“Villa Pennisi In Musica”, Summer School of Architecture and  Advanced Musical Studies

Project location: Italy, Acireale
Project start date: September 2013 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2013-035
Beneficiary: M.A.R. Musica – Arte - Ricerca


The aim of the project is the organization of the 2015 edition of a music festival that includes a Summer School for young artists, architectural courses and a masterclass program.

Villa Pennisi in Musica is a Summer School where every aspect in connection with the training of live performing professionals is confronted. This training takes place in two stages:      

1_the educational stage (where lessons and in-depth analysis classes are given during the Architecture workshop and the Postgraduate courses for advanced musical studies);

2_the performance stage (the concert part the 2015 Villa Pennisi in Music Festival).

Every aspect of a live event production (focusing on open-air classical music  concerts) is studied: from the building of the stage and the artist's lighting, to the best possible propagation of sound produced on stage, and the preparation of the performing artists. All this is possible thanks to the courses and workshops that take place at Villa Pennisi, a multifunctional location that hosts architecture, acoustics and lighting design lessons as well as postgraduate courses for advanced musical studies. Together, teachers and students focus on the solutions to the different problems presented in each field: planning, construction, design, lighting, musical acoustics, breathing techniques and relaxation, musical and artistic preparation. On stage they face the final step together, (the concert), overcoming in this way the traditional student/ teacher barrier, sharing each step of the creative process, from its gestation in the classroom to  the final concerts.

Villa Pennisi in Musica presents itself as a modern educational package (the only one of its kind in Italy), product of the collaboration between musicians, architects, acoustic engineers and lighting designers which is accomplished in the architecture workshop.

The structure that serves as the stage (ReS -Resonance String Shell)  - PETER LORD AWARD 2014 WINNER - is the object of a research project sponsored by the MAR association, with the participation of Gridshell.it, Buro Happold Engineering International Consultants and the University Federico II of Naples. Thanks to its modularity and reversibility it has been possible to put the ReS - Resonance String Shell to "rest" until the next edition of the Festival, where it will be build once again in order to test and perfect its acoustic technology and design.

All materials in use at the Architecture workshop are low in grey energy content (environmental sustainability), low cost (social sustainability) and with a careful regard for the production cycle (from cradle to grave). These materials are in the context of direct and indirect interactions with the environment as established by the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) protocol and therefore sourced from certified dry coppice wood assembled without the presence of the glue

New target for the 2015 Edition Architecture division is the construction of ReS in the ancient garden of Villa, to deal with all the difficulties that the most inaccessible building in open field offers. Moreover, always respecting the environment, ReS will be enlarged to allow a grater number of players.

ReS requirements are: the possibility of being self-constructed, foldable, collapsible, reversible, movable, adaptable to different environments and to a different number of spectators, as well as to different types of music. The pavilion must also operate as a technical lamp suitable for illuminating the musicians, and occasionally the surrounding area.


Scientific Committee

Sergio Pone DIARC, Università di Napoli Federico II

Serafino Di Rosario Buro Happold, Londra

Guido Callegari DAD, Politecnico di Torino

Andrea Campioli BEST, Politecnico di Milano

Giuseppe Fallacara DICAR, Politecnico di Bari

Vittorio Fiore SDS di Architettura, Università di Siracusa

Massimo Perriccioli SAD, Università di Camerino

Valeria Tatano  DCP, Università IUAV di Venezia


Honour Committee

Antonio Pappano

Michele Dall'Ongaro

Bruno Cagli

Francesco Pennisi

Agata Pennisi

Enrico Baleri

Madame Gabriella Bassatne


August 1 - 13, 2015 Architecture workshop

The workshop will focus on three different aspects of the sound's architecture: the acoustic, the light and the design-to-build

ACOUSTICS LESSONS AND WORKSHOP- In the appreciation of a musical piece, sound (as a physical phenomenon) has a relatively low impact. Of more importance, is the way in which we perceive the sounds that conform the piece. And even more important is the development of that perception based on our own personal background. Just as in large concert halls, where wood is the dominant visual element for the audience, the wooden structure that makes up the ReS acoustic shell (built during Villa Pennisi in Music 2012) will allow students to test the ability of the acoustic panels to reflect the sound back onto the audience. By learning the fundamental rules of acoustics, the students will deepen their knowledge of the different techniques of musical acoustics, and help refine the sound quality of the events during the Villa Pennisi in Music festival.

With Serafino Di Rosario - Acoustic Consultant Buro Happold London - www.burohappold.com

LIGHTING DESIGN LESSONS AND WORKSHOP- Light projection nowadays means to consider all the parameters motivated by a shared desire to improve the levels of well-being both in public and private areas, indoor and outdoor, all the while reducing energy consumption. Therefore today, more than ever before, lighting design is a necessary discipline as it can increase the significance of an architectural project through the wise use of natural and artificial light management.
Lessons on stage-lighting will find the students applying low cost and low energy solutions to the ReS acoustic shell (built duringVilla Pennisi in Music 2012). Ambient lighting for different event areas of the 2013 Villa Pennisi in Music festival will also be discussed.

With Gugliemo Ferro - stage director - Artistic Director Quirino Theatre in Rome.


DESIGN TO BUILD LESSONS AND WORKSHOP- The rationale behind Design-to-Build is to confer a high educational value to the creative experience, and to this end it presents itself as an instrument to conceive and reflect architecture. In relation to self-built constructions, Design-to-Build is an excellent example of the relationship between design and construction techniques.The lessons at Villa Pennisi will focus on acquainting the students with geometrically complex, form-resistant structures. During this workshop a gridshell will be built in the natural setting of Villa Pennisi's historical gardens.


Sergio Pone -Federico II di Napoli University
Enrico Baleri - designer -
with Gridshell - Sofia Colabella and Bianca Parenti and Daniele Lancia -

Edoardo Pignatelli
Davide Ercolano

Conversation with Michele Campanella, Roberto Gonzalez and Ezio Bosso about acoustic experience from inside
Conversation with Alessandro Traldi -

August 1 - 13, 2015 Music Masterclasses

The postgraduate courses are geared towards young artists who, having chosen music as their way of life, are now searching for a Master from whom to learn the secrets of the profession.
The excellence of VPM teaching staff and their analytical approach to the issues faced when preparing orchestral and solo competitions, make of our courses an unparalleled offering in Sicily.

Every aspect of the performance is discussed with the student: preparing the instrument, relaxation and breathing techniques, study of chamber music scores.

Individual lessons.
Chamber music lessons.

Villa Pennisi in Musica 2015 Artists

Michele Campanella - www.michelecampanella.org
Sestetto Stradivari -
Javier Girotto -
Ezio Bosso -
Roberto Gonzalez - Leader Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
David Romano, Section Leader Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
Raffaele Mallozzi, Solo Viola Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
Diego Romano, Assistant Principal cello Orchestra Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Nello Nicotra, Bass Teacher - Istituto Musicale Bellini Catania
Andrea Oliva, Solo Flute Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
Edoardo Giachino - Percussionist Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
Francesco Bossone, Solo bassoon Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra
Viktor Stenhjem - violinst - soloist
Epifanio Comis - pianist - soloist, teacher Istituto Musicale Bellini Catania
Red4quartet -


August 1 - 13, 2015 Video Making Workshop

The workshop will be held in Acireale by following and documenting step by step the activities of VPM Summer school and Festival during the ten days of his life, discovering in the meanwhile the baroque pearls of Acireale, leaded by Anton Giulio Onofri.


August, 4-13 - Villa Pennisi in Musica 2015 Festival

Goal of the Festival is the "Musical colonization" of Acireale, taking advantage of the wonderful location that the baroque town offers, trying to bring back former splendor its theater recently restored - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teatro-Bellini-Acireale/1508848889402464

The festival will follow this handbook -

All points of Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead guitarist - very trendy - will be followed slavishly.
In addition, the festival will be highly partecipated by the audience of the concert: every evening a musician will explain the musical program; they will be required to complete a questionnaire on the acoustic qualities of the acoustics shell as a part of the research and will be invited to attend the "making of" the festival by a communication campaign on the territory.

VPM Festival will be very in touch also with the home public with the streaming of the entire event: lectures, concerts, daily interviewed, making focus on a topic, whether it be music, research, architecture, acoustics. While streaming evenings you can chat with VPM on FB profile or TW and the questions will be answered, where possible, in real time.


The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grand for this project, to achieve the following goals:

Goals of Villa Pennisi in Musica 2015

1_Training and specialization of 40 students of architecture / lighting design / acoustic - Architecture workshop.

2_Training and specialization of 60 musicians - Postgraduate courses for advanced musical studies.

3_Building, acoustic testing and design of the ReS structure- joint research project between the MAR Association, Gridshell.it, Buro Happold London, University Federico II of Naples. Villa Pennisi in Music Festival - Students and teachers together on stage.

4_Special concert for Save The Children Italia.

5_Special concerts for onlus associations operating in Acireale area

6_Workshop of videomaking with the subject "Acireale city of Music and Architecture" and a documentary for later airing on Sky Classic

7_ Workshop of percussion for the children and young people of Acireale

8_Photo exhibition in the spaces of the Foyer of the Teatro Bellini

8_Special event LEGO

10_Launch an App for iOs platform

11_LIVE STREAMING of the whole event by partnering with Mandarin

During the Villa Pennisi in Music Festival, the students will have the chance to confront the creation of LIVE OPEN AIR events in a different frame of mind, actively participating in every step of the process from the know-how needed to prepare and build-up a high-performance acoustic stage, to the real life concerts.

Thanks to the participation of renowned musicians, artists and professionals, to the multifunctional structure where events of the highest level are presented and to the richness of such an artistic and educational offer unique to this area, Villa Pennisi in Music has become both an international Festival of the highest level and a reference point for the Sicilian cultural life.

think global, act local
you are here: Home  > Projects:  Cultural/Artistic or Europe  (or Both)  > 2013-035  > Project Description 2015