Then & Now 7/7: Spoleto Festuval USA
On this date in 1911, the Italian-born American composer and conductor Gian Carlo Menotti was born.
In addition to his compositions, Menotti is responsible for one of the most popular music festivals in our country. The Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who sought to create an American counterpart to the annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. Looking for a city that would provide the charm of Spoleto as well as its wealth of theaters, churches and other performances spaces, they selected Charleston S.C. as the ideal location. The historic city provided a perfect fit: intimate enough that the Festival would captivate the entire city, yet cosmopolitan enough to provide an enthusiastic audience and robust infrastructure. In the decades since its inception, Spoleto Festival USA has firmly established itself as one of the world’s leading festivals, presenting more than 200 world or American premieres. Notable past premieres and commissions and world-renowned artists who performed early in their careers including Renée Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, the Emerson String Quartet and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
(Photo: G. Schirmer)