Announcing New Cultural Exchange: Imola Piano Academy/Legacy Arts International

International Cultural Exchange

New Cultural Exchange Initiative Focusing on Pianists Linking Princeton University Department of Music, The Imola Piano Academy, and Legacy Arts International

In March 2019, the Princeton University Department of Music and the Imola Piano Academy, brought together by the Princeton, NJ-based Legacy Arts International, launch a cultural exchange that unites one of the hubs of modern composition and research with one of Italy’s most innovative pedagogical institutions.

The cultural exchange, conceived and facilitated by Legacy Arts International’s founder and leader, Cristina Altamura, will immerse piano students from Princeton University in the rich and intense environment of the Imola Academy, while introducing pianists at the Imola Academy to the highest levels of composition and musicology at Princeton University.

The pilot launch for the cultural exchange begins in March 2019, when Wendy Heller, Princeton University Scheide Professor of Music History and Chair of the Department, and Juri Seo, Assistant Professor of Music Composition, travel to Imola to present lectures and seminars on their research and compositions. Later, in fall 2019, master teachers from the Academy, all acclaimed concert artists, will arrive on the Princeton campus to perform and lead master classes with Princeton students. The two institutions will pay for tuition and travel expenses for two undergraduate students at Princeton to attend Imola Academy’s renowned Summer Piano Program in July of 2019. Legacy Arts will cover their room and board.

Legacy Arts International creator and Program Director of the cultural exchange, Cristina Altamura (who studied with Scala during her Fulbright year in 1997-98) explains: “I’ve made cultural exchange a central part of Legacy’s mission, because it is a way for me to extend what I experienced as a Fulbright Scholar – a period of artistic growth, but also of personal and professional development. There are few educational experiences that powerfully expand a person’s ideas and understanding of the world as travel does. And to bring these two organizations together is an extraordinary opportunity. That both Princeton and Scala have agreed to embark on this cultural exchange only further demonstrates their shared spirit of growth and inquiry. I’m honored that they have trusted me in the facilitation and creation of the program.”

Princeton University Chair of Music, Wendy Heller, says, “As a scholar who has studied on Italian music for most of my scholarly career, I am particularly thrilled with the prospect of this fruitful exchange between the Music Department and the Imola Academy. The birthplace both of opera and the piano, Italy has long been the spiritual home for musicians. Our exchange promises to give our student pianists an opportunity to widen their horizons, to work with superb piano pedagogues, and to immerse themselves in a new culture. We also look forward to welcoming members of the Imola faculty to Princeton next fall and watching a new musical dialogue emerge.”

Franco Scala, founder of the Imola Piano Academy, says “It is with pride and satisfaction that we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of our Imola Piano Academy by inaugurating an exchange program with the prestigious Princeton University. Since our inception, the Imola Piano Academy has been internationally recognized for its exceptional standard of excellence – embodying what it truly means to be “Made in Italy.” This partnership with Princeton, one of the greatest universities in the world, exemplifies the aim of the Imola Academy to offer its students the best educational and cultural stimuli. I thank Cristina Altamura and Legacy Arts International for working with passion and commitment to make this collaboration possible.”

About the Imola Piano Academy

The Imola Piano Academy is a school of advanced piano studies founded in 1989 by Maestro Franco Scala. A renowned pedagogical innovator, Scala built his academy on the idea of providing artists in their early careers with access to multiple mentors and visiting teachers. This teaching philosophy emphasizes the complex developmental needs of each artist for a sustainable career in music, reaching beyond the short-term goal of winning competitions. Students from the academy excel in performance, however, having won more than sixty first-place prizes in major international piano competitions.

About Legacy Arts International

Founded by pianist Cristina Altamura, Legacy Arts International (LAI) is a musical arts organization based in Princeton, N.J. that develops educational programs, hosts performances, and conceives cultural exchanges that build vibrant artistic communities. These projects develop out of the artistic legacies of living composers, scholars, and teachers. Recent Legacy projects include: gathering Cuban artists in New York City to celebrate Guido Lopez Gavilán, the composer and conductor of the Cuban National Orchestra; conducting a course on music technology for K-12 students using the innovative “bitKlavier” instrument developed by Princeton composer Dan Trueman; awarding travel grants for young American pianists to participate in Italy’s historic Nuova Coppa Pianisti Competition in Osimo, Italy; and recording and filming an oral history project about Franco Scala’s work at the Imola Piano Academy.

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