Sono Emilia Ammavuta, da cinque anni studio direzione di coro presso il Conservatorio di Palermo e ho una esperienza di circa 10 anni come artista del coro in contesti amatoriali e semiprofessionistici.
Studio e suono il flauto traverso, per mezzo del quale mi dedico alla riproposizione e diffusione delle musiche tradizionali siciliane e di altri paesi d’Italia e del mondo.
Mi trovo qui oggi per parlare della figura della direttrice, che sia di coro o d’orchestra, dei problemi e degli stereotipi cui essa va incontro nel momento in cui viene ad inserirsi nel mondo del lavoro.
Come forse molti sapranno, soprattutto per quel che riguarda le direttrici d’orchestra, la presenza femminile in questo settore è molto limitata. Le motivazioni sono parecchie e anche radicate nella storia di questa “giovane” professione nata (per come la conosciamo oggi) all’incirca nell’800.
La principale motivazione di questa “assenza” è legata allo stereotipo che dipinge la donna come “angelo del focolare” la cui autorità si esplica soltanto all’interno delle mura domestiche e non certo sul podio davanti al coro o all’orchestra.
Il suddetto stereotipo, per quanto possa apparire antiquato crea tutt’oggi cospicue difficoltà d’inserimento alle donne che vogliono diventare direttrici,
infatti molte di loro vengono considerate in virtù della loro bellezza e del loro appeal sul pubblico più che per le loro capacità tecniche e spesso vengono trattate più come icone mediatiche che come vere professioniste del settore.
Ciò accade con maggiore incidenza nell’ambito della direzione d’orchestra, basti pensare che in alcune ricerche statistiche svolte sugli studenti dei conservatori italiani il suddetto corso di studi viene definito “da uomini” proprio a causa dell’estrema preponderanza di iscritti e laureati di sesso maschile.
Mentre il settore della direzione di coro si mostra invece più “virtuoso” da questo punto di vista, basti pensare alle figure di Mariele Ventre (fondatrice e direttrice del Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano) e Nora Orlandi (fondatrice e direttrice dello storico gruppo vocale “4+4” che ebbe molto successo negli anni 60 e 70), testimoni di una apertura del settore direzione verso la figura femminile.
La storia di queste donne mi ha spinto a farmi alcune domande che spero troveranno riposta in questo dibattito, una delle più pressanti riguarda il perché le figure direttive femminili vengono tutt’ora associate quasi esclusivamente a determinati ambiti (es: didattica musicale per l’infanzia), oppure considerate credibili solo se hanno un determinato aspetto esteriore, che invece conta molto meno se ci si riferisce ai colleghi uomini.
Esistono dei modi per ridurre il divario tra uomini e donne in un settore estremamente complesso e vario come quello dell’arte musicale?
Possiamo trovare insieme una riposta a tutto questo?
Wanting to leave my hometown, Palermo, was a wish I had since I was a child. At my grandparents' house, I spent a lot of time leafing through the encyclopedias because I had a few toys at my disposal.
I was attracted by the colourful images of the scenarios of the mainly Eastern countries and this pushed me to read, for what little I could understand at 8 years, also the history of those countries bringing me to daydream. Over time I realised that in addition to drawing I wanted to satisfy my curiosity with books, then especially my mother initially bought me the fairy tales with pictures, until I had the Little Mermaid and other stories of Andersen. This time without images, a real book (!) but more than fairy tales for me were horror stories since they did not have the filters that are now usually used for children's books. I loved that book most of all, my first book, because it made me understand without words that fairy tales in the end are terrifying stories unlike the Walt Disney movies.
So I grew up drawing, reading and dreaming about distant countries and I very much desired these dreams could be real, even if in reality seemed impossible to achieve. Unfortunately, however, to realise them I understood that I needed a lot of discipline but since the desire was strong, then I accepted the compromise. By discipline I do not mean rigidity but making mistakes so many times and continue and insist.
I was 19 years old when I got my first opportunity: I moved to Faenza two days after graduation and I started working for the civil service. But volunteering in the Family Home was not my vocation and I found myself ill in that house; it was still a sorry to experience what it means to be independent and also know and attend Bologna, the city that struck me most and that has always remained in my heart for so many years.
Although Bologna was the right city for me, I chose to go back to Palermo after a year to attend the academy of fine arts - which I regretted bitterly - after 8 long years I was able to graduate with a discreet vote. It took me two years to convince myself with my heart and head that Palermo was not my city and find the courage to try again (it took me a long time to understand that the return to Palermo was not an irreparable mistake but in the end I did it!). In fact I had a second chance but this time in Salzburg and caught the fly. Even in Salzburg, unfortunately, the reality was not as I imagined, I did not know German and I worked only in Italian restaurants but despite all this time I forced myself to never go down to Palermo for any reason, because the bad loop of discomfort and troubles that tormented the years of the academy. I had to resist.
I've been in Salzburg for six months, after I took a third transfer to Wien (Vienna) that I took off and I began to see extraordinary things happening slowly. I began to get to know - and later to network- the artists in very occasional situation. I met painters acknowledged in Austria and the best part is that I met them in places that were not inherent at all to their work: at the restaurant during my working hours, in the most unknown places in Vienna, at the German school for immigrants, on Facebook ... in short, everywhere but not in museums, galleries, or academies.
Since these randomness happened often, then I had the doubt that maybe I really had to insist in painting; but as it was for the trips, for this job I need the kind of discipline I talked about before so I had to start again, making mistakes as I did in Faenza. I must say that the mistake I often do ,and I believe we all do, is to deceive ourselves thinking that there is a place in the world with no problems, that working with their passions is a romantic walk; is hard to admit it but unfortunately it is not easy at all.
Fortunately, the books are a great help, they tell you things that others do not want to tell you for a thousand reasons then I began to read and paint, but above all to read because it is true that I had an independent nature but I've to strengthen it with the knowledge and thanks to advice from my friend Alice I read Simone De Beauvoir's "The Second Sex". It has been a ruthless book, I opened my eyes, I finally understood many dynamics that I could not understand with the experiences of life, because of many things, but also the path of feminism wants its discipline and so I also accepted this other form of discipline.
I stayed 3 years in Vienna, even there I learned a hard lesson: I have limits, one of these was German. I was struggling to communicate, but despite everything I'm committed to understanding others especially in times of difficulty or when I wanted to understand things important to me, it helped me a lot to work on the empathy and body language of others as well as continue to insist with German and English. I was able to create two of my personal paintings in two small galleries and I did my first interview for a project called "Danube Women Stories" organized by the University of Ulm (Germany).
These were my first little conquests obtained with my efforts: I knew no one when I arrived, only the chef who took me to Vienna to work in a restaurant but then we interrupted our friendship. I could insist in Vienna but I was accustomed to tiredness. At that time I met a painter from Modena with whom we had a particular friendship from a distance, usually I have never been a woman with great romantic outbursts but wanted to meet him.
We met in Bologna and it was a great disappointment for me but after meeting him and realising that I was deluded again, I sat down on the steps of Piazza Maggiore and decided to return to Bologna because I felt at home. I went back to Vienna and I looked for a room on an Italian classifieds site; even this seemed impossible (the problem of Bologna are rents) and yet I insisted I found it. Now I have a Sicilian flatmate who is like a brother to me, I pay a fair rent in a comfortable house and the area is well served by public transports. As happened in Vienna I met artists: we tied up very often working together and after a year I made my first personal exhibition in Pieve di Cento (small cultural hub in Italy between Bologna and Ferrara). I experimented in music by publishing three EP for two small digital record labels that have a good impact in the small niche of experimental music internationally.
The success issue, however, is very complex and above all subjective: of course I have obtained good results even if I would like to continue to get more work and not stop, but the fact that I managed to make my own decisions on my own initiative, and decide what to do with my life - going sometimes against all - makes me feel good about myself and this is more than anything else in the world.