My first school year with Roberto Frati, at the Music Academy in Florence, was quite traumatic. I didn’t make progress, and I didn’t know why. Still I studied!

I used my time and passion but I didn’t get what was wrong, until when, on a summer course, Marco Falaschi – Roberto’s colleague and friend – gave me the right key to interpret what I was taught. Same method, different words: it was so obvious.

Roberto was a strict teacher, ready to give strong impulses, a musical paragon who didn’t seek imitation but comprehension of the musical phenomenon, therefore a musician as well as a sax player, a man I took to liking and that today is a brother to me.

Later on, I started playing with my first quartet, the “Quartetto di Saxofoni di Firenze”, friends and colleagues with whom I shared both my artistic growth, which was internationally successful, and my human growth, which was even more precious.

When you grow, changing is necessary, but friendship remains. The quartet broke up while I was on national service (I turned trombonist in the military band of the 6th Bersaglieri regiment), and I started my teaching activity in several musical associations. I also did other jobs because I wanted to invest in musical instruments and Master Classes to pursue something that never came. Esteemed sax players gave me precious advice but they didn’t leave a sign on me.

A brand new period started.

During my Master degree in Music Studies, still under Roberto’s guidance, I started collaborating with the “Maggio Fiorentino” Festival, the Teatro Regio in Turin and Radio Rai, and I met new musicians with whom I got ahead with a project dedicated to music from the years when people had a radio set but not yet a tv: Radiorchestra.
Then I encountered Maestro Piernarciso Masi and the Altenberg Trio at the Music Academy in Imola, during a three-year Master Class in Chamber Music. Different personalities but equally rich from a cultural point of view, capable of giving something more to my classical chamber work.

In the meanwhile, a part of the “Quartetto di Saxofoni di Firenze” converged to the Steelwind project, promoted by Roberto. My old interest in genres detached from the so-called classical music found relief in any kind of transcriptions becoming live performances and CDs, a project that is still capable of astonishing and intriguing, first and foremost ourselves, even after 15 years. I taught Music and Sax in state schools, I played in several chamber ensembles, but I kind of envied the orchestra world that doesn’t need the constant presence of a sax player. But Ministry bands do!

After several eligibilities, I won a competition, and for ten years I have been a member of the Italian Carabinieri Band. This gives me the opportunity to tour around the world and to perform in amazing theatres.I started from a town band when I was a child and I came back to a band through a varied and sometimes incredible path, but maybe this is how it was meant to be.

Milo Vannelli


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