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IMAGES OF MUSIC IN ROME: PAST AND PRESENT Nineteenth symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Iconography of the Performing Arts Rome (Roma, 18–20 Maggio 2023)


Rome has been through the centuries the town with an intensive and varied musical life. In antiquity, it was a Caput Mundi reaching with its influences all the distant corners of three continents and attracting to its orbit a variety of travelers and immigrants. Later on, it became the center of the Papal State witnessing elaborate ceremonies in its churches, aristocratic palaces, and public spaces. Its spirituality and history were for centuries attracting curious travelers, pious pilgrims, and powerful aristocrats. Rome’s wealth and power were bringing to the city the most famous artists and musicians, turning the town into the prolific and lively center of extravagant performances of operas, oratorios, and other music spectacles. Young intellectuals were stopping there on Grand Tours to learn about history, advanced sciences, and to enjoy the arts. As the capital of unified Italy, Rome was a center of musical life, always in a position to showcases aesthetics promoted by the country’s political power.

The conference will address visual sources documenting performances and musical life in general that was occurring in private and public spaces of Rome:

  • Musical life in antiquity
  • Performances in Roman churches and sacral spaces
  • Political rituals; coronations and inaugurations
  • Performances in palaces of Roman aristocrats and their patronage
  • Interactions of musicians with Grand Tourists
  • Opera, oratorio and other spectacles: Scenography and performance spaces
  • Travelers and pilgrims
  • The emergency of classicism
  • Portraits of Roman musicians
  • Traditional music and dance in the Roman Campagna
  • Music in photography and films set in Rome

Program committee:
Luca AVERSANO, Università Roma Tre, Rome
Antonio BALDASSARRE, Hochschule Luzern – Musik
Zdravko BLAŽEKOVIĆ, City University of New York, The Graduate Center Daniela CASTALDO, Università del Salento, Lecce
Cristina SANTARELLI, Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte, Turin