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"Breve percorso di 26 anni"

Breve percorso di 26 Autunni Musicali a Como


A short summary of Autunno Musicale


"Autunno Musicale a Como" was created in 1967 thanks to the commitment of two musicians: Mrs. Gisella Belgeri, Mr. Italo Gomez and former president of Azienda Autonoma di Soggiorno di Como, Mr. Giampiero Maiocchi. The newborn festival brought renovation in a town where the main music institutions (Teatro Sociale, Ente Concerti Marco Enrico Bossi and Associazione Giosuè Carducci dealing with popular culture) were created in the XIXth century and were characterised by a conservative attitude in the choice of repertoires and performers.

The activity of Como branch of "Gioventù Musicale d'Italia", which started a lively concert and conference activity in 1965, and the enthusiasm of a group of young musicians, members of an ensemble specialized in contemporary music, "Società Cameristica Italiana", were essential to the birth of the festival. Since its debut Autunno Musicale presented precise features for Como' s audience: cycles centred upon specific themes, strict connection between listening and critical analysis with debates, conferences and exhibitions opening to contemporary music. The interest in the "New Music", which was spreading all over Europe at that time, did not only enable Autunno Musicale to become one of the most important Italian avantgarde festivals. It also contributed to determine its essential guidelines and its structure up to the end of the 1970s. In the wake of contemporary music experiences, the festival, initially centred upon music only, soon became a big event including every kind of performing art linked with music, splitting in a myriad of different proposals sharing the aim of breaking down the artificial barriers between the different fields of music culture. In few seasons, Autunno Musicale, which developed very quickly (from 15 events in 1967 to over 100 in 1979), gave birth to an absolutely new project in the Italian musical background: a "multispecialised" series with several musical themes were analysed in homogeneous cycles as if they were small monothematic festivals enabling at the same time the analysis of the connections between one theme and another in order to give a global vision of the phenomenon of music. The festival paid extreme attention to the latest discoveries, researches and suggestions of international music: works of forgotten or less popular composers, reprise of famous works in the philologically up-to-dated versions and a certain number of first performances. Autunno Musicale became an important point of reference for contemporary music. From the reappraisal of ancient instruments to computer music and by producing its own events it fulfilled the ambition to become a place for exchange and suggestion of new ideas. In 1967 the festival faced a problem that would never solve properly, that is to say the search for adequate space for its activity. Making a virtue out of necessity, Autunno Musicale reappraised Como's basilicas, local historical residences, churches became theatres and villas became concert halls. In 1969 "Associazione Autunno Musicale a Como" was created. Its aim was the realisation of the festival assuming its own features and a legally recognised character. In the subsequent year the festival was included in those events subsidized by the government. In 1972 it acquired importance within the framework of the local activities by creating a successful series called "Lario Musica". In 1973 the festival was recognised by the regional authorities of Lombardy and obtained the first funds from the Municipality of Como. In order to operate with more efficacy in the whole year at a local level CAMT ("Centre for music and theatre activities") was created in 1974 and was soon entrusted by Lombardy with the management of the regional project of cultural decentralization. From 1973 to 1975 the renovation brought by the festival reached Teatro Sociale, when the Municipality of Como, in agreement with Società dei Palchettisti, committed itself with the operatic season availing itself of the organizational cooperation of Autunno Musicale and the artistic direction of Mrs. Gisella Belgeri and Mr. Italo Gomez. In 1979 the richest plan of events in the history of Autunno Musicale was presented. It included events of international cooperation, own productions, radio service integrated with the events. It was the top of a unique phase in the life of this festival. In the subsequent years there was a gradual reduction of the festival with the sharpening of the same old difficulties: the financial problems connected with the slow mechanism of state subsidies and the structural problems connected with the physical impossibility of organizing operatic, theatre and concert activities. "Associazione Autunno Musicale" urged the intervention of the Municipality of Como with several collaboration projects and co-participation in the management of the festival's activities.

In 1982 with the new name "Festival Internazionale Autunno Musicale a Como" a new stability period for Autunno Musicale seemed to be possible thanks to an agreement with "Società dei Palchettisti" envisaging the utilization of Teatro Sociale and the intervention of the Municipality of Como. However, although the persons involved confirmed their commitment to overcome difficulties endangering the existence of the festival, a critical stage was soon reached. The celebrations for the 18th anniversary of the festival in 1984 did not manage to hide the crisis and right in the middle of the festival Gisella Belgeri resigned the presidency of "Associazione Autunno Musicale" with the aim of opening a wide debate on the destiny of the festival events. This debate saw the involvement of the citizens: a petition in favour of Autunno Musicale was soon signed by nearly 5000 persons. As the Municipality of Como was not available for a direct commitment in the management of the events, in 1985 a reduced festival "in exile" polemically oriented towards theatre was organized in Milan. After the elections concerning the local institutions, the proposed creation of a body with public and private involvement with the Municipality of Como and the provincial authorities, who showed particular interest in the future of the festival, Autunno Musicale returned to be presented in Como in 1986 and opened to new solutions. In the latest years the festival, undergone to profound changes, overcame the crisis: the financial situation was solved, Autunno Musicale renounced to establish an exclusive relationship with the public administration and continued its activity as a private association with precise creative autonomy. The sign of this new phase of the festival was its richest and richest programme, which remained faithful to its original features (coherent programmes, interest in less popular themes and aspects of our music history). Festival productions such as Trilogia della rappresentazione musicale (Trilogy of music performance) and the evening event Il passato al futuro (The past in the future) were included in other events. Thanks to the analysis of the medieval period - started in 1986 and carried on with determination - Autunno Musicale has acquired an avantgarde place in the ltalian music background by planning "Il canto delle pietre", the first event at a regional level in Europe. Thanks to the promotion action of the regional authorities of Lombardy, "Il canto delle pietre" has become an example of collaboration and cooperation for the implementation of a cultural project. The professional skill and experience gathered in over 20 years' activity has been utilized to enable Autunno Musicale to become a proposition and organization mover for a series of events overcoming the narrow borders of the town. In spring 1989 "Comitato Lombardia Musica" was hence created by the Provincial authorities of Como and Cantù and Autunno Musicale was entrusted with the operative secretariat. "Comitato Lombardia Musica" was created in order to coordinate the resources of the local bodies in the field of cultural promotion and to operate in strict contact with the Regional authorities of Lombardy.

In a brief span of time Autunno Musicale-Comitato Lombardia Musica have organized musical events in collaboration with the Municipality of Pavia and Varese, the Provincial authorities of Cremona and Canton of Ticino.

On the eve of its 26 years' activity, Autunno Musicale presents itself as an extremely lively body, with several features, a source of ideas and professional skill once again oriented towards the future.


Cristiano Ostinelli