Concertisti Classica, la musica classica in Italia
Classical Music in Italy
Close this search box.
National Academy of Santa Cecilia Foundation - Rome
The National Academy of Santa Cecilia is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world. Founded in 1585, over the centuries it was transformed from an association of musicians of local importance into a modern internationally renowned symphonic concert organization. Since 1998 it has been a private law foundation by law.


The Season of Concerts of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia takes place at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. The 2021–22 Season includes 28 symphonic concerts, 18 chamber concerts, an opera in concert form and a special Christmas concert.

Other rooms or locations

Sala Santa Cecilia 2800 seats

Sinopoli Hall 1200 seats

Sala Petrassi 700 seats

Cavea 3000 seats


The National Academy of Santa Cecilia plays an important role in the higher education sector. It offers three-year courses of musical specialization aimed at obtaining a diploma, recognized by the MIUR, and free one-year specialization courses.

Museum space

The Museum of Musical Instruments (MUSA) inaugurated in 2008 at the Parco della Musica, exhibits about 140 instruments chosen from among the most significant and precious pieces of the Academy's museum heritage, which includes more than five hundred pieces including instruments, accessories, objects and memorabilia .

Founded in 1585 in Rome, the National Academy of Santa Cecilia is among the oldest musical institutions in the world.

The academic body, currently made up of about 100 members (of which 30 honorary) includes illustrious Italian and foreign musicians and eminent cultural figures. The Academy boasts an orchestra and a symphonic choir among the most accredited in the international field, is active in the field of advanced musical education and preserves a very rich historical heritage.

From the 2003 there seat of the Concert Season of the Academy of Santa Cecilia is theAuditorium Parco della Musica in Rome (where the artistic and administrative structure, the Bibliomediateca and the Museum are located).

The historical site dell'Accademia is located a few steps from Piazza di Spagna, in Via Vittoria n. 6, still registered office and place where the Postgraduate Courses are held.


Official foundation act of the ancient 'Congregation of Musicians' which gave rise - along the arc of secular transformations - to the current Academy, is the papal bull Ratione congruit, promulgated by Sixtus V in 1585.

The association, which began to take shape already in the previous decade, brought together the most important Chapel Masters and Cantors active in Rome, including Giovanni Pierluigi from Palestrina who guided him, Luca Marenzio, Giovanni Francesco and Felice Anerio, the Nanino brothers.

It had its first, illustrious seat at Santa Maria ad Martyres, the Pantheon (1585-1622). In the following years he moved between several other churches (including Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, 1652-61 and the Chiesa della Maddalena, 1663-85) before settling in 1685 in San Carlo ai Catinari, at the chapel of Santa Cecilia.

The Congregation, according to the practice of the time, had both artistic, welfare and professional protection purposes. Among the priorities, acquire the right to regulate the exercise of the secular music profession in Rome, ensure privileges for the teaching and printing of music, and for the concert activity an occasion of religious holidays.

He therefore often found himself in a position of rivalry with the other important musical association of papal Rome, the Cantors of the Sistine Chapel. The contrasts persisted over the centuries until the fall of the temporal power of the Church in 1870.

However the prestige of the Cecilians continued to grow, and among its members at the beginning of the 18th century the illustrious names of Arcangelo Corelli, Bernardo Pasquini, Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, Niccolò Jommelli, Baldassarre Galuppi, Nicola Zingarelli, Pasquale Anfossi.

Period of particular splendor was the one that the cardinal saw Peter Ottoboni protector of the Congregation (1691-1739); in that same period the Brief of confirmation (1716) of Innocent XI obliged all the musicians working in Rome to register as Cecilian members. Also noteworthy is the appointment of the composer in 1774 Maria Rosa Coccia, the first woman associated with the association.

With the revolutionary winds blowing across Europe, the official activity of the Congregation was suspended, but resumed regularly in 1822, after the Restoration took place. In the following years, the association opened up to other professions related to music such as poets, dancers, music historians, instrument makers and music publishers. In 1838, the Congregation of Santa Cecilia was transformed from an association into Academy, then Pontifical Academy, of international importance.

In those years, the list of members included all the major exponents of the European musical world, among others Cherubini, Mercadante, Donizetti, Mayr, Rossini, Paganini, Spohr, Auber, Liszt, Thalberg, Czerny, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Thomas, Halévy, Gounod, Meyerbeer, the dancers Maria Taglioni, Fanny Cerrito, the actress Adelaide Ristori, the librettists Jacopo Ferretti is Carlo Pepoli. Among the honorary members there was no shortage of sovereigns, including Queen Victoria of England and Prince Consort Albert, the Prussian royals William IV and Elizabeth Ludovica, the kings of Naples Ferdinand II and Maria Teresa Isabella of Austria.

With the unification of Italy, for now Direction Accademia di Santa Cecilia new scenarios opened up: starting from 1895 a choir it's a symphony orchestra stable, and the nascent concert activity - focused on the symphonic, chamber and choral repertoire - took the form of the regular concert seasons that take place to date.

The Academy found one site definitive in the former Convent of the Ursulines in Street Victory (still today the registered office and place where the specialization courses are held), where the library, the instrumental museum and the musical high school were established, which later became autonomous as a Conservatory.

The Academic Hall, made in 1894 designed by the architect Pompeo Coltellacci, it was the seat of the concerts of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia from 1895 to 1908, where they conducted among others, Mascagni (1904), Toscanini (1905), Saint-Saëns (1906) Mahler (1907) Richard Strauss (1908). In 1908 the symphonic season was moved to Augusteo Theater, built on the ruins of the Mausoleum of Augustus and subjected to an intense restructuring work due to the interest of the Academy, which made it the seat of its concerts until the demolitions of 1936. The symphonic concerts then continued at the nearby Adriano Theater of Piazza Cavour until 1946.

The Sala di Via Vittoria continued to host the chamber music concerts of the Academy until 1982: they played there among others Ravel, Casella, Busoni, Cortot, Rubinstein, Stravinskij, Prokof'ev, Horowitz, Bartok, Kreisler, Oistrakh, Milstein, Backhaus, Arrau, Lipatti, Honegger, Hindemith, Schönberg, as far as Pollini, Rostropovich, Italian Quartet, Barenboim-Du Pré, Ciani, Brendel, Radu Lupu.

After the war, the long presidency (1895-1947) of Enrico di San Martino, an important figure in cultural politics and entertainment at the turn of the century, ended for the Academy - now National - of Santa Cecilia a new period began.

The question of the venue remained unresolved: the concerts of the Orchestra moved to Argentina Theater (1946-1958), awaiting the outcome of the architectural competition (1952-54) which should have led to a definitive solution. After the competition failed, from the 1958-59 season it will be theAuditorium Pio of Via della Conciliazione to host the Cecilian concerts, until the end of the century.

Meanwhile in the 1967 the Law 800 of reform of the Entertainment, establishes the Autonomous management of the Concerts of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, which thus becomes a public body, with the task of organizing and managing the concert seasons.

A new mutation takes place in 1998, when the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, like the other autonomous Italian bodies in the sector, is transformed by law into Private law foundation.

An epochal turning point finally comes with the construction of theAuditorium Parco of Music, designed by Renzo Piano, one of the largest ensembles dedicated to music in the world. From 2003 it will become the 'home' of the Academy and seat of the Concert Season, with an ever greater expansion of the activity.

Currently, the programming is divided into two seasons, symphonic and chamber, in addition to a summer season, the Family Concerts, educational reviews ("Tutti a Santa Cecilia" for children and teenagers), of chamber and polyphonic choral repertoire, as well as festivals thematic and tours in Italy and abroad.


The Orchestra

The Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia was the first in Italy to devote itself exclusively to the symphonic repertoire, promoting first performances of important masterpieces of the twentieth century. From 1908 to today the Orchestra has collaborated with the greatest musicians of the century: it was conducted, among others, by Mahler, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinskij, Sibelius, Hindemith, Toscanini, Furtwängler, De Sabata, Solti, Mengelberg, Karajan, Masur, Abbado is Kirill Petrenko. Its permanent directors have been Bernardino Molinari, Franco Ferrara, Fernando Previtali, Igor Markevitch, Thomas Schippers, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Daniele Gatti is Myung-Whun Chung.

From 1983 to 1990 Leonard Bernstein it was the Honorary President; from 2005 Antonio Pappano is the Music Director. Thanks to Sir Antonio Pappano, the prestige of the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia has had an extraordinary momentum, obtaining important international awards.

With Pappano, the Orchestra and the Chorus have been guests of the major festivals: London Proms, St. Petersburg White Nights Festival, Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Festival, and the most prestigious concert halls, including the Berlin Philharmonie, Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Scala in Milan, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Semperoper in Dresden, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Carnegie Hall in New York.

The Orchestra also boasts a long and intense record activity with some of the most famous international labels.

The Choir

the Choir of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia only from the end of the nineteenth century began to assume a stable structure and to participate in the performances of polyphonic music and of the great symphonic-vocal repertoire.

It is currently headed by Piero Monti. The Choir participates in the concert seasons of the Academy alongside the Orchestra for the performance of great symphonic-choral works.

He has also collaborated with prestigious orchestras and famous conductors including Lorin Maazel, Carlo Maria Giulini, Claudio Abbado, Valery Gergiev, Sir Colin Davis, Daniele Gatti, Berliner Philharmoniker, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker Orchester National de France, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and has taken part in prestigious festivals such as the Proms in London, the Salzburg Festival, the Festival de Saint-Denis, the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. Together with the Accademia Orchestra it also boasts a rich discography.

National Academy of Santa Cecilia Foundation - Rome

Could it be interesting for you

Antonio Pappano𝄞 Piano conductor

Read More
Contents created with the contribution of the Organization's website
  • Not to be missed




    Concert Season


    101st Arena di Verona Opera Festival 2024

    From 7 June to 7 September '24

    Verdi Festival of Parma and Busseto, XXIV Edition

    From 21 September to 20 October '24

    LacMus Festival 2024

    From 9 July to 21 July '24

    Bologna Festival 2024 – 43rd edition

    From 18 March to 6 November '24

    Lucca Classica X edition

    From 24 April Ended 28 April '24