Alla Zingarese

A fusion of Western classical music and gypsy music

Yuan-Qing Yu performing

The Alla Zingarese project is a fusion of Western classical music and gypsy music, an exploration of what happens when distinct cultural and musical traditions join together. It was inspired by a 25-year friendship between two violinists — YuanQing Yu from Shanghai and Pavel Šporcl from the Czech Republic — as well as by the shared desire of their groups, Chicago’s Civitas Ensemble and the Czech Republic’s Gipsy Way Ensemble, to connect people and music across ages and oceans.

“This is an experiment in musical merger that is as delightful as it is bold.”


“This collaboration is engaging and energizing: musicians remaining absolutely true to their respective traditions and cultures of origin, approaching old favorites and new compositions with curiosity and aplomb to spare.”



Yuan-Qing Yu – Violin

J. Lawrie Bloom – Clarinet

Kenneth Olsen – Cello

Winston Choi – Piano

Album Details

Steve Rodby – Producer

Bill Maylone – Engineer

James Ginsburg – Producer

Stephan Tran, – Graphic Design

About the Recording

Alla Zingarese (“in the Gypsy style”) embraces the past with new arrangements of well-loved, Gypsy-infused works by Brahms, Enescu, Hubay, and Sarasate, while celebrating the present with new music by noted Czech composer Lukáš Sommer, written for the combined forces of Civitas’s violin, clarinet, cello, and piano and Gipsy Way’s violin, viola, string bass, and cymbalom (hammered dulcimer), plus a Sommer piece dedicated exclusively to Civitas.

All the arrangements and Sommer’s two original compositions are world-premiere recordings. Highlights include Šporcl’s new version of his own Gipsy Fire, the title track from an earlier, best-selling Gipsy Way album. The Civitas Ensemble, an enterprising chamber group founded by Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians, teams up with Czech violin virtuoso Pavel Šporcl and his wildly popular Gipsy Way Ensemble for a groundbreaking collaboration at the crossroads of Western classical and Romani musical traditions.

Alla Zingarese marks the Civitas Ensemble’s recording debut and the Cedille label debut for Gipsy Way. Years in the planning, the project is the outgrowth of the enduring friendship between Šporcl and Civitas violinist Yuan-Qing Yu dating back to their student days. Civitas and Gipsy Way recorded the album after premiering the program at packed concert halls in Prague and Chicago. The Chicago Tribune found it “unique” and “exhilarating.” Chicago on the Aisle called it “a trip through musical history . . . and a venture into new musical territory with surprises aplenty.”