CATANIA – Vincenzo Bellini is like Etna, a symbol associated with Catania and recognized worldwide, and for this reason it is found everywhere, in the city: in the statues, in the name of the most important cultural institutions and infrastructures, in the musical imagination of Catania and in Italy. It is therefore almost natural that even in Catania there is a conservatory, a high-cultural institute of musical education integrated into the state education system.
This transformation is underway for the Vincenzo Bellini Musical Institute, which will give the school access to state financial and organizational management. An option which, however, requires a delicate conversion process and which will be guided by Carmelo Galatijust appointed president of Bellini by the university and research minister Maria Cristina Messa. Galati, lawyer, mayor of Sant’Agata Li Battiati for ten years, former vice president of the province of Catania and with a long directorial plan behind him, was entrusted with the task of completing the full integration of the Bellini Institute into the system of conservatives.
Carmelo Galati, what does the transformation into the Bellini Conservatory mean?
The institute was born in the 1950s thanks to a consortium between the province of Catania and the municipality, which made the premises available via the Istituto Sacro Cuore. The expenses weighed on both members of the consortium, with increasing difficulties also caused by the “disappearance” of the province.
Not only that: also of roles, about who should do what. As this situation was only one of the many in which Italian music institutes found themselves, the state began to bring order among all the high culture institutions, the conservatories, the art academies.
With the transition to the state, all Bellini staff become state-owned, as in universities …
Exactly. It will be a long journey of at least two years in which staff will have to go under the administration of the state, with schemes of careers and pensions, and Bellini will enter the state education system with compulsory subjects and education plans. Not that they were missing now, of course, but the Conservatories are part of a common state network, a circuit, and it will provide many opportunities for our students and teachers. I believe, for example, that it will be possible to communicate with other Italian conservatories, attract masters interested in studying here, to Catania and give the people of Catania the opportunity to travel around Italy. And the statistication allows us to offer seminars, masterclasses, internships and exchanges with foreign countries.
What will be the Bellini Conservatory’s attraction factor?
Vincenzo Bellini is our brand: Like Etna, it is connected to the city of Catania worldwide. Vincenzo Bellini is an important tool in our culture, and having a conservatory named after him can be an attraction for teachers and students, as stimulated by Bellini will come to study in Catania. Then it is clear that there are other factors: We intend to make the existing agreements with other cultural institutions in the area as far as possible from the Massimo Bellini Theater, our natural partner, to the Stable at the Academy of Fine Arts, without forgetting the Institute of Ancient Drama .
What was the process of nationalization of Bellini?
The state essentially sets two conditions: that the properties are owned by the institution and that there is no debt due to previous management. For this reason, the municipality has committed itself to securing its Bellini headquarters for the next 99 years. Buildings which, it must be said, were bought by the Municipality precisely to make room for the Musical Institute.
What will the presence of Bellini be on the territory of the city?
In addition to the aforementioned conventions, we all intend to create ever closer relationships with schools to facilitate and promote the teaching of music culture and the circulation of Bellini’s teachers and students. Our “catchment area” looks like the whole of eastern Sicily, and we are one of the largest conservatories in southern Italy with more than a thousand students. In addition, our premises also have an auditorium for concerts, which does not happen in all conservatories, and we would like to reinforce this further. The city of Catania deserves a structure that puts it at the center of music culture, as has already happened in the past.