The Cultural Association “Monsignor Celestino Eccher” was founded in February 1993 in Smarano as the natural evolution of a Committee previously established to steer the activities connected to the promotion of a pipe organ for the church of the village of Smarano. It was immediately clear that the future organ, assuming proper financing, had to be a high-quality instrument, specifically featured for the baroque organ literature. A pure coincidence led to meeting an organ maker, Glauco Ghilardi from Lucca (Tuscany), When funds were provided, both from the people of the village and from the local and regional Community, the instrument was built and inaugurated in 1992, receiving immediately the interest of the experts which attended the inauguration.
The “Accademia di Musica Italiana per organo in Pistoia” proposed this instrument for an intensive academic seminar about Northern German baroque music. The first seminar was held in April 1993 directed by the eminent professor and German organist Harald Vogel. The same seminar was repeated one year later, still guided by Harald Vogel. From August 1995 to 1999, the seminar became a much more extended Academy held by a Faculty appointed with the cooperation of Hans Davidsson and the Go-Art from Goteborg University. Since 1999 the Academy has been led by Edoardo Bellotti, as artistic Director. Starting July 2008 the Society is ready to host organ and baroque keyboard masterclasses in a brand new Structure where a wide variety of instruments and spaces are provided all year around for an extended activity, both as open and dedicated Masterclasses, allowing students an intensive and coached individual practising as completion of the collective Academic work received on site.
The Academy today
The investments made in the years 2008/2009 in the structure of Smarano, located in the building of the former elementary schools provide a further opportunity to expand the activity, which is now mostly restricted to spring and summer, over the whole year. The wide availability of instruments and comfortable spaces even in winter allows to use of the structure at its best both for specific activities related to courses in organ, harpsichord and clavichord and also for other musical institutions (universities and conservatories) for specific learning activities directed to their students in the form of a Masterclass. The network of relationships already established at the international level with universities and conservatories, both European and Extra EU, will host special activities planned by the individual institutions thanks to the availability of instruments and space for group and individual teaching. The area’s amenities and availability of accommodation facilities in good economic conditions also make the stay pleasant. The property includes a small auditorium with 140 seats that is technologically equipped to be used as a congress and a concert hall, equipped with highly sophisticated technology for recording and sound processing, which can be conveniently used also as a recording studio. Finally, it was created thanks to the determinant financial help of the Autonomous Province of Trento, and its structure and equipment also want to be a point of reference for activities for other institutions in the local area.
Festschrift – Smarano Academy: a 30 years history in music