A Brief History of The School of Music of Fiesole – Non-profit Foundation

Founded in 1974 by Piero Farulli, legendary violist of the Quartetto Italiano, the School of Music of Fiesole has served as a worldwide benchmark for music for more than forty years. Comprised of 1,600 students, 12 orchestras, 5 choirs and 166 teachers the School holds more than 180 performances per year.

A multitude of musicians who studied in Fiesole is active on the concert stage. Many of them received their fundamental professional training thanks to the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, one of the School’s most prosperous educational projects, after which they joined the ranks of professional orchestras worldwide.

The world’s most extraordinary musicians have shared their musical and educational excellence with our institution: Riccardo Muti, Salvatore Accardo, Luciano Berio, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, Maria Tipo, Trio di Trieste, Natalia Gutman, György Kurtág, Gabriele Ferro, Krzysztof Penderecki, Daniele Gatti, Pavel Vernikov, Gianandrea Noseda, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Elisso Virsaladze, Andrea Lucchesini and many others.

Always at the forefront of musical literacy training even for the youngest children, the School of today offers a complete educational journey. This is not only due to the recent accreditation by Ministerial Decree for the conferring of the First Level AFAM Diploma (Bachelor Degree), but also due to the addition of the Biennio/Master Degree, as the result of an agreement with the Conservatory of Torino within the performance certificate courses held by professors-musicians of international renown.
Founder of the Sistema italiano di orchestre e cori infantili Onlus (Italian Federation of children’s and youth Orchestras and Choirs non-profit organisation) together with Federculture, the School has established an educational opportunity completely free of charge with group lessons taught in neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Florence. Fiesole also confers a postgraduate Level I Master’s Certificate to educators of children’s orchestras.

In 2002, the School founded the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA) together with some of the most prestigious music academies in Europe. This international training course aids some of the Academy’s finest quartets in garnering top results in the most important international competitions such as ARD in Munich, Haydn in Vienna, Shostakovich in Moscow, Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and the Prague Competition.
In December of 2017, the School inaugurated an innovative location in Arezzo, la Casa della Musica (The House of Music), in which collaborations take place between organisations involved in the dissemination of music through higher education, professional courses and innovative courses for children.

The activities of the School are made possible thanks to economic support provided by the MiBACT (Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities), the Region of Tuscany, the City of Florence and the Greater Metropolitan Area of Florence. The Ente Cassa di Risparmio Bank Foundation of Florence is a patron beyond compare for all of the School’s activities. Numerous donations are also made by private citizens for merit-based scholarships, as exemplified by Claudio Abbado who, with a most significant gesture, donated the compensations he received for his role as Senator for Life.

The School’s awards include the First Annual Abbiati Prize in 1981, for recognition as the “finest musical initiative”, the President of the Republic National Award bestowed upon the School by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 2005 and the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists from the Japan Art Association in 2008. In August 2016, the Orchestra dei Ragazzi won the World Orchestra Festival, organized by the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein of Vienna.

Since October of 2020 the artistic direction of the School is curated by pianist Alexander Lonquich, alongside Superintendent Lorenzo Cinatti, in office since 2012.