Following an agreement made several years ago with the Italian commune of Montepulciano, the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln was permitted to use a historic Italian Palazzo in the heart of Tuscany in return for assuming the responsibility for restoring the palace.
Substantial funds were raised for the initial renovation project, and on June 17, 2001 the Palazzo Ricci was reopened during a ceremony attended by the German Ambassador to Italy and high-ranking politicians and representatives. Since 2002, funding for the expansion and continued renovation of the project has been collected by the association Palazzo Ricci e.V., which was established for this purpose.
The Europäische Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst will operate the Palazzo Ricci under the trusteeship of the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. This is the only German cultural project in Italy that is focused on music. Unlike other German cultural organizations in Italy, the academy’s guiding principle is to enable contact among young, extremely talented artists from around Europe.
This idea is being implemented in master courses with internationally renowned instructors, subject-specific projects, scholarship-funded residencies, and conferences.
The Europäische Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst does an exemplary job of combining support for the highest quality art with the integration of people in Europe and the advancement of young people through group activities. This is a one-of-a-kind approach among German musical endeavors in Italy. The altruistic efforts on the part of instructors, who are only compensated for their expenses and receive no salary, keep the budget small while delivering a program that is very affordable for participants from all across Europe and still fulfilling the highest of expectations.
The academy is increasingly utilized by Italian partners in the region’s cultural scene. It is also available to all creative artists as a meeting place for their own projects.
Since 2007, the academy has hosted an annual, week-long international festival for European music academies at which institutions from several other countries participate in addition to the four higher education institutions from North Rhine-Westphalia. An encore presentation will be held in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Contributions from the Ministry for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology of North Rhine-Westphalia ensure that various projects by the higher education music institutions from North Rhine-Westphalia can take place at the Palazzo Ricci in the future.
In 2011, a festival will mark the Europäische Akademie’s ten-year anniversary.