Developing a Young Audience for Contemporary Music Exchanging Experiences among Composers, Performers and High School and College Students

Project location: ITALY, Milan
Project start date: October 2014 - Project end date: April 2015
Project number: 2014-039
Beneficiary: Milano Musica - Associazione per la Musica Contemporanea


Milano Musica was set up with the aim of spreading  knowledge and appreciation of that vast repertoire of XX century music which represents the core of the diversified artistic proposal that characterizes the Festival programs.
The Association was officially founded by Luciana Abbado Pestalozza in 1992 under Paolo Martelli's presidency (then followed by Riccardo Muti in 1998, by Ralph Fassey in 2008 and in 2012 by Federico Spinola), with the primary aim of creating an International Contemporary Music Festival in Milan.
Since then, Milano Musica, in collaboration with Teatro alla Scala, has organized a Festival every year, alternating between monographic editions and more "general" ones, "New Paths in Music" Festivals, proposing a wider and more differentiated selection of music and authors, so as to present a panoramic view of the current musical scene including the most recent works by young composers.
Monographic Festivals have been dedicated to Edgar Varèse (1994), Luciano Berio (1996), György Kurtág (1998), Luigi Nono (2000), György Ligeti (2003), Iannis Xenakis (2005), John Cage (2007), Toru Takemitsu (2009), Hugues Dufourt (2010), Helmut Lachenmann (2011), Niccolò Castiglioni (2012), Morton Feldman (2013), with growing appreciation from the critics and increasing public participation.
The 23rd Milano Musica Festival, which will take place in Milan between 9th October and 15th November 2014, is dedicated to Fausto Romitelli (1963-2004), one of the most emblematic and visionary composers of his generation.
The Festival, with symphonic and chamber music concerts, two of them scheduled at Teatro alla Scala, internationally renowned orchestras, ensembles and soloists, and related free events (lectures, workshops, concerts and video presentations) drives a strong renovation by promoting a wide range of musical programmes to appeal to a broad audience.
In addition, Milano Musica supports the commission of new works as well as educational activities in order to engage and develop young audiences while promoting experimental projects to spread the culture of contemporary music across secondary schools and universities.

One of the main objectives for cultural cooperation projects is to contribute to audience development by helping European artists/cultural professionals and their works reach new and larger audiences and improve access to cultural and creative works in the European Union and beyond.
This reflection becomes more and more evident in the case of contemporary music that needs to be conveyed in the appropriate forms and places.
The lack of adequate educational provision and effective promotion activities, together with a repertoire still perceived as too elitist, have distanced the younger audience over time and left another sizeable group of potential listeners indifferent, breaking the circuit of communication between composers and the audience and depriving the musical creation of a very important tool of comparison.
Compared to similar European initiatives, the audience of Milano Musica Festival is particularly large and loyal, competent and curious, but with an average age of over 50.
Since 2008 the Festival's promotion activities have been aimed at increasing the audience. More and more young people, especially students, involved through targeted projects, have attended the concerts.
Nevertheless, new strategies of engagement for young audiences are needed, through experimental projects that overcome the main barriers for access to contemporary music but also classical music (repertoire and ticket price).
With the project "Developing a Young Audience for Contemporary Music 2014" Milano Musica intends to increase the Festival's audience involving the younger generations in new ways of experiencing contemporary music.

This project received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation. Its aims are three-fold:
a) Encourage the listening and knowledge of the contemporary music repertoire through experimental training activities and new educational methods aimed at the involvement of a younger audience, particularly students from Junior High School, High Schools and Universities.
b) Promote the attendance of young people at highly rated music concerts through special dedicated ticket concessions (Euro 5, particularly for concerts at Teatro alla Scala)
c) Renew the dialogue between the music creators and the younger audience. The Festival has commissioned new works each year from Italian and international composers, and entrusts the premiere to world class performers. For the 2014 edition Milano Musica has commissioned and will present the world premiere of new works by Giovanni Verrando, Riccardo Nova, Emanuele Casale, Giovanni Mancuso and Mauro Montalbetti.

The Project entails 3 main lines of activities dedicated to Junior High Schools, High Schools and University Students.
Regarding Junior High Schools and High Schools the method will be based on active musical listening involving the students in a critical dialogue together with the project staff and the Festival's composers and performers.
As for the University, the students of Musicology will be encouraged to develop an aware and professional critical approach to contemporary music.
1) High Schools, Milan and Lombardy
"It Sounds New - Contemporary Music Promotional Project for High School Students" organized in collaboration with Teatro alla Scala Cultural Promotion Office, started in 2010 and over the last four years has involved over 3165 high school students, of whom 500 in 2013, from Milan and Lombardy, and it will be strongly developed in 2014. The planned activities will include the students attending the Festival Concerts (at a special promotional ticket price), introduced by preparatory lectures held during school hours by Giuseppe Califano, a young composer and music teacher. Milano Musica will organize an introductory meeting, with the project staff and teachers from the selected High Schools. All the teachers involved in the project, along with the representative of Milano Musica and La Scala, will select the most suitable concerts for the students to attend, bringing the initiative closer to the younger generation's sensitivity.

Operational procedures:
a) Introductory Lecture on Contemporary Music (in line with Fausto Romitelli's aesthetics, the introductory lectures will be focused on electronic music):
Number of lectures: 8 (length: 1h. each, during school hours)
b) Preparatory Lecture on the Selected Concerts (the preparatory lectures will be based on the selected concert programs, with a perspective beyond the musical and historical background):
Number of lectures: 36 (25 students per lecture, lasting 1h. each, during school hours)
c) Concert Attendance (Number of selected concerts: 6)
The students (provisional number 900/1.000 for the whole Festival), together with the teachers and Giuseppe Califano, will attend the selected concerts at the special promotional ticket price of 5 Euro (two concerts at Teatro alla Scala included). The Nando Peretti Foundation should bear 50% of the total amount of the ticket costs normally considered at 10 Euro each (max ticket price at La Scala for the Milano Musica Festival Euro 35).
d) Attendance at Selected Open Rehearsals.
e) Meeting with the Composers and Performers. At the end of selected Festival concerts a small group of students will have the unique opportunity to meet and dialogue with the composers and the performers.
f) Milano Musica on the web. In 2014 Milano Musica is increasing its presence on the web, in order to involve the students also through targeted social networks activities.

2) University of Milan, Faculty of Musicology
The workshop "Listening to the Present - Appreciating 20th Century Music" organized in collaboration with the University of Milan, Faculty of Musicology, will involve students in their second or third year. Their attendance will be recognized by the University with official credits.

Operational procedures:
a) Preparatory Lecture on Selected Concerts (a preparatory lecture on selected concert programs will be held by the Musicology Department). Number of lectures: 5
b) Concert attendance (the students will attend selected Festival concerts for free, instead of Euro 10/35 at La Scala). Number of selected concerts: 5
c) Critical review of concerts by the students. The students enrolled in the workshop will have the chance to write a critical review of the concerts attended. The reviews will later be published on the Milano Musica website.

3) Junior High School, Baranzate (Milan)
The workshop Play... with music! organized within the Festival Cultura Creativa ( is designed for the students of the Gianni Rodari Music Junior High School in Baranzate (Milan), a multiethnic public institution in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Milan (with 87 different ethnicities) and it is the starting point of a project with great future potential. The students, under the guidance of a young composer and music teacher, will discover the "tools of the trade" for the art of musical composition. These activities will lead to their proposal of some musical material based on their specific composition choices.
Operational procedures:
Two phases:
May 2014 The workshop, with the guitar and cello classes, will introduce the young musicians to music composition through an approach that will place them at the very heart of the musical composition experience.
Number of lectures: 2 (15 students per lecture, length 2 h. each, outside school hours)
January/March 2015 The workshop, with the whole school orchestra, will lead to the composition of their identity jingle, that will be played as an opening piece in all the concerts. This jingle will be also recorded as a video.
Number of lectures: 6 (length 2 h. each, outside school hours)

Anticipated achievements or outcomes of the Project
1. High Schools, Milan and Lombardy
In 2014, "It Sounds New, now in its fifth year, will involve approximately 900/1000 students
Expected medium-term outcome: Milano Musica Festival's audience increase
Audience 2013: 7.800
Expected audience 2014: 9.000
Students 2013: 500
Expected students 2014 900/1.000

2. University of Milan, Faculty of Musicology
Number of Students: 15
Critical reviews of the concerts will be published on

3. Junior High School, Baranzate (MI)
The ultimate outcome of the workshop Play... with music! will be the composition and the audio-recording of a short piece with the musical elements of the different cultures and different sound landscapes in which the students are immersed: a mix of ingredients that can be representative of the multiple cultural identities coexisting on a daily basis in schools.
In 2015 Milano Musica will organize the composition workshop Play... with music!, in collaboration with the members of the Baranzate Orchestra, and the piece will be video-recorded.


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