Music Patronage in Italy from the 15th- to the 18th- Century

Call for Papers

The Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini of Lucca is pleased to invite submissions of proposals for the symposium «Music Patronage in Italy from the 15th- to the 18th- Century», to be held in Lucca, Complesso Monumentale di San Micheletto, from 16 to 18 November 2019.

During the Renaissance and throughout the Baroque and Classical periods, musical production is linked to patronage. Predominantly in the courts – ecclesiastical or secular – the ‘patron’ is a rich person, usually noble, who offers protection and money in exchange for a service. The musician s work on commission, in keeping with the requests of their patrons. Although the artists of the referred period managed to express themselves in works of excellent craftsmanship , it is undeniable that the system repressed or at least channelled their creativity. There is in fact a master-servant relationship between patrons and salaried workers and, although the exposure to each other was close and often collaborative, it is inappropriate to think of an equal relationship.

There are essentially two types of patronage. The first relates to political institutions, to public life, and aims to promote musical events that highlight the wealth and power of the patron in the eyes of rival courts and subjects – hence the birth of the court chapels. The second type belongs to the private sphere, in which the patron, of noble birth and as such in possession of high moral and intellectual virtues, possesses a discriminating artistic sensibility — hence the promotion of chamber music activities, the collecting of rare and valuable musical instruments, and the compilation and collection of musical manuscripts, possibly in deluxe or personalized copies .

This musical production system, as described, lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century, when the advent of capitalism and the rise of the bourgeois class caused the decline of patronage. Musical activity then began to obey the laws of the marketplace, with substantial repercussions on the social status of the musician and his work.

This conference focuses on the various aspects of music patronage in Italy from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. The programme committee encourages submissions within the following areas, although other topics are also welcome:

– Patronage and institutions

– The private sphere of patronage

– Music Patronage and the Church

– Patronage and musical genres

– Patronage and censorship

– The patronage system and the social status of the musician

– Patronage and musical print

– Patronage and manuscript production

– Patronage and musical collecting

Programme Committee: 

• Roberto Illiano (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)

• Fulvia Morabito (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)

• Massimiliano Sala (Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini)

Keynotes Speakers:

Iain Fenlon (University of Cambridge)

Reinhard Strohm (University of Oxford)

The official languages of the conference are English and Italian. Papers selected at the conference will be published in a miscellaneous volume.

Papers are limited to twenty minutes in length, allowing time for questions and discussion. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words and one page of biography.

All proposals should be submitted by email no later than ***Sunday 14 April 2019*** to <>. With your proposal please include your name, contact details (postal address, e-mail and telephone number) and (if applicable) your affiliation.

The committee will make its final decision on the abstracts by the end of April 2019, and contributors will be informed immediately thereafter. Further information about the programme, registration, travel and accommodation will be announced after that date.

For any additional information, please contact:

Dr. Massimiliano Sala