top of page

Festival "Italian Piano Experience" a Pechino

Roberto Prosseda is the creator and artistic director of the "Italian Piano Experience" festival and exhibition. It took place in Beijing from May 17 to June 3, 2018. The event was organized by the Italian Cultural Institute in Beijing, with the collaboration of Fazioli Pianoforti, Bizzi Strumenti Storici a Tastiera, and Cremona Musica, to celebrate the special relationship that exists historically between China, the world's leading market for pianos, and Italy: in fact, as early as the 1500s, Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci had the first Italian harpsichord arrived at the court of Wan Li, of the Ming dynasty.


Festival & Exhibition

Beijing, Millennium Monument Museum, May 17-June 2, 2018

Project conceived by Roberto Prosseda, and implemented by the Italian Cultural Institute in Beijing

With the collaboration of Cremona Musica International Exhibitions, Bizzi Clavicembali, Fazioli Pianoforti

In association with the "Meet in Beijing" Festival and the World Art Center - Millennium Monument Museum

Artistic direction: Roberto Prosseda

Exhibition curated by Guido Bizzi and Claudio Brizi


The Italian keyboard, from Cristofori to today.

Exhibition of Italian keyboard instruments, from the oldest progenitors of the piano to the modern Fazioli gran coda.

Beijing, Millennium Monument Museum, May 17-June 2, 2018


The modern piano is the latest link in a long line of keyboard instruments whose origin and identity are strongly ingrained with the Italian musical tradition. The piano was invented, in fact, by the Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori in 1699, and the craft tradition of building musical instruments of excellence has been perpetuated in Italy from then until today, not only in the luthier field with Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari, but also in the piano sector: one of the most exclusive and appreciated pianos of today is the Italian Fazioli, entirely made in the factory in Sacile (near Venice), a short distance from Cristofori's hometown of Padua.

The present exhibition aims, therefore, to trace an itinerary showing the origins and evolution of keyboard instruments, from the oldest progenitors of the piano (harpsichord, spinet, clavichord, organ) to the modern Fazioli grand piano. The exhibition will feature some valuable Italian pieces, such as the Feliciano Fedeli organ (pre-1746) and the first modern copy of a Cristofori piano, made by Marco Tiella in the 1950s. The presence of all the main types of keyboard instruments will allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in this fascinating world, and to be able not only to see, but also to hear, thanks to Claudio Brizi's live demonstrations, the ancient and precious sound of the progenitors of the piano and its "cousins": the organ, harmonium, harpsichord and clavichord, even in hybrid modes, in multiple instruments, such as the claviharmonium or pedalpiano.

The Chinese capital seemed to us the ideal venue to present this exhibition for the first time. Indeed, China is currently the country in the world where the largest number of pianos are produced and sold, and there are many great centers of excellence in musical and piano training in particular. Since the sixteenth century, moreover, a cultural bridge has existed between Italy and China in the name of music: one of the first "importers" to China of Western musical culture was the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci, who in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, following in the footsteps of Marco Polo, brought an Italian harpsichord to Ming China, which he had delivered to the palace of Emperor Wan Li. Following in his footsteps, in the early twentieth century Italian Mario Paci (1878-1946) carried out an important work of music education and production in China: he lived regularly in China from 1918, creating China's first modern symphony orchestra, which today is the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and laying the foundations for important music education projects. In fact, one of China's greatest pianists, Fou Ts'Ong, was a student of Mario Paci. Just as a tribute to the centuries-old tradition of cultural exchange in music between Italy and China, the exhibition will include a harpsichord and fortepiano decorated with chinoiseries and the brand new Fazioli "Marco Polo" piano model.

In order to facilitate a better understanding and a complete listening experience, the construction procedures of a harpsichord and a fortepiano will also be displayed, with detailed explanation of all the stages of making the two instruments, thanks to the collaboration with the Bizzi Clavicembali company, one of the most flourishing and active companies, which perpetuates the Italian tradition of keyboard instruments with international success.

List of instruments in the exhibition area

Feliciano Fedeli Organ (Foligno, ante 1746)

Pfeiffer Pedalpiano (Stuttgart, late 19th cent.)

Upright piano (DO1-FA3 range, crossed strings and cast-iron frame) with tergal mechanics operated by a pedalboard of thirty pedals. It stands behind the performer and can be associated with any type of historical or modern keyboard instrument. Here it can be heard associated with the Pinchi-Barucchieri Claviorgano from the Claudio Brizi Collection

Harmonino Debain (1870)

Italian clavichord of the 1700s

Italian spinet of the 1700s

Harpsichord copy from French historical specimen

Fortepiano copy from Walter

Fazioli piano model "Marco Polo"

Stein fortepiano

"Gravicembalo col piano e col forte," copy from Cristofori

THE FESTIVAL "Italian Piano Experience"

Six piano recitals and two lectures dedicated to the Italian keyboard tradition, from Scarlatti to contemporaries, from Cristofori to Bizzi and Fazioli.

Six of Italy's most accomplished and celebrated pianists will present at the Millennium Monument Museum in Beijing a cycle of recitals spanning the entire repertoire for keyboard instruments, from Scarlatti to 21st century composers. In addition to four recitals on the modern piano (a brand new Fazioli gran coda), given by four of Italy's most promising young pianists (Leonora Armellini, Mariangela Vacatello, Axel Trolese, Vanessa Benelli Mosell), two concerts are planned that will feature other keyboard instruments on display in the exhibition. In the opening concert, renowned harpsichordist and organist Claudio Brizi, co-curator of the exhibition, will take listeners on a fascinating listening itinerary, discovering the ancient and visionary sounds of the harpsichord, harmonium and organ, even superimposed, thanks to the combination of different instruments played simultaneously by Brizi (claviarmonium, pedalcembalo).

The final concert will be given by Roberto Prosseda, the creator and artistic director of the festival, who will present, for the first time publicly in China, the Pedalpiano: an ancient and modern instrument together, of which he has been a promoter and rediscoverer in recent years.

The festival also includes three lectures that will historically and scientifically frame the instruments featured in the exhibition. The first lecture, given by Guido Bizzi and Claudio Brizi, will focus on the evolution of keyboard instruments from 1600 to 1800, with live demonstrations by Claudio Brizi. The second lecture, given by Nicola Sani (composer, director of the Accademia Chigiana in Siena) will talk about the contemporary Italian piano repertoire, and the third, by Roberto Prosseda, will present the evolution from the Fortepiano of Mozart's time to the modern grand piano, also considering other keyboard instruments that coexisted near the piano in past centuries: organ, harmonium, celesta and their hybrid derivations.

Festival schedule:

- May 17: Opening Concert: Claudio Brizi, Organ, Harmonium, Harpsichord, Claviharonium: "Concert in Italian Taste" (Zipoli, Gibbons, Scarlatti, Bach, Vivaldi, Marcello)

- May 17: Lecture by Guido Bizzi and Claudio Brizi: "The Evolution of Keyed Instruments from 1600 to 1800."

- May 19: Axel Trolese, piano (Brahms, Clementi, Mozart, Caetani, Rossini/Liszt)

- May 20: Leonora Armellini, piano (Liszt, Brahms, Busoni, Debussy)

- May 25: Mariangela Vacatello, piano (Scarlatti, Beethoven, Rossini, Liszt, Ginastera)

- May 29: Lecture by Roberto Prosseda: "The Evolution of the Piano, from the Mozart Instrument to the Modern Fazioli Grand Piano"

- May 29: Lecture by Nicola Sani "The Contemporary Italian Piano"

- May 29: Vanessa Benelli Mosell, piano (Rachmaninoff, Skrjabin, Debussy, Stroppa)

- May 30: Roberto Prosseda, pedalpiano (Schumann, Boëly, Alkan, Gounod, Sani, Liszt)


bottom of page