in the 100-meter dash, but 24 times over." She suggests someone new to the Caprices should be ready for everything.

"Each [piece] is beautiful and each expresses different personalities in seconds. They are very dramatic and walk through the feeling and emotion of Paganini," Cuffaro said.

Organizers haven't forgotten the art of Italy either.In addition to the music, concert-goers can enjoy a visual interpretation of the Caprices by artist Mario Passarello, of Agrigento, Italy. For this exhibition, 22 digital prints and two original paintings have been paired with the corresponding musical score.

"His colors and painting are about emotion," Cuffaro said. "There is a dreamy feeling to his work and what the music gives to him."

As an added bonus, Tutto Fresco Italian Restaurant will offer a $40 three-course dinner that will begin at 5:30 p.m., and benefit the school. To make reservations for dinner, call (302) 762-9094.


The Music School of Delaware, founded in 1924, is the only statewide, accredited, community music school in the nation, serving residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. A community resource open to the public, the Music School employs nearly 100 expert educators and offers standard-setting instructional programs for people of all ages and levels. In addition, over 75 public performances each year, many of them free, offer opportunities to enjoy outstanding music in a variety of styles and genres. A financial assistance program is available to ensure music excellence for everyone.