Music Moving Images

The Italian Character

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome is probably Italy’s most significant orchestra. In his film, Angelo Bozzolini portrays the orchestra and at the same time explores how the Italian character of its way of making music is manifested. In addition, we get to know principal conductor Antonio Pappano and individual unusual musicians in the orchestra.

The Story of a Great Italian Orchestra, Film by Angelo Bozzolini (Italy 2013) with german subtitles

Dates and Tickets

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 6 p.m.

Hermann Wolff Room


Italy is not exactly known for its top-ranking symphony orchestras. The significant exception is the renowned Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, founded in 1908, of which Antonio Pappano is the chief conductor. Since 2002 the orchestra has resided in the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, a complex of buildings designed by the architect Renzo Piano with three halls. Angelo Bozzolini’s film is a documentation about the orchestra and at the same time an exploration of the “Italian style”, the “Italian character” of making music: perhaps most notably singing playing, passion, temperament, uncovering the secrets of the individual music.

You get to know chief conductor Antonio Pappano, his way of working and how he handles the members of the orchestra. Musicians speak out on the work with Pappano, group dynamics in the orchestra, about concert tours, and also reveal what they appreciate about certain guest conductors. Some sequences of this quietly directed film characterise unusual musician personalities: for instance, the female contrabassist who plays under water in a swimming pool, and the trumpeter who enjoys making music on a snow-covered mountain peak completely alone. There are also glimpses of the unspectacular, such as the passionate recreational beekeeper or the fond hobby gardener among the musicians. These too are facets of the “Italian character” in its broadest sense.

(c) Alpenway