Music and Institutions in Fascist Italy


edited by Roberto Illiano and Luca Lévi Sala, Turmhout, Brepols, 2024 (Music, Criticism & Politics, 10).

In the 1920s and 1930s, the entire process of renovation of the cultural institutions conducted by the Fascists, implemented through the Ministry of National Education, imposed a strong concentration of power on the Italian school administrations, especially the universities, and created new national institutions. At the same time, the Fascist Cultural Institute (IFC), which under the leadership of Giovanni Gentile aspired to be a charitable organisation for the promotion of the culture typical of pre-Fascist associations, was placed after 1937 directly under the National Fascist Party, which changed its name to the National Institute of Fascist Culture (INCF), with the aim of giving the party itself the task of educating the new leadership. The relationship between intellectuals and power under Fascism was aligned into a perspective of orientation that attributed the party with the role of educator of homo novus, summarised in a phrase from Mussolini himself: «Fascism is a great orchestra, where everyone plays a different instrument». A particular concern of the ruling class was to develop a production-fruition process involving all social classes, in order to offer them the feeling of being part of a solid, free and fair system. However, this conception was not explicit in the artistic expressions of the regime: the construction of a social apparatus proceeded underground through the channels of the productive and hierarchical apparatus of the institutions, rather than through the creation of a tangible aesthetic of the regime. In summary: culture had to be the expression of a common heritage belonging both to the people and to the intellectuals; it bore the task of providing a fascist conception of the world.

Roberto Illiano is General Secretary of the Centro Studi Opera omnia Luigi Boccherini and President of the Italian National Edition of Muzio Clementi’s Complete Works. Graduated in musicology from the University of Pavia (Italy), he also received a M.Mus in Musical Philology and Paleography from the same University. He collaborated with the Stichting-Fondazione Pietro Antonio Locatelli of Amsterdam-Cremona from 1999. He is General Editor of the series ‘Speculum Musicae’ and ‘Staging and Dramaturgy: Opera and the Performing Arts’ (Brepols Publishers), and is a member of the advisory board of the Italian National Edition of Luigi Boccherini’s Complete Works (Secretary Treasurer) and the Italian National Edition of Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s Complete Works (Secretary Treasurer). A founder of Ad Parnassum: A Journal on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Instrumental Music, he is a member of the editorial staff of the series Ad Parnassum Studies and Quaderni Clementiani (Ut Orpheus Edizioni). He has published a variety of writing (edited volumes, articles, editions, and dictionaries entries) on 19th– and 20th-century music, in particular on Luigi Dallapiccola and Italian music under the Italian fascism.

Luca Lévi Sala Ph.D. is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Manhattan College (NYC) and Visiting Scholar at New York University. He was Visiting Teaching Professor at Jagiellonian University in Cracow (2021) and at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (2020-2021), former Professeur associé at Université de Montréal (2017-2020), Visiting Researcher at New York University (2017) and Visiting Research Fellow at Yale University (2015-2016). He has published a range of articles and chapters, reviews and reports (also serving as a peer-reviewer) in various international books and refereed journals, including Early Music, Journal of Musicological Research, Notes, Revue de musicologie, Studi musicali, Journal of Jewish Identities, Rivista Italiana di Musicologia, Ad Parnassum Journal, Studia Chopinowskie, Musica Jagellonica, Eighteenth-Century Music, Analecta Musicologica, Oxford Bibliographies Online, MGG, Grove Music Online. His book Music Criticism and Politics in the Italian Fascist State in the 1930s is committed for Palgrave Macmillan.

Previous articleMusical Exoticism. The Mediterranean and Beyond in the Long Nineteenth Century
Next articleAd Parnassum Journal – Vol. 20 – No. 39- October 2022