Model, Pianist and Entrepreneur. Let me add “Influencer” as well to your biography. Please tell us Who is Alida Altemburg and how this thrilling biography started
First of all thank you for inviting me to this interview and I renew my congratulations on the wonderful activities you are doing.
I also thank you for your introduction and I immediately reply to the firsts statements.
I was very young when I entered in the modelling world merely to be able to sustain studies at the university, while as a pianist, to be fair with you, I can only define myself as a great passionate, a passion to which I dedicate so many hours, but basically for a personal pleasure.
Reading this first introduction leads me to ask myself a further question: what is an influencer?
According to Wikipedia:
“There is a lack of consensus on what an influencer is. One writer defines them as “a series of third parties that exert influence on the organization and its potential customers”. Another defines an influencer as a “third party that significantly shapes the customer’s purchase decision but may never be responsible for it.”
According to another, influencers are “well connected, make an impact, have active minds and set trends”. And just because an individual has many followers doesn’t necessarily mean they have a lot of influence on those individuals, just that they have many followers “
In the world of Social Media, we are often confused when we refer to this type of personality.
An influencer should be the one who influences a circle of people around the topic they are talking about.
Unfortunately, however, the term “influencer” seems to have emptied of its real meaning.
Today everyone wants to have space and be in the middle of conversation in various areas and this triggers an unprecedented reaction on the internet since it is global in scope, creating a great “background noise”.
To emerge from this noise, contents are fundamental and it is certainly important to follow one’s passion and vocation, respecting the rules.
We all have a great responsibility when we put ourselves under the spotlights of Social Media’s stage.
I have always had a great love for classical music since I started playing the piano at the age of five and I know well enough to lead you to say that hard work is at the base, as is the technological field.
After graduating in New Media, in 2014 I worked in Australia for Google in Melbourne and for some startups as a content creator and programmer.
Back in Milan, I started to combine these two great passions of mine, technology and music, and I began to develop D Major Tv’s concept.
As I said before, we must be aware that nothing can be achieved without laboring and implementing shortcuts.
Just in reference to influencers, I would like to spend couple of words about the fact that buying fake followers and bots is not being an influencer, but simply “cheating on the solitaire” (cheating with yourself).
Building a project must be an act of love and will.
I don’t want to sound utopian, but I’m talking about what we constantly do every day together with the collaborators of D Major Tv: constant research of contents, planning and creating.
We are at work 24/7, we talk to the public and we keep our heads down.
I would like to thank Alberto Collini who takes care of video and editing, who really works with great passion.
Moreover, as D Major Tv is an independent project that talks about classical music to an international audience, we are interested in offering free and real contents.
We do not think of classical music as a product but as a form of art that must be freely accessible to all.
This is a concept far from the current reasoning of traditional record companies and mass media.
Today it is the online community that decides.
For this reason, I think that a concept and a thought can also be conveyed through the use of the image and personality. But once done, it becomes a common good.
We don’t buy followers to get a fake business card to bask in fake popularity.
I would like to send the message to musicians and your audience “Don’t buy followers!”.
Create on the web, experiment, expand your knowledge, there is a world out there that goes beyond all this.
I feel a mutual characteristic between us; urge to create. You are so ambitious in art and your broad-spectrum biography gives you finest perspectives compared to artists alone. Can we say D Major TV project is a product of such ambition ?
I agree with you. The urge to create, which is that inner movement that constantly pushes you to find solutions.
In the historical period we are facing, we have a great chance thanks to the web and we can use our imagination to reinvent the world we live in.
Each of us has this responsibility.
That’s why I wake up in the morning full of motivation and new ideas.
Today the artist has to get off their high horse, even in classical music, because there is an unprecedented offer with a very high-quality standard. There are lots of player in that game and there are no more myths and icons of the past.
Already the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould had sensed early for his time that the audience would become the artist. And today it is just like that.
I don’t think that ambition should be the only engine that drives us, but only the creative process itself.
Being part of a community and being aware of this, is the first step towards abandoning individualism.
That’s why we need to educate and understand the high impact of our presence on social media and the use of our “digital twin” that my dear friend the philosopher Prof. Derrick De Kerchove talks about, taking a cue from Dr.Michael Grieves.
And the coronavirus has accelerated this process.
Immersed as we are in a vastity of situations, we must look for “safe havens” where we can find quality information and, above all, contents free from secondary messages, especially in the world of art, where there are also too many political speculations, even in the world of Social Media.
The artist, the purest one, is free from all of this and has the ability to capture the present and transform it into beauty.
This is its task and even more with the new means of communication, the artist is called into the trenches to fight the trash that surrounds us.
We try to do our best that D Major Tv continue to stay a free and independent platform, offering real and valuable arguments of discussion in the field of classical music for the common good.
D Major TV was a project of respect from my side. It consumes ambition and devotion to continue such project and it well deserves a proper introduction. Please tell us every detail of this project including it’s misson of carrying classical music to hospitals, elder care houses.
D Major Tv was born from several experimentations and reaches its birth at the end of 2016.
If you take a look on our Facebook timeline the first post is dated January 2017, but I personally started doing Live Streaming with Periscope already in 2014, interviewing and playing the piano, telling the stories of greatest composers.
As we said, it all stems from a need, from a desire to share the beauty of classical music with everyone, especially with the z generations and the very young people, who are our future.
One piece at a time the project took shape in what you can see today: an active community of real people and classical musicians, passionate and interested.
When we started building this project and make live streamings of the concerts, we were teased and we were certainly seen as visionaries.
I have seen many doors shut down on my face, especially in Italy, where the mentality continues to be distrustful and suspicious to the new.
But that’s exactly what made me realize it was the right way.
Infact we have decided to address a worldwide audience and to continue without sponsors and to be supported solely by the public.
Of course it is much more difficult, I mean, we really never have our back covered, and every day is an achievement.
But I can assure you that little by little the first small and big satisfactions are coming!
We actively collaborate with orchestras from all over the world, universities and research centers.
As D Major Tv is a non-profit association, sharing is the basis.
And thanks to the associative activity we give a showcase to young musicians who by registering, can benefit from some dedicated services, including interviews, creation of websites and social media pages.
This is because often talented young people don’t have the time and the opportunity to tell about themselves on traditional media.
We also know that having a manager who follows social networks has a cost that not everyone can afford.
We also follow international festivals and competitions, such as “Suoni dal Golfo”, “Concorso Argento” and “Toscanini Prize” and before the arrival of the pandemic we went to the national and international territory collaborating with established realities, but also with innovative and newly situations, we shared live streaming concerts among the first to the world.
Another point that is part of our Statute of our association is to bring music to places of need, such as hospitals, rehab centers, shelters and elderly centers.
In this beautiful initiative I have to thank the international pianist Elizabeth Sombart, who for over 20 years has been carrying out a splendid humanitarian project, Fondation Resonnance, and who was one of the first people who gave us the right encouragement.
I myself started the music therapy activity at centers near Milan, where I met many people with serious problems twice a week and played the piano for them.
I always taken time to talk with the patietiens of the centers to hear their stories and many of them thanked me for the message of hope that came with classical music. I learned a lot from this experience.
Together with the associates of D Major Tv, we often go to elderly centers, to bring comfort to those I call “our grandparents”, we play for them and bring a real show, often in live streaming, where grandchildren and relatives can attend our musical performances from their computers or smartphone in long distance.
In this terrible time of the pandemic we cannot perform this service, which is totally free, for obvious reasons.
But we hope to be able to return to bring the joy of music to all those who suffer as soon as possible and I would like to expand the project to children with pathologies.
It is really important to do this, also because I think it is a way to give even more usefulness to the universal message of classical music.
From live streams to important subject, D Major TV stands unique at the competition. Tell us future plans and current projects you are engaging with D Major
There are many ideas that we are developing, also following the coronavirus, which has given the web a boost.
This year we really had an extraordinary parterre of guests in our live streaming, from Marin Alsop to Carlo Ponti, scientists such as Stavros Katsanevas of Ego/Virgo, the Sinfonia Toronto Orchestra, Christopher Russell, Donato Cabrera and also young artists from all over the world.
Surely D Major Tv always cares about sharing and solidarity.
What we are trying to do is to always be faithful to our mission, to carry out a service that continues to be useful for the disclousure of music.
We are currently carrying out a beautiful online contest dedicated to Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary.
Since concerts and festivals have been canceled, we decided to bring the Festival to people’s homes, with great protagonists of music but also young artists who want to get involved, paying homage to the legendary composer from Bonn.
During the beginning of the first wave of Covid-19 we inaugurated our first breaking news appointment called “D Major NEWS” a live streaming program dedicated only to classical music, with two appointments a week, where we tell what happens in the world of concerts in streaming from all over the world and the most touching stories of classical musicians, with a television journalistic slant that is enjoying good success.
We are also preparing some new interviews for the Christmas season, which unfortunately will still be in lockdown.
They will be extraordinary guests with us, which you will discover in a few days!
There is an interesting documentary about Glenn Gould broadcasted on D Major TV. Are you a fan of him? How did this project started and how did you met Brian Levine? Please tell us this interesting story.
Thank you for this question, that is really close to my heart.
The first time I listened to Glenn Gould I was eleven and my piano teacher, to help me understand Bach better (which I must tell you… I didn’t really like when I was a kid!) had given me a record of the “English Suites”, which were just part of my exams repertoire.
On the cover of the CD’s there was this beautiful boy, with a white shirt and tousled hair, sitting on this little chair, looked like the Marlon Brando of the piano.
When I put the record in the stereo player, I couldn’t believe my ears: was that really Bach?
In short, it was a musical love at first sight, that has never abandoned me.
From that moment Glenn Gould had entered my life and never left it.
In 2018, together with Alberto Collini, armed with a camera and a mike, we went to Toronto where we had the honor of interviewing Glenn Gould’s friends and collaborators, including Lorne Tulk, his sound engineer, Eric Till, director of CBC, John McGreevy, director and author of the famous “Glenn Gould’s Toronto” and many others including Verne Edquist, his historic tuner, of whom I have the last touching interview and to whom I had the honor of playing Bach for him on the piano.
On this journey, in addition to the testimonies, we have collected for the first time unreleased footage of Glenn Gould’s house and his apartment in St.Clair Avenue.
Moreover, since the documentary has become a digital archive, we haven’t stopped collecting testimonies from Gould’s collaborators and fans even remotely: this year we had Kevin Doyle as guest, the sound engineer who won two Grammy Awards with the Goldberg Variations and Siegried Idyll of Wagner (where Gould is in the guise of conductor) and Tim Maloney, Gould’s clarinetist, archivist of the National Library of Canada and writer of an essay on Glenn Gould and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Among Gould’s fans, surely the most important testimony was released by pianist Mike Garson who collaborated with David Bowie for many years.
An unmissable interview that I recommend you to watch, because you will discover an unexpected and true Glenn Gould fan.
Also Prof. Kevin Bazzana is often our guest, who is a true expert on Glenn Gould being the author of the book “Wondrous Strange” which I consider the Bible for all Gouldians!
I would like to say a few words separately for Mr. Brian Levine, Executive Director of The Glenn Gould Foundation, whom we met personally in Toronto and with whom we also actively collaborate for Glenn Gould’s birthday, an on-line event, that take place on 25 September each year, now in its fourth edition.
Brian is not only an extraordinary professional but after four years of acquaintance I can call him a dear friend.
I recommend to follow the activities of The Glenn Gould Foundation at this site www.glenngould.ca
Like all our projects, this one is also totally independent and self-financed, thanks to donations from the fans all over the world.
I have been in Italy twice, visited Rome and Venice. Cities full of history and art now turned out to be ghost cities due to pandemic. How badly artists and your progress affected by lock downs? Is it possible to compansate income loss by other ventures?
As in the whole world, the pandemic has changed the face of cities in a radical way.
At the very beginning, the studio of D Major TV was located in the center of the City of Milan, but even before the pandemic, in recent years we have felt a trend for which social life was slowly transforming.
With this I absolutely do not want to say that cities in normal times does not offer possibilities and opportunities, but young people are greatly re-evaluating the towns of Italy which are among the most beautiful imaginable.
We already had the intention with D Major to move to Lake Como, between Switzerland and Italy, one hour from Milan, moving our studio to a green area rich in nature.
This allows us to work with more peace of mind, especially because the internet has definitely changed the way we work, allowing smartworking and remote work, also because we work mainly abroad.
As for the concert activities of artists, theathers and opera companies, they have all been severely hit in Italy as well, as in the rest of the world, especially by destroying the job market that was already suffering from the great 2008-2018 recession.
As far as we are concerned, we have decided to help the artists by providing a free service for legal consultants, thanks to our lawyer Corrado Macchi, who can help musicians to orient themselves given the amount of cancellation of their business.
What I am observing with great interest is that now everyone is moving on social networks by offering online festivals and paid concert packages on the web.
This is certainly an attempt that at the moment manages to partially stem the losses of subscriptions and to ensure that the public does not lose interest their programming.
I think that in any case the physical presence at the concerts is in itself irreplaceable, so I hope that within a year everyone can be back in business as soon as possible, without forgetting that the web is already a reality to be taken into consideration.
For Turkey, I can clearly state that artists and institutions failed to perceive importance of online presence. Even before pandemic you can hardly come across a local artist with a proper web site. How is the situation at Italy? Of course global pandemic made situation worst for all performers of art but those entities or real persons who failed to grasp importance of online media got more damage. Do you agree with my thesis?
Yes, I fully agree.
Often everything that is online and concerns a form of art was initially seen as a threat, or as something detached and to be excluded a priori because of an amateurish nature.
Being in close contact with the very young, I can assure you that none of them get information through traditional media, such as television and newspapers, but the kids look for everything on the internet and tend to trust much more of the “counter information” often falling into error, in good faith and without any of the blame.
The great responsibility came from those who work in communication and I am not speaking only of those who make independent information, but often also from large and important online newspapers, which don’t only concern the field of classical music.
The web can offer many pitfalls as well as possibilities. Our job is to continue being transparent to ourselves and our audience.
Furthermore, I think that a good balance between on and off-line activities can also be a first response to the growing demand for independent productions like ours, which deals with the dissemination of classical music and tries to do it in an artisanal way, offering a service for theaters and concert venues.
Today, if an artist doesn’t well-built online presence, unfortunately it’s to hard to emerge. But this presence needs to be true.
And I say this because young people have the great opportunity to make themselves known without turning to agents, old records companies or television.
On the other hand, what seems most useful to me is to take into consideration those companies and entrepreneuts who are involved in creating an online reputation in a real way, building together.
Unfortunately, I see that many artists continue to buy followers, and pretend to create an image, sometimes helped by traditional media.
Certainly this is not a way to make themselves known, as they will not create an audience but only a beautiful network of fake and bots that will not be of any use to them.
Even on the web, like in the real life, nothing is achieved without hard work … I think I’ve already said it but as latins said “repetita iuvant”!
Enough with projects. Let us know some personal details of Alida; how was a typical week started and ended? How much time you can spare for friends and any other social activities beyond artistic ventures?
My typical day certainly begins with a good Italian espresso and a nice walk in the woods with my dachshund, Havana.
Then I turn on the computer and check the e-mail: hundreds of messages arrive every day and I personally take care of answering everyone.
Then I make a call and a consult on the web with the D Major Tv team to talk about the themes of the daily storytelling of our Social Media pages, which are always updated with constancy and regularity.
If there are interviews scheduled we prepare the studio, with microphones and cameras and we dedicate ourselves to our guest.
Even uploading videos to servers take their time!
Then the video goes to the editing and is prepared to be posted.
At lunchtime I like to eat healthy and I love cooking and preparing everything at home!
This year the vegetable garden gave me excellent carrots, potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes.
Here in the area the hens make exceptional eggs, which I turn into fresh pasta or excellent desserts.
After eating, in the early afternoon after taking a break, I play the piano for at least an hour and a half, dedicating myself to the repertoires that I am preparing for future post-pandemic events as well as to keep myself in training and I do not forget some pilates exercises.
The day continues on the scheduling of D Major Tv posts and online events and the constant search for contents.
When I have time, I hear from my mom via FaceTime.
Unfortunately, with the pandemic I have been in isolation for 10 months now, but the great thing is that having so many friends online, indeed, I apologize if sometimes I don’t have time to answer everyone!
Which books have your read recently? Please also share two classical albums which were essential to Alida?
This is my favorite question.
I read about 3 to 5 books a month, both for research and for pure pleasure.
A book that I have recently in my hands is that of my dear friend M. David Whitwell “Extraordinary Women” a book that tells the story of the most incredible women from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Stories of rebellious, fascinating women, scientists, artists and musicians who have conquered great goals.
A book that I loved and that I am re-reading is “Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space” by Janna Levin, which Prof. Valerio Boschi di Ego / Virgo recommended to me and which tells the mysteries of space, also deepening the theme of music.
And if you like topics related to the world of philosophy and Social Media, I enjoyed reading the book by Prof. Derrick De Kerchove “The Augmented Mind (The stupid ones are those who do not use Google)” which starts from the scholar’s questions Nicholas Carr and enters the universe of the network thinking about the consequences of Facebook, Twitter and Google, and talks about the fundamental epistemological change we are going through.
Every day then I read “Wondrous Strange” by Kevin Bazzana, also because if I have a doubt about Gould’s biography it is really the Bible, believe me! If the interview were longer I would have hundreds of titles … J
Two classic albums that are essential for me I could tell you without thinking about Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations (including all his discography) and Chopin’s records interpreted by Elizabeth Sombart.
Even here I could tell you that I have several records to recommend, but you just need to read the D Major Tv posts!
Thanks to your intellectual giftedness, we have spoken a lot of projects. In order to enhance individual experince, please give relevant web site links to every unique subject matter we discussed.
But in first order, please share donation information with our readers.
Thanks for this question, I am certainly happy to write you the links here where you can find the projects we have talked about.
The D Major Tv website www.dmajor.tv
The web documentary dedicated to Glenn Gould “Nice to meet you Glenn!” available on the website:
And if you like to help us carry out projects dedicated to classical music, with the price of a coffee you can give a great help. We are on Patreon: www.patreon.com/dmajortv
and on PayPal: www.paypal.me/dmajortv
Every little help will be destined to support our servers, the hours of work and research that we carry out completely free of charge and to support live streaming concerts and in places of need.
This could be the end of our interview but our partnership will progress further without hesitation. It became a tradition for me to leave last question open and let interviewee openly express any subject or statement left open. By taking this chance, I would like to express my gratitude for knowing you, such an esteemed personality, which truly earns respect for the ambition and devotion shown.
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell about the D Major Tv project with the wonderful audience of this magazine!
I renew my congratulations for the activity you are carrying out, in a serious and transparent way.
I was really happy and honored to take part of this journey and my greetings are going to the friends from Turkey and around the world.
Music is a great gift and we are lucky to share it together.
A big hug to all of you and see you on D Major Tv!