Florence’s Strings City Free Music Marathon

A concert in the historic Gabinetto Vieusseux library

Over 7000 musicians will perform more than 50 hours of free music at Florence’s third annual Strings City festival. The two-day concert series will take place on Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2, spread throughout the whole town. The program is a celebration of music ranging from classical to contemporary styles, including jazz.

Strings City is an occasion to experience music in over 50 locations including palaces, libraries, museums, and historical archives throughout the city and the greater Florence metropolitan area. The Fiesole School of Music, Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music, Maggio Musicale Orchestra, and the Orchestra della Toscana are among the participating organizations which are also on the artistic board.

Performance highlights

The Fiesole School of Music has chosen well-known violinist Luca Ciarla, who will simulate an entire orchestra using a loop station, a device which records on the spot and to use it as accompaniment for further live playing.  This concert will be in Palazzo Strozzi, currently hosting the Marina Abramović exhibition, on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 10:30 pm (an online reservation is required).

The Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music has organized an event highlighting the music of Italian and America composers such as Castelnuovo Tedesco, Bernstein, and Copeland at the exhibition “Italy in Hollywood” in the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 pm (also only by reservation).

At 12 noon and 1 pm on Saturday, Dec. 1, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino have selected an ensemble to present “Musica e poesia a Napoli (Music and Poetry in Naples)” in the Oblate Library.  

In the Sala Ferri of Palazzo Strozzi’s Gabinetto Viesseux, the Orchestra della Toscana have organized a recital with the music of Boccadoro and Brahms on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 9:45 am. In addition, at 10:15 am, the all-female Quartetto Clara dell’Orchestra will intepret “Donne, essere sognatore,” music by the first women composers: Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn and Rebecca Clarke, in the Righini Bonelli hall at the Galileo Science Museum of Florence.

Other special events include the grand concert of “Cenacolo elettrico” with the avant-garde music of contemporary American composer James Tenney in the Santa Croce complex Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4:30 pm (by reservation).  Additionally, the “Soundweavers – I tessitori del suono” performance with Irish cellist Naomi Berrill promises to be an unforgettable event at the Student Hotel on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6 pm.

Strings City is the only event in all of Italy dedicated to string instruments comprising violins, violas, cellos, double basses, pianos, harps, guitars, as well as remarkable voices.

The list goes on for unmissable concerts planned during the weekend. This unique festival is an occasion for music and art to meet, turning Florence into a marvelous stage. All performances are free of charge and open until all seats are taken, but some require a reservation beforehand on the Strings City website. To see the full schedule, which concerts require a reservation, and for more information, visit www.stringscity.it.  (beatrice paolucci)