The Scuola di Musica di Fiesole is the dream of a great musician who was so enamoured with the deep sea of music that he felt the urgency to share this extraordinary cultural heritage with all of his fellow citizens. Italy has been for many centuries a synonym with music, but this primacy has slowly faded and musical language has become an unknown expression for most Italians: an unforgivable waste that Piero Farulli wanted to remedy in concrete terms by offering the keys to this secret world to everyone. Therefore in two rooms in Fiesole, as guest of the local Band, the viola of the never forgotten Quartetto Italiano founded a small School open to both children and adults who wished to make music either as a profession or simply as a passion.
Today, after thirty-eight years, the students have grown from fifty to one thousand three hundred with one hundred and forty teachers. The School has developed various teaching methods in order to answer the demands of its diverse users and has always placed an emphasis on ensemble music. The typical student starts at the age of four with the ensemble I Piccolissimi Musici, moves on to the ensemble Crescendo and then, at the age of 11/12 years becomes a member of the Orchestra dei Ragazzi, an ensemble of roughly 70 members.
At a pre-professional level there is the Galilei Chamber Orchestra and there is also the possibility of specializing in Baroque music with the Camerata Strumentale Fiesolana. The final step toward a professional career is the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, a symphonic ensemble of about eighty members.
The ability of the School to handle matters of musical culture and training in all of its aspects makes it a unique institution in Italy. In addition to basic courses opened to everyone, the School offers annual professional training courses with internationally renowned teachers which include:Elisso Virsaladze, Natalia Gutman, Pietro de Maria, Pavel Vernikov, Giacomo Manzoni, Andrea Lucchesini, Marco Postinghel, Claudio Desderi, il Trio di Parma, Roger Bobo, Milan Škampa, Bruno Canino etc. Our students come from all over the world. The School has had the honour of having among its teachers Carlo Maria Giulini for the orchestral conducting course that the Maestro donated to the School for four years. He then passed the baton to Daniele Gatti adn subsequently to Gabriele Ferro. In 2002 Scuola di Musica di Fiesole founded the European String
Quartet Academy in a network with Hochschule für Musik of Hannover, Universität für Musik in Vienna, Hochschule in Zurich, Pau Casals Festival of Prades and Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. In addition to the four illustrious founders Piero Farulli (Quartetto Italiano), Hatto Beyerle (Berg Quartet), Norbert Brainin (Amadeus Quartet), and Milan Škampa (Smetana Quartet), its teachers have been musicians such as G. Kurtág, V. Berlinsky, S. Sciarrino, C. Coin, M. Stroppa, F. Vacchi, etc.
The School’s students have won prestigious international competitions including: Fort Worth (Texas); Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition; Bordeaux; Pražské Jaro; Montecarlo Violin Master; Szigeti in Budapest; Fritz Kreisler in Vienna; Shostakovich in Moscow; Premio Paolo Borciani in Reggio Emilia; Premio Trio di Trieste; Concorso Internazionale Viotti in Vercelli; Géza Anda in Zurich; Concorso Internazionale per Complessi da Camera Vittorio Gui in Florence; Geneve International Music Competition; Ferruccio Busoni in Bozen; Max Reger in Weimar; Osaka Chamber Music Competition; Concorso Internazionale Romanini in Brescia; Rostropovich in Paris; International Competition David Oistrakh in Moscow; ARD in Munich.
The School has hosted four Presidents of the Republic of Italy: Sandro Pertini, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Giorgio Napolitano. Initially founded as an association of musicians and music lovers under the direction of Piero Farulli, in 1988 the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole became a non-profit foundation with the participation of public and private organizations. One third of its budget is sustained by the students’ fees. The School’s activities are made possible thanks to the financial support of the Department of Cultural Heritage, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Region of Tuscany, the Province and the City of Florence and the City of Fiesole. The Ente Cassa di Risparmio bank foundation of Florence is an unparalled patron of all the School’s activities.
In 1981 the School received the First Edition of the Abbiati Prize from the Italian National Music Critics Association as the best musical venture and, in 2005, it received the President of the Republic Award by appointment of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia from the hands of President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi himself. Also in 2004 it received another Abbiati Prize for the activities of the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana (Italian Youth Orchestra) as "a high level musical venture which has trained thousands of professionals making it a benchmark for the development of today's young musicians. It is one of Scuola di Musica di Fiesole’s most successful activities in its irreplaceable role as an educational institution for the last thirty years". In 2008 the Orchestra received the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists from the Japan Art Association.
The Orchestra Giovanile Italiana (OGI) is just the tip of the iceberg of an extraordinary training course geared toward preparing orchestral musicians. It has given a decisive contribution to musical life, with now more than one thousand former members employed in Italian and European symphony orchestras. Christened by Riccardo Muti in 1984 the Orchestra has been invited to some of the most important music festivals including Montpellier, Edinburgh, Ljubljana, Madrid, Frankfurt, Prague, Budapest, Santiago in Chile and Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires with outstanding acclaim from both critics and public alike. In 2000 it had the honour of performing for the first ever concert for the Italian Republic Holiday at the Quirinale. The concert was conducted by Daniele Gatti, with whom OGI made its début at the Young Euro Classic Festival in Berlin, performing the world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli's Etude nach Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit. On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of its foundation, Daniele Gatti conducted a special edition of the Orchestra, where students played alongside various OGI alumni, currently principals of some of the most important Italian and European orchestras, for the performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. The exceptional artistic result can be heard on the CD recording of the event, which garnered Daniele Gatti the Abbiati Prize. OGI is regularly invited by Ravenna Festival for memorable concerts conducted by Riccardo Muti in joint productions with Orchestra Cherubini in Italy and abroad. This past July OGI was once again called as guest performer together with the Orchestra Cherubini of concerts in Ravenna and Nairobi for the Roads to Friendship project. OGI was also chosen by Claudio Abbado to join in a production together with Orchestra Cherubini and for Berlioz’s Te Deum, conducted by the Maestro himself.
OGI is a founding member of EFNYO (European Federation of National Youth Orchestras). OGI’s conductors include - in addition to Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Carlo Maria Giulini and Daniele Gatti - Roberto Abbado, Salvatore Accardo, Yuri Ahronovitch, Piero Bellugi, Luciano Berio, Gabriele Ferro, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Emmanuel Krivine, Eliahu Inbal, Zubin Mehta, Gianandrea Noseda, Krzysztof Penderecki, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Jeffrey Tate. The orchestra has recorded for the following labels: Nuova Era, Aulos, Fonit Cetra and Stradivarius, as well as for RAI, Radio France and for the European Broadcasting Union.
Andrea Lucchesini has served as Artistic Director since 2008; Piero Farulli is Honorary President.