Interview: David Ianni, Pianist and Composer from Luxembourg
David Ianni, Pianist and Composer from Luxembourg, came to Medjugorje, in order to begin the New Year 2006 in prayer. He came with the Catholic Community “Amici di Dio” from Austria. (See: http://www.amicididio.com)
David Ianni was born in 1979 in Luxembourg. At the age of nine, he began to study piano in Luxembourg, and subsequently both in London and in Maastricht. At the age of sixteen, he made his debut in Luxembourg with Franz Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg. Since then, many outstanding concerts followed - both solo and with orchestra – all over Europe, in Japan and in India, as well as the recording of several CD’s.
Since 1998, the young artist dedicates himself increasingly to the composition of his own works. To date, he has written about 80 compositions, including the Oratorio “Abraham’s Children”, “Pater Noster” for piano and orchestra, a children's opera, a string quartet, chamber music, and also numerous choir and piano compositions. (See: http://www.kath.net/detail.php?id=9871)
On December 31, 2005, David Ianni spoke about his art and his faith, and the reasons for his repeated pilgrimages to Medjugorje.
David Ianni, you are a pianist and a composer from Luxembourg. At present, you live in Austria, and your heart is somehow very strongly attached to Medjugorje. Why? What does Medjugorje mean to you, to your art and to your spiritual life?
Last year on the Feast of St. Sylvester, I came to Medjugorje for the first time with a group from Austria, “Amici di Dio”, which organises annual pilgrimages to Medjugorje. My conversion is closely connected with the consecration to Mary. Shortly after I made the consecration, in summer 2004, I felt a strong interior call to come to Medjugorje. An acquaintance once said to me: “If it ever happens that you feel the need to go to Medjugorje, it could be that the Mother of God is calling you.” This sentence remained carved in my memory. After the consecration that call became progressively stronger.
Why did you make this consecration?
I grew up traditionally and somehow superficially Catholic. In my youth, music was very important to me. I began to play concerts and I travelled very much, and already by this time, questions arose about the meaning of life. The Church was somehow closed for me. I had a longing for something exotic, something esoteric, similar to the Asiatic religions. I had to encounter some roundabout routes until, in the year 2000, I came across a catholic church, in which I became the organist. A woman gave me a Rosary, which came from Medjugorje. This is how I began to pray the Rosary. In this way, Medjugorje is connected with my conversion. The Rosary, the Mother of God through the Rosary, brought me back to the Catholic Church. Through this prayer, my love for Mary grew, as did the desire to make this consecration. The same acquaintance that spoke to me about Medjugorje, recommended to me also the Golden Book by Grignion de Montfort. This book touched me very deeply, and I knew that I had found my way. Four months after the consecration, I came to Medjugorje. I sensed that this was the right place. It is not as spectacular as I had expected. There are many testimonies of those who were radically converted here, but as for me, I had already found my way back to the Catholic Faith. It was simply beautiful, because the parish in Medjugorje gives a strong and beautiful witness to the living Church.
What do you mean by this?
So many pilgrims, including numerous young people, come to Medjugorje. Whether in the Church, on Apparition Hill or on Cross Mountain, you encounter young people who are praying, and this fascinated me. You can also sense the presence of the Mother of God. On Apparition Hill, I felt a very deep peace. It is so easy to pray there. Independent of the apparitions, the Church is very much alive here. The Church itself is full. You can feel joy during Mass. So many live their faith here. So many go to Church and receive the sacraments. The grace of confession is particularly strong in Medjugorje.
Why is it so, according to you?
Without wanting to anticipate the judgement of the Church, it is - in my opinion - because the apparitions are genuine. I saw the visionaries only from afar. I saw Vicka a little closer, and I find that she has an authentic radiance.
What touches young people most in Medjugorje? What attracts them?
Their longing for peace, their thirst for the truth. The world deceives us so often. The media emphasise mostly negative things. Young people are very much manipulated in the area of sexuality, and attacked in their souls. This can lead to severe consequences if their faith has not been strengthened beforehand. The message of Medjugorje awakens in them a longing for true peace, and probably for God and for the family... for intact families. Many people come from broken families nowadays. It is very rare that one finds a family, where the love of the neighbour is really lived, where there is prayer, where parents do not divorce after the first difficulty. But, in my opinion, what draws them mostly to Medjugorje is their longing for God, and the longing to find a meaning to their lives. Here you can meet Mary and Christ more intensely than at home. Another important factor is that young people meet other young people, whom they perceive to have found peace, and to have immersed more deeply in the spiritual life. This is a strong testimony. A further aspect, which plays a very important role here, is the Adoration, both in the Adoration Chapel and in the Parish Church. That is a treasure in our Catholic Church: Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus in the sacraments... to be allowed to linger in His presence. The way in which Adoration is led here is particularly beautiful... the simple sentences that go deeply into the heart, together with the music. As a musician, I feel very touched. I would like to emphasize in a special way the violinist Melinda Dumitrescu. She is a highly gifted musician, and her playing touches the hearts of numberless pilgrims. She is the kind of musician that musicians aspire to be: For the gift of her cradle talent, which she received from God, she responds with deep love for Him. She makes music for God. Many highly gifted musicians think perhaps too little about where their talent came from. Music is given to us by God, so that we may have a means to praise Him, to enter into communication with Him, to lead people to the truth, to enter into their hearts, to spread light and peace. This is the special effect of music, because music transcends language. Everyone understands music, independent of either culture or language.
How do you associate your faith and your music?
I received music as a gift. It is not a mere fact that I can play and compose music, that I have certain talents. What I have received from God, I wish to give back to Him. Each day I repeat the consecration to the Mother of God, and I apply it not only only to my own life, and to relations with my fellow men, but also very explicitly to my music, so that thereby my music may belong to the Mother God, and thus to Jesus. I pray for inspiration and try as much as I can to translate the message of the Gospel into tones, in order to bring God to men. I pray very much before, during, and after each concert. It is particularly important to continue to pray for the audience after the concert. The Church and the Cross are words that frighten some people, because they make negative associations with those words, but tones open the heart, and with an open heart, one can find the way to true faith. This is actually my goal with music: to open the hearts of my listeners to Faith.
Interview: Lidija Paris