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Society of the Milan Quartet
In over 150 years, the Quartet Season has contributed to writing the history of music in Italy

Season

The 157th Season (2021-22), signed by the artistic director Paolo Arcà, includes 23 appointments.

The 158th Season (2022 – 23), signed by the artistic director Paolo Arcà, includes 24 appointments.

The Society of the Milan Quartet it was founded in 1863 from Arrigo Boito, Tito Ricordi and other protagonists of Milanese cultural life ("Lovers of good music") with the aim of spreading the knowledge and passion for instrumental music, especially chamber music.

The dominance of melodrama over the entire Italian musical world had restricted the space for instrumental music - symphonic and concert activity in theaters was minimal, very few concert halls and stable ensembles, little knowledge of musical developments beyond the Alps Instrumental and chamber music in particular was known only to a small circle of fans.

Starting from the mid-nineteenth century, various intellectuals, enthusiasts and musicians in response to this state of affairs, started initiatives aimed at the practice and dissemination of non-operatic music. In 1861 Abramo Basevi established the Quartet Society in Florence with the aim of advancing instrumental music and especially chamber music of the "quartet" genre. The example was followed by many other Italian cities, primarily Milan, where is it the newly established Quartet Society held its first concert on June 29, 1864: on the program, music by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Mozart.

Since then, except for a brief interval in the years 1943-44, the Society has promoted concert seasons among the most prestigious in Europe, is in over 150 years of activity he has contributed to writing the history of music in Italy. Exceptional events took place on its stage - the first Italian performance of Beethoven's Ninth, Bach's St Matthew Passion, Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire, which hosted the greatest protagonists of the international scene, from the greatest interpreters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, up to the most famous concert performers of today.

The list of names is very long, which includes the entire elite of music, from Anton Rubinstein to Ferruccio Busoni, from Maurizio Pollini to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, from Hans von Bülow to Richard Strauss, from Toscanini to Claudio Abbado, from Arthur Rubinstein to Rachmaninov up to in Pollini, from Jascha Heifetz to Nathan Milstein, from the Joachim Quartet to the Italian Quartet and the Tokyo Quartet, from Elisabeth Schwarzkopf to Cecilia Bartoli, from Pablo Casals to Wanda Landowska, from Schönberg to Stravinskij. And again Giuseppe Martucci, Camille Saint-Saëns, Fritz Kreisler, Ignaz Paderewski, Wilhelm Backhaus, Alfredo Casella, Alfred Cortot, George Enescu, Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Friederich Gulda, Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti, Sviatoslav Richter , Mstislav Rostropovič, Daniel Barenboim, Jaqueline di Pré, Alfred Brendel, Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Krystian Zimerman, Martha Argerich, to name but a few.

The concert season of the Quartet Society for a very long period was exclusively reserved to the Members, who paid a substantial fee for its realization, allowing the prosperity and total economic self-sufficiency of the association for over a hundred years. Over the years, however, the limitation of access to concerts to members only had prevented a healthy turnover of the associative body, which on the other hand was contracting more and more in correspondence with the changed social and economic context, which made a transformation of the Quartet indispensable. , opening it to all the citizen public.

With the disappearance of the historic management in the early 1980s, in the last decade of the 1900s the Quartet Society actually began this process of reopening the city, with important collaborations with other city bodies (especially the Municipality of Milan and the Teatro alla Scala), adding collateral initiatives to the main season, finally eliminating the limitation of the public to members only. Indeed dto 2002 all the concerts are open to anyone with the motto "The Quartet is a privilege for all".

In December 2014 the Mayor of Milan conferred the Gold Medal of Civic Merit - better known as Ambrogino d'Oro - to the Società del Quartetto, as “an institution loved by all Milanese and a vital component of the city's cultural heritage”.

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