The musical heritage of Bologna, Emilia Romagna - Your True Italy

The musical heritage of Bologna

The musical heritage of Bologna

Francesco, a professional guide from Emilia Romagna, wrote this post

Bologna is a city of many nicknames. It is called the “learned“, because of its university, the “fat” because of its rich gastronomic tradition, and the “red” because of the color of its buildings. Furthermore, in 2006 UNESCO awarded Bologna as the “Creative City of Music”. With this award, UNESCO recognized the important musical heritage of the past and its connection with the present scene. The musical tradition in the city goes back a long way, before the completion of the Basilica of San Petronio. There, in the year 1436, the first music chapel in the world started and that institution is still active today. Also in San Petronio, we can admire some of the oldest organs in the world, such as the one with separate registers and pipes by Lorenzo da Prato, dated 1475.

The Philharmonic Academy

The real turning point in the city’s musical heritage came in 1666 when the Philharmonic Academy started in Carrati Palace and became one of the most important institutions. Bologna inaugurated its Municipal Theatre in 1763 and it still remains the mecca for classical music. In the 18th century, the Philharmonic hosted some of the most important composers in history. Among the illustrious figures who passed through or lived in Bologna are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Padre Martini, Farinelli. Gioacchino Rossini also spent time in Bologna in the 19th century.

The European Jazz Festival

Bologna’s musical heritage continued in recent times. In fact, in the late 1950s and early 1970s, the city hosted about fifteen editions of the European Jazz Festival. Iconic Jazz musicians performed in the city’s theatres. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and John Coltrane, to name a few. We can still see memories of that era can still be seen in Via Capraie. In fact, there are Hollywood-style stars with the names of jazz musicians are inscribed on the pavement.

Even today, many musicians and songwriters live in the city and help celebrate it through their work. This musical tradition is still alive in cafès and clubs.

If you would like to learn more about The musical heritage of Bologna, visit the International Museum and Library of Music on Strada Maggiore.

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