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Master Classes



Historical improvisation 1770-1870

For historical and modern piano players

Edoardo Torbianelli


(Ri)cercando il canto

Intabulated vocal repertoire and free forms in16th- and 17th- century Italy

For harpsichordists

Catalina Vicens

18-19.1.23, 11-12.3.23, 12-13.05.23, 16-17.06.23 (note date changes)

Early Italian string trios and quartets

Music by Luigi Boccherini, Pietro Nardini, Maddalena and Raffaele Sirmen

For string trios and quartets

Enrico Gatti, Marc Vanscheeuwijck




Edoardo Torbianelli


The master class aims to awaken and/or develop the creative capacity of pianists through an in-depth reflection on the relationship that links the structural and expressive elements of music, the knowledge of the tonal system, and the spontaneous piano gestures that the pianist's hands have learned over many years of performing classical and romantic keyboard literature. 

Creative experience and the work on diverse antique historical pianos will help to develop those channels of communication between sound imagination and movement coordination that later ensure the most authentic and aesthetically meaningful interpretation of repertoire works, through the understanding of the constructive and expressive logic of classical and romantic music.

In-depth information on 19th-century improvisational techniques and evidence from that era regarding the process of extemporaneous creation form an important part of the meeting.

Also welcome is the repertoire of the same period within the genres of fantasia, caprice, improvviso, etc...

(Ri)cercando il canto 

18-19.1.23*, 11-12.3.23,
12-13.05.23, 16-17.06.23

Catalina Vicens


Tagliavini Collection

Museo di San Colombano

Bologna, Italy

*Note date changes

Performing on antique keyboard instruments offers us a window into diverse sound worlds and technical possibilities, that, when approached with patience and care, can become an essential part of the musician's understanding of historical performance and sound production.

In this master class series, students will be working on antique harpsichords and virginals of one of the main collections of antique Italian harpsichords in the world, the Tagliavini Collection, containing an important number of 16th- and 17th- century plucked keyboard instruments which will reveal aspects on how to make the keys sing. 

The departure point of each session will be an overview and discussion of a type of keyboard composition cultivated by composers from the 16th and 17th centuries, such as intabulated songs (frottole, madrigali, chansons), "free pieces" (ricercari, canzoni, toccate and fantasie) and dances. Keyboard students will prepare the suggested repertoire for each 2-day session and while working on technical approaches to the antique keyboard, each composition will be put into its historical and intellectual context. Aspects such as transformations of the musical form, performance environment, instruments (keyboard instrument types and forms), function, and aesthetics will be laid out, followed by discussion and experimentation on whether each of these aspects can be translated into practice and how.

The final goal is not only to give a better understanding of the repertoire and its contexts but to encourage and support each student in the process of musical embodiment and artistic individuality.

Scores will be provided by the teacher, but repertoire suggestions by the students are welcome.

Early Italian string trios and quartets


Enrico Gatti 

Marc Vanscheeuwijck

In this master class, historical string players will be working on the rarely performed Italian early string trio and quartet repertoire, with composers such as Luigi Boccherini, Pietro Nardini, Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen, and Raffaele Sirmen.


Violinist Enrico Gatti will dive into the technical and stylistic elements of late 18th-century ensemble playing, while cellist and musicologist Marc Vanscheeuwijck will give enlightening insights into the development of string instruments in Italy during the late baroque and the flourishing classical period. They will pay special attention to contextualizing the three figures who are different but united by the artistic temperament that animated musical Italy in the second half of the 18th century:


Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen was the Venetian pupil to whom Giuseppe Tartini wrote in 1760 the famous letter concerning the study of the violin: one of the first women able to lead an intense international career both as a concert performer and successful composer; Livorno virtuoso Pietro Nardini, whose 300th birthday was celebrated in 2022, also a pupil of Tartini; and Raffaele Sirmen, a composer from the Marche region, the brother-in-law of Lombardini, whose string quartets have recently been unearthed in Fabriano, music which will be made accessible to the students. 

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