Milan Makes Music

In Milan, during the month of September, all music lovers will be able to enjoy a major event: throughout the month, from the centre to the suburbs, the city will resonate with the widest possible range of international musical genres.

This event actually started out in Turin. The ‘Festival Torino Settembre Musica’ began in 1978 as the brainchild of Turin’s Cuncillor for Culture Giorgio Balmas, a visionary cultural promoter whose idea was to make classical music accessible to a wider and younger audience by presenting rich and original programs.

In 2007, after a cultural twinning between Turin and Milan, the Festival’s name was changed into ‘MITO SettembreMusica’ – but the vision remained the same. The name, by the way, is a play on words that combines the abbreviations for the two industrious Northern Italian cities (MI for Milan and TO for Turin) to form the word MITO, which in turn means “myth” in Italian.

This name aptly expresses both the festival’s cultural relevance and its function as an ideal “bridge” connecting Turin and Milan, two cities that are geographically close but culturally distinct: these two large cities are only a 50-minutes train ride apart, and yet, despite globalization, maintain their characteristic roots, lifestyles and traditions, and welcome visitors with their unique atmospheres.

Since its opening, each September the Festival’s events and audiences have filled theatres, auditoriums, churches, courtyards and squares, turning the two cities into a pervasive musical experience.

The Festival is at the forefront of the integration processes between the two cities and an example of cultural vitality, to the point that the number of initiatives has now exceeded one hundred, both in Turin and in Milan, with an average of three events daily in each city.

MITO offers a single specular program for both cities, albeit with slight variations, and their orchestras exchange visits, thus establishing a further original connection between them.

So far, the Festival’s offering has ranged from ancient, classical and contemporary music, with symphonic and chamber concerts, to jazz, rock and pop music, and even songwriting performances, often with projects exclusively designed for the Festival.

Since 1982, pioneering and significant monographic exhibitions have been dedicated to the main contemporary composers such as: Thomas Adès, Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Elliot Carter, Luis De Pablo, Franco Donatoni, Henry Dutilleux, Luca Francesconi, Beat Furrer, Sofja Gubajdulina, Hans Werner Henze, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, György Ligeti, Peter Maxwell Davies, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono, Arvo Pärt, Goffredo Petrassi, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Kaija Saariaho, Alfred Schnittke, Salvatore Sciarrino, Toru Takemitsu, Isang Yun, Iannis Xenakis, Fabio Vacchi.

From 1985 to 2011 the exhibitions were supported by the publication of monographic books in collaboration with important Italian publishers.

A synthetic overview of some artists hosted since 1978 also shows the Festival’s extraordinary importance: Claudio Abbado, Roberto Abbado, Salvatore Accardo, Africa Unite, Laurie Anderson, Marta Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Chet Baker, Daniel Barenboim, Franco Battiato, Stefano Bollani, Goran Bregovic, Alfred Brendel, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Khatia Buniatishvili, Uri Caine, Vinicio Capossela, Myung-Whun Chung, Ornette Coleman, Paolo Conte, Chick Corea, Franco D’Andrea, Colin Davis, Francesco De Gregori, Dave Douglas, Eugenio Finardi, Ivan Fischer, Ivano Fossati, Richard Galliano, Severino Gazzelloni, HK Gruber, Natalia Gutman, Herbie Hancock, Gidon Kremer, Ute Lemper, Nikolai Lugansky, Lorin Maazel, Fiorella Mannoia, Mau Mau, Kurt Masur, Neville Marriner, Bobby McFerrin, Brad Mehldau, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Gianandrea Noseda, Antonio Pappano, Murray Perahia, Michel Petrucciani, Maria João Pires, Maurizio Pollini, Gregory Porter, Massimo Ranieri, Enrico Rava, Lou Reed, Vadim Repin, Mstislav Rostropovic, Fazil Say, Jordi Savall, Hanna Schygulla, Toni Servillo, David Sylvian, Uto Ughi, Cassandra Wilson, Yuri Temirkanov, McCoy Tyner, Ornella Vanoni, Krystian Zimerman …

From the nineties onwards, the Festival has also paid particular attention to ethnic music, with significant events dedicated to the musical traditions of Central Africa, China, the Himalayan region, Java, Cambodia, the Indian Kerala, Iran, Vietnam, Korea, the territories of Gypsy tradition, Japan, Turkey, Haiti and, in 2012, Morocco and Bali.

The last three years have seen maestro Nicola Campogrande as the artistic director. The president is Anna Gastel, who is well-known for having dedicated all her life to art and culture.

Thanks to their contribution, the Festival has now a renewed format that follows a chosen leitmotif, focused on classical music and open to the great repertoire of contemporary music.

This year’s theme is Dance: an all-encompassing subject, which will no doubt arouse the public’s curiosity, sparkling ideas, debates and emotions.

For the first time, the allocations of the 2018 Entertainment Fund have awarded the MITO SettembreMusica Festival with a total contribution of € 194,452 distributed between the Turin Cultural Foundation and “I Pomeriggi Musicali” of Milan. The Ministry has eventually acknowledged the great quality and national and international value of the Festival, also thanks to its long history.
MITO will be inaugurated in Turin on Monday 3 September at the Teatro Regio at the presence of the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Alberto Bonisoli; and Tuesday 4 at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra directed by American Marin Alsop and the participation of world-famous star violinist, Julia Fischer.

During the 16 days of music in each of the two cities, a total of 125 performances and events will take place, all of them programmed to be enjoyed by a wide audience.

Tickets are available at Teatro Dal Verme, Via San Giovanni sul Muro 2; tel. +39.02.87905201;; their cost ranges from a minimum of €3 to a maximum of €30. For those born in and after 2004 the price of tickets for all concerts is €5.

More info in our What’s On

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