For Your Imagination

Mini-interview: Silence with Daria Zappa

Daria Zappa is Principal of the 2nd Violins with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. She is also a founder of the Festival der Stille (Festival of Silence) in nearby Kaiserstuhl. 

daria zappa matesic c sandro diener
Daria Zappa. (Photo credit: Sandro Diener)

i). What role does silence play in what you do?As a musician, you rehearse all day with your orchestra, then go home and have to practice maybe one hour more. After, you just need silence around you. No more music, no street noises, no motors. Actually, I listen to no music at home or, if I do, then it’s a different style of music – not classical (gypsy or jazz music).

ii). How does that silence feel to you?

For me, silence is a moment of introspection: at last, I have time for me. I can answer some life questions for myself. If we think of our world today (so full of noises, of music, of machines)… What would Schubert, Wagner or Mahler have done today? They wouldn’t have written one note of their music. You definitely need silence to be creative!

My husband is a composer: his ears are so sensitive. He can hear a single bike coming from 1km away, but most people cannot understand the pain he has!

iii). In today’s world, people often struggle with silence. Do you feel we would benefit from a bit more silence? How could we go about finding it?

My husband and I started the Festival der Stille (Festival of Silence) 11 years ago at Kaiserstuhl, where we live. This little medieval town close to the Rhein with 400 inhabitants is a fantastic place to live. BUT it is also the last village before the border with Germany, so many people drive through with cars and bikes to shop (across the border) where it is less expensive. In addition, planes fly in the sky above us to land in Zurich.

So, our vision was, from the beginning, to create a music festival where people can forget all the stress and noise of the outside world and come to listen to really good music. Because people need to calm down, to relax.



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