Yesterday. The Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna was founded in 1666 by the noble Vincenzo Maria Carrati, based in his family’s palace, located at what is now Via Guerrazzi 13. “Unitate melos” has been the Academy’s motto ever since its foundation; today’s members interpret it in terms of “sharing music together”, emphasising that everything the Academy does is the result of important partnerships with different local organisations concerned with music, culture and education.
Over centuries of history the Academy has always been a landmark in the cultural life of the city of Bologna, becoming one of the most advanced institutions of European musical culture in the second half of the eighteenth century under the guidance of Father Giovan Battista Martini. His contribution helped the Academy’s fame to grow beyond the confines of its home city and country, and the number of aspiring candidates grew for the title of “Maestro compositore” or “Master composer”, a title the Bologna institution was entitled to grant, like the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. Even the young Mozart sought this prestigious title: in 1770 he and his father Leopold came to Bologna, where they were guests of Count Gian Luca Pallavicini, to study counterpoint composition under the guidance of Father Martini. Mozart was granted the diploma of “Maestro compositore” on October 9, 1770. A composition in the young Amadeus’ own hand kept in the Academy’s historical archives is the second version of his assignment: the first, which was not considered to follow the rules, was amply revised by Father Martini, after which Mozart copied and handed in this version. In 1884 the Academy named its concert hall after Mozart.
After the unification of Italy, the Academy obtained the approval of its current statutes as a Royal Philharmonic Academy (on November 6, 1880). In the nineteenth century the institution underlined its character as an honorary fellowship with the membership of artists of international fame such as Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Liszt, Boito, Puccini, Brahms… This practice continued through the twentieth century and down to the present day, with honorarymemberships granted to musicians such as Claudio Abbado, Sergiu Celibidache, Carlo Maria Giulini, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropovič, Mariella Devia, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Ruggero Raimondi, Joan Sutherland, Luciano Berio, Azio Corghi, Adriano Guarnieri, Giacomo Manzoni, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Karlheinz Stockhausen, musicologists such as Nino Pirrotta, and deserving figures in the organisation of the arts such as Carlo Maria Badini, Jack Lang, Fabio Roversi-Monaco and Marco Cammelli.
Today. In recent years the Academy has organised a series of important cultural initiatives with the support of Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna. The best-known of these is Orchestra Mozart, one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world, under the direction of Claudio Abbado. Alongside its traditional concert series, offering two cycles of chamber music in the Sala Mozart (Mozart Hall), the Academy offers advanced professional training programmes for young musicians, including the Accademia dell’Orchestra Mozart for young players of orchestral instructions, an advanced school of composition and a research programme in music education methodology. The Accademia Filarmonica has had a number of educational projects underway for some years now aimed at promotion of musical culture, particularly in schools, with the involvement of more than two thousand students every year. The Academy also has a strong focus on research, organising a number of conventions and study days every year, and on the valorisation and recovery of the priceless collection of archives and volumes kept in the Academy’s historical Archives and Library, which also has a vast range of exhibits featuring antique instruments and objects belonging to great musicians of the past. In addition to Mozart’s homework, the historical archives include numerous important musical manuscripts, including Rossini’s Cenerentola, and precious pages by composers such as Liszt, Beethoven, Salieri, Bellini, Wagner, Verdi and Puccini.
The Accademia Filarmonica also has a very important relationship with the music of our own times: the Academy still continues its tradition, uninterrupted ever since it was founded, of commissioning new works by great international composers, such as the recent Tierkreis by Karlheinz Stockhausen (2008) and En tono menor by Luis de Pablo (2010), the premieres of which were performed by the Orchestra Mozart, Processo a Costanza by Adriano Guarnieri (2009) and …La vera storia del “Va Pensiero”… by Azio Corghi (2011). In 2012 the Academy has commissioned Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to write a composition for strings only, to be presented by the Orchestra Mozart in September.