December 10, 2019

Italian Gastronomy & Concert at ESTEC

In the picture Letizia Elsa Maula (clarinet) and Mario Rio (cello).

By Nynke van der Heide.

In honour of the 4th edition of the Week of Italian Gastronomy, the Italian Embassy organized a concert in the evening of the 18th of November.

This special event took place at the biggest European Space Agency site of Europe: the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk.

The Week of Italian Gastronomy, took place from the 18th until the 24th of November 2019 with culinary and cultural events hosted throughout the Netherlands. “Food Education: the Culture of Taste” was this year theme, emphasizing the importance of the quality of produce and a balanced lifestyle. 

The Italian Gastronomic Week in The Hague at European Space Research and Technology Centre.

The evening began with a few opening remarks by Dr. Franco Ongaro, the Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality and Head of ESTEC in which he welcomed the many esteemed guests. Ms. Verónica Ferrucci, First Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy representing H.E. Ambassador Mr. Andrea Perugini, followed by stressing the strong connection between food and culture, and the important role music has in this process.

She introduced the duo Letizia Elsa Maula and Mario Rio: together the Philia Duo. An allusion to the Greek word “Philia” meaning “brotherly love” or the Aristotelian translation of “friendship”. The intriguing combination of clarinet and cello created an extraordinary element in the evening. 

The concert was divided in four different parts taking the audience on a journey through time beginning at Mozart and ending at Connesson in 1994. The first piece, duet for violin and cello Wo027 by Beethoven, was especially transcribed for clarinet.

Ms. Verónica Ferrucci, First Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy, representing H.E. Ambassador Mr. Andrea Perugini. and Italian musician Letizia Elsa Maula.

It was strongly influenced by the Sturm und Drang movement which became visible in the interaction between the cello and clarinet. It looked like a fierce but merry dialogue.


The third piece, sonate for clarinet and cello by Poulenc, brought us back in more modern times. The piece was a perfect example of the melodic gift that Poulenc was known to have. The last piece of the concert, Disco Toccata, was created by the French composer Connesson and was the only song originally made for clarinet and cello duo. The modern tunes made for a complete concert experience.

After a big applause, the guests were invited to the reception where they could enjoy authentic Italian Panzerotti and Tareni wines from the Sicilian region. The guests can look back at a very successful evening with enchanting music created by two very talented artists, delicious Italian cuisine and many colleagues to share the evening with. 

Italian gastronomy and wines.

Photography by Catherine Dailey and Nynke van der Heide.

Comments are closed.