It is impossible to talk about Bologna without make any reference to the fervent musical background that marks the city. Especially since 2006, when UNESCO declared Bologna Creative City of music, like Seville, Glasgow, Bogotà and Gent.
Walking through the center of Bologna
Walking through the little streets of the historical center of Bologna, and paying attention to the name of many streets, it’s easy to realize how the culture of the music is a very strong presence in this town.
For exemple, in the very center we can find Piazza Verdi, inwhich stands the big building of Teatro Comunale. In the past, that was the place inwhich there were represented the operas of the famous composer, for the first time.
Going on with the walk, in closer via Petroni and via Belle Arti, we cannot help but notice some shops that show handcrafted violins; this is the real proof of the ancient lutery art in Bologna, which has medieval origins, but it knows its best period since XIX Century.
Returning up the center of the city, and walking through via Barberia, we find the palace of DAMS (University of Art, Music and Show Disciplines), inwhere musicology research in Bologna has its centre , and where the DMS courses take place.
The music history of Bologna
If we look back to the past, the first traces of music trade in Bologna date back to XIII century, actually the big explosion of musical activity begins in the second half of the 13th century, when the city was subject to the papal administration.
During XV and XVI century, in each one of the most important city churches born the chapel choir, that were organised body of musicians conducted by a choir master. Those chapels were involved both in liturgical service and in teaching the art of music.
In this contest stands out the composer and theorist Father Giambattista Martini, one of the greatest figures of the XVIII century’s European musical scene.
Simultaneously to the ecclesiastical reality, in Bologna were built lot of places for public performances. Between the XVI and the XVII century various theatres were inaugurated: the Teatro del Pubblico (Public’s Theatre) in the Palazzo del Podestà located in Piazza Maggiore, the Formagliari Theatre and the Malvezzi Theatre.
During the 17th century, many accademies were founded, in order to promote the musical activity in a further way, and moreover, to increase the education regarding theory and practice of the music. The renowned Accademy of Filarmonica rises so in this period and it will be the heart of integration for the most european musicians like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, André Grétry, Farinelli, and Father Martini as well.
At the end of XVIII century, church chapel choir were dissoluted and there were replaced with the Liceo Musicale of the city, that borns with the aim of offering a free musical education to all the students.
In 1933 Musicology appears again as a university course and in 1971 it finds an organic academic collocation with the creation of the degree course in Art, Music and Performing Arts (DAMS).
From the Second World War until now
The flow of artist typical of Bologna never stops, actually, after the Second World War it becomes a very popular destination for the lovers of jazz music. All this get to the top between Fifties and Seventies when, with the editions of the European Jazz Festival, lot of jazz icones exibits on the city’s stages. Artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington – just to mention some name – and mythical figures of afroamerican music like Ella Fitzgerald and B.B.King.
At this time, some historical clubs of via Mascarella still host lot of shows of jazz music.
In Seventies and Eighties, Bologna’s musical scene is animated by the underground movement, which starts with bands like Skiantos and Gaznevada. They have begun a benchmark for the bands of the new generation, that now inspire themselves to various sonority, from hip hop and R&B to folk and indie rock. Many artists, who started their carreer in that period, are great celebrities even now. We mean performer like Francesco Guccini, Gianni Morandi and Lucio Dalla, recently passed away, but still alive in the hearts of many people, not only his fellow citizien.
Bologna is still very active in musical setting: nowadays it is one of the most important location for very big concerts and musical faires. Just to mention two of the newest events of 2013, that took place in this city, we remind Music Italy Show, a faire dedicated to emergent artists, and the “Strummer Live Festival”, three days of live music in occasion of the renaming of the historical “Arena Parco Nord”, in “Arena Joe Strummer”, to commemorate the dead leader of The Clash.
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