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It was originally located in the church of the former monastery of San Sebastiano and was called the Conservatorio di San Sebastiano, formed in 1807 by the merger of the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto, the Conservatorio di Sant' Onofrio in Capuana, and the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini. It also became known as the Real Collegio di Musica, and after 1826 when it moved to its current location, as the Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella.
Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella
The conservatory and adjacent church are today part of the old San Pietro a Majella monastic complex, built at the end of the 13th century and dedicated to the monk Pietro da Morone, who became Pope Celestine V in 1294. The conservatory houses an impressive library of manuscripts pertaining to the lives and musical production of composers who lived and worked in Naples, among whom are Alessandro Scarlatti, Pergolesi, Domenico Cimarosa, Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti. Vittorio Monti, who around 1904 composed the famous Csárdás, studied violin and composition at this conservatory. Another student was Leonardo De Lorenzo, flautist of many American orchestras and teacher at the Eastman School of Music. The historical museum has a display of rare antique musical instruments.
The historic conservatories
San Pietro a Majella is actually the last in a long string of establishments that have been music conservatories in Naples. Their existence goes back to the Spanish rule of the city as a vicerealm starting in the early 16th century. These early conservatories were Santa Maria di Loreto, Pietà dei Turchini, Sant'Onofrio a Capuana, and I Poveri di Gesù Cristo. They enjoyed a considerable reputation as training grounds not only for young children to be trained in church music, but, eventually, as a feeder system into the world of commercial music once that opened up in the early 17th century.
Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto
Santa Maria di Loreto was built in 1535 and was the original conservatory in Naples, coming at the beginning of the Spanish expansion of Naples under the city's most famous viceroy, don Pedro de Toledo. It is the first secular music conservatory. Alumni include Salvatore Lanzetti and Domenico Cimarosa. Old maps show Santa Maria di Loreto to have been a seafront "borgo" —a separate section of town. Thus, the conservatory was beyond the Spanish fortifications that guarded the southeastern approach to Naples.
Conservatorio di Sant'Onofrio a Capuana
Sant'Onofrio a Capuana dates from 1578 and counts as its alumni Niccoló Jommelli, Giovanni Paisiello, Niccolò Piccinni, and Antonio Sacchini, four of the great names in the 18th century Neapolitan music. The Italian Baroque composer Cristofaro Caresana was a director from 1667 until 1690. The original building still stands, just across the street on the north side of the old Vicaria, the tribunale, the Naples Hall of Justice.
Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini
The building of the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini, built in 1583, still stands on via Medina, near city hall. The Church of Pietà dei Turchini, still consecrated has a plaque explaining the role of the conservatory among the major four. The name "conservatory" originally indicated a place that "conserved" orphans and young women. All of the institutions instructed their wards in music; thus was born the modern meaning of "music school. By the 19th century however, most of the pupils of the conservatory were not orphans.
Evidence of the productivity of this conservatory is that among its pupils were: Giovanni Salvatore, Francesco Provenzale, Gaetano Greco, Nicola Fago, Carmine Giordani, Michele de Falco, Leonardo Leo, Giuseppe de Majo, Lorenzo Fago (Son of Nicola Fago) (1704–1793), Nicola Sala, Niccolo Jommelli, Girolamo Abos, Pasquale Cafaro, Pasquale Errichelli, Giacomo Tritto, Ferdinando Orlandi, Gaspare Spontini, Giuseppe Farinelli, and Luigi Lablache.
Teachers of this Conservatory, some of whom had been pupils listed above, included: Giovanni Maria Sabino, Erasmo di Bartolo, Giovanni Salvatore, Francesco Provenzale (1624–1704), Cristoforo Caresana, Gennaro Ursino, Nicola Fago (1677–1745), Lorenzo Fago (1704–1793), Nicola Sala (1713–1801), Girolamo Abos (1715–1760), Pasquale Cafaro (1716–1787), and Giacomo Tritto (1733–1824).
Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo
The Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo was founded in 1589 by Marcello Fossataro, a Franciscan friar. It was adjacent to the church of Santa Maria a Colonna on via dei Tribunale. Illustrious names connected with the school include the philosopher Giovan Battista Vico; a "maestro de [sic] grammatica" from 1620 to 1627. Musical luminaries at the conservatory included Francesco Durante, Gaetano Greco, Nicola Porpora, Leonardo Vinci and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. This conservatory was suppressed in November 1743 and converted into an establishment of the archiepiscopal seminary.
Conservatorio di San Sebastiano
In 1806, with Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Joseph, installed as the king of Naples in what would be a decade of French rule of the kingdom, monastic life in the kingdom was drastically reorganized and the three surviving monastery music schools were consolidated into a single building, the Church of San Sebastiano, not far from the modern conservatory. Finally, in 1826 that consolidated conservatory was moved to the present site.
- Riordinamento - Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella; accessed 29 May 2012.
- Di Benedetto & Fabris 2001
- Olmstead, Andrea (1999). Juilliard: a history. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02487-7.
- Salvetti, Guido. "Lanzetti, Salvatore". Oxford Music Online. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-0000016008. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
- Di Benedetto & Fabris 2001 (suppression of the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo)
- Di Benedetto, Renato; Fabris, Dinko (2001). "Naples. 3: The Spanish era (1503–1734). (vi) The conservatories." in Sadie 2001.
- Di Giacomo, Salvatore (1924). I quattro antichi conservatori di musica a Napoli (The Four Ancient Music Conservatories of Naples). Milan: Sandron.
- Florimo, Francesco (1882). La scuola musicale di Napoli e i suoi conservatori, con uno sguardo sulla storia della musica in Italia (The Music School and Conservatories in Naples, with a look at the musical history of Italy). Four volumes. Napoli: Morano.
- Sadie, Stanley, editor; John Tyrell; executive editor (2001). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-56159-239-5 (hardcover). OCLC 419285866 (eBook).
- Conservatorio di musica San Pietro a Majella
- Naples Encyclopedia
- Istituto Internazionale per lo studio del '700 musicale napoletano