SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - It's not just great beaches and interesting architecture that makes the Suncoast a great place to call home.
It's also world class cultural events that put Sarasota in the international spotlight.
One such event, "La Musica".
33 years ago, musician Derek Han was living in Asolo, Italy.
Derek says, "Asolo is a very little hill town in Italy outside of Venice. I think the population is less than 1000. There is one traffic light in town."
He had a friend, who was also a musician, Bruno Giuranna.
Bruno says, "I was on tour with a piano concert in the United States. We had a concert in Sarasota, and I saw this beautiful thing that was the Asolo Theatre."
Years later, when Derek invited Bruno to play in a music festival in Asolo, Italy, he says Bruno told him a shocking story.
"He said, I was in Sarasota, Florida, and did you know that John Ringling bought the original Asolo Theatre and took it to Sarasota."
Asolo Castle is still standing in Asolo, so Derek wondered how the theatre got moved. He learned.
"It was removed from the castle because it was considered a fire hazard. So John Ringling, on one of his many trips to Venice, Italy, bought the dismantled theatre, had it fire proofed, moved it to Sarasota and had it reconstructed."
And as the two musician friends performed together in that Asolo, Italy in that festival in 1989, they got an idea.
Bruno said, "Wouldn't it be a fantastic idea to bring a version of our festival in Asolo, Italy to Sarasota, Florida, where the original Asolo Theatre is now located."
And that's how La Musica was born.
Derek says,"We started lining up good musicians from across Europe and the United States."
The Suncoast welcomed them with open arms.
Derek says, "We sort of fit in and found ourselves becoming a part of the community, which for us is a wonderful thing."
Musicians love coming here.
Derek now lives here full time, and Bruno continues commute from Italy. And here in it's 32nd year, La Musica has become a Suncoast treasure. .
Derek says. "We bring 2 weeks of chamber music with open rehearsals, so the public can see us put the pieces, and then hear the final results at the concerts. The final concert of the festival is Wednesday at 8 pm at the Sarasota Opera House.
Copyright 2018 WWSB. All rights reserved.