By Jennifer D. Webb

Gioachino Rossini died on November 13th, 1868 in Passy (Paris). Born in Pesaro (Italy) to musical parents, Rossini was recognized by his contemporaries as the “greatest composer of his time.” His father, born in Lugo, was a horn player and his mother, Anna, from Urbino was the secondo donna in Ancona and, then, the prima donna in Ferrara by Carnivale Season of 1799. Already recorded performing on the viola in Fano in 1801, the young Rossini was composing by 1802. His first opera was commissioned in 1810 and was followed quickly by additional projects; five of his first nine operas were composed for the Teatro San Moisè in Venice.

While Rossini’s fame took him around Western Europe, he never forgot his hometown in the Marche region. In his will he left funds for a music conservatory in Pesaro and donated his final remaining autographs. The Conservatorio Rossini is housed in the Palazzo Olivieri. The palace was built in 1749 by local architect and painter, Giannandrea Lazzarini, for the patron, Annibale Olivieri. The frescoes decorating the offices and smaller practice rooms include  a cycle depicting the Illustrious Men and Women of Pesaro (1763) and the Sala die Marmi (1772) all completed by Lazzarini and his students.

The structure was renovated in 1892 to better suit the needs of the Conservatory including the addition of a performance hall, the Salone Pedrotti, named for the first director, Carlo Pedrotti. The Conservatorio Rossini also houses an extensive music library as well as displays manuscripts the composer left in his will.

Recently the Fondazione Rossini has published some of documentary material and, since 1980, the Rossini Opera Festival stages operas and provides training in Rossini’s vocal practices. The Conservatorio continues to look to the future of music education and now houses a cutting-edge sound lab.

References: Philip Gosset. “Rossini, Gioachino.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.; Conservatorio Rossini

Etienne Carjat, Gioachino Rossini, 1865. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Birthplace of Rossini. Pesaro. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Giannandrea Lazzarini & workshop. Interior views, Palazzo Olivieri. (1749-1772). Pesaro, Italy. Photo credit: Jennifer D. Webb

Further reading: Osborne, Richard. Rossini (Master Musicians Series). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007; Senici, Emanuele. The Cambridge Companion to Rossini. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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