Developing and expanding upon 30 years of experience racked up by Torino’s original and prestigious SettembreMusica, beginning in 2007 the festival became MITO SettembreMusica as Torino and Milano teamed up for a joint effort in the arts. A slew of great musical performances at popular prices throughout the month of September invades theaters, concert halls, churches, courtyards and piazzas, transforming Torino and Milano into one immense concert venue! MITO SettembreMusica may be considered at the forefront of integration processes involving the two host cities and a prime example of cultural vitality. Recent editions of our annual 3-week musical cavalcade have counted over 100 initiatives in each of the host cities and a minimum of 2-3 daily performances in Torino and Milano.
The Torino SettembreMusica festival got its start in 1978 thanks to efforts by Giorgio Balmas, then Commissioner for Culture and the Arts in Torino and always an original and unforgotten cultural promoter. It was the first festival in Italy to bring highbrow music out of the concert hall and attract brand-new audiences with well-stocked, novel programs. In 1986 Roman Vlad and Enzo Restagno took over artistic direction of the festival. They worked in tandem until 2006, when Enzo Restagno took the helm and went on to assume leadership of MITO SettembreMusica one year later. In Torino, since the beginning, Claudio Merlo has been a key element in realizing the season while also being responsible for the organizational structure. At the side of Francesco Micheli, Francesca Colombo manages the organizational and artistic functions in Milano.
The festival presents a wide range of musical genres, from highbrow – featuring early, classical and contemporary, with symphonic and chamber music concerts – to jazz, rock, pop and singer-songwriter performances, with projects often created exclusively for MITO SettembreMusica. Since 1982 SettembreMusica has presented pioneering and important focus series on major contemporary composers, including Louis Andriessen, Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Elliot Carter, Franco Donatoni, Henry Dutilleux, Sofja Gubajdulina, Hans Werner Henze, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Peter Maxwell Davies, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Nono, Arvo Pärt, Goffredo Petrassi, Steve Reich, Alfred Schnittke, Salvatore Sciarrino, Toru Takemitsu, Isang Yun, Iannis Xenakis. Since 1985 artist focus series have been accompanied by the publication of monographs in collaboration with major Italian publishers.
This brief rundown of just some of the artists that have appeared at the festival since 1978 provides a glimpse at what to expect in terms of content: Claudio 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, Uri Caine, Vinicio Capossela, Myung-Whun Chung, Ornette Coleman, Paolo Conte, Chick Corea, Colin Davis, Ivano Fossati, Richard Galliano, Severino Gazzelloni, H.K. Gruber, Natalia Gutman, Herbie Hancock, Gidon Kremer, Ute Lemper, Lorin Maazel, Fiorella Mannoia, Mau Mau, Kurt Masur, Neville Marriner, Bobby McFerrin, Brad Mehldau, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Murray Perahia, Michel Petrucciani, Maurizio Pollini, Enrico Rava, Lou Reed, Mstislav Rostropovic, Jordi Savall, Hanna Schygulla, Uto Ughi, Cassandra Wilson, Yuri Temirkanov, McCoy Tyner, Krystian Zimerman…
Until 2006 SettembreMusica was organized by the City of Torino, with support from Torino’s Teatro Regio Foundation and Unione Musicale. Since 2007 the festival has been promoted jointly by the Cities of Milano and Torino. Milano organization is covered by the Milano International Music Festival Association, directed by Francesco Micheli, while the Torino segment of the festival is organized by the Foundation for Musical Activities, headed by Angelo Chianale.