The Conservatory is the Institution of Higher Education in Art, Music, and Dance that focuses on the artistic, cultural, and professional preparation of musicians. Enrolment requires passing an admission exam and the system presents a three-year course (with which one may obtain a first-level academic degree, equivalent to a bachelor’s) possibly followed by a two-year course (to obtain the specialist second-level degree, equivalent to a master’s). It also offers two-year courses for the training of teachers and two-year courses in management for cultural and entertainment enterprises.
The Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Venice is among the conservatories with the richest histories in Europe. It is located in the monumental Palazzo Pisani, the largest patrician palace in Venice, at the heart of the city, a short distance from Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. Enriched and embellished by frescoes, statues, marble decorations, stuccos, and friezes, the space is divided into two internal courtyards, separated by various levels and floors of loggias and large halls: the spectacular Concert Hall is particularly striking, surrounded by columns and dominated by a high balcony that completely circles its entire perimeter.
There are numerous spaces for lessons and study activities, with special rooms for orchestral and chorus practices. The instrument equipment is rich and valuable: five organs, a dozen grand pianos, as well as a very large number and large variety of other instruments. Among the musical schools present in the Conservatory there is also that of electronic music, founded by Giuseppe Sinopoli and continued by Alvise Vidolin, which presents continuously updated equipment. There is also a wide range of ancient music courses alongside the traditional disciplines.
The library is among the most important in Italy, counting more than 50.000 volumes and substantial historical funds. It is also adjacent to the Conservatory’s Music Museum, which houses ancient instruments, manuscripts, and period relics, among which stand out those donated to the Conservatory by Richard Wagner.
The educational activities
In addition to an incomparable educational program that attracts students from all over the world, the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory organizes workshops, seminars, masterclasses, and carries out an intense activity of artistic production and research in the most varied and illustrious contexts. The exchange with other states of the European Community, thanks to the Erasmus and Leonardo projects, is very dynamic and vibrant. Also, being the Conservatory of an international city like Venice—with a strong cultural vocation—allows collaborations with the city’s Academy of Fine Arts, Teatro La Fenice, La Biennale, Università Ca’ Foscari, Fondazione Cini, Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, Ateneo Veneto, Fondazione Levi, and other organizations.
These connections allow various professional opportunities that may be realized at the end of the academic career or while still in progress.
A history of musical excellence
Throughout its more than 100-year history, the Conservatory of Venice has been directed by some of the greatest musicians and composers of the time, such as Marco Enrico Bossi, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Renato Fasano, Nino Antonellini, Ugo Amendola etc. The list of illustrious teachers who have taught here is extensive: Michelangelo Abbado, Guido Agosti, Luisa Baccara, Eugenio Bagnoli, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Carlo Betocchi, Riccardo Brengola, Valentino Bucchi, Pina Carmirelli, Sandro Dalla Libera, Wolfango Dalla Vecchia, Francesco De Guarnieri, Luigi Ferro, Egida Giordani Sartori, Gino Gorini, Ettore Gracis, Maria Vittoria Guidi, Lino Liviabella, Sergio Lorenzi, Bruno Maderna, Mario Messinis, Virgilio Mortari, Rio Nardi, Carlo Pestalozza, Piero Rattalino, Nino Sanzogno, Gino Tagliapietra, Adriano Vendramelli, Renato Zanettovich, Renato Zanfini.
The Benedetto Marcello Conservatory maintains a tradition of rigor, discipline, and selectivity that has always been the source of its prestige.