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Since the beginning of their first contacts, the Old and New World have woven a history of relationships, migrations and cultural exchanges, in both directions, which have contributed to determining their respective identities. Like any other artistic and cultural manifestation, Latin American music is a fundamental expression of this history. The musicological studies of the Latin-American area in Europe deserve therefore to find a space in academic fields, like those already started in the field of Ibero-American literature at European universities. With this in mind, at the beginning of the eighties, several musicologists gathered in Brussels at the headquarters of the European Union agreed on the need to found in Europe an institute that could activate a research network on American musicology.

Francisco Curt Lange, pioneer of musicological research in America, was appointed president of the new entity, while the role of director was entrusted to Annibale Cetrangolo. Lange resided in Uruguay, while Cetrangolo was about to move to Italy and it was decided that the institution would be based in Italy. In Italy the idea found the decisive reception of Giovanni Morelli, of the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, aware of the gap that the new institute was called to cover. The formal constitution of the IMLA in 1984 was accompanied by a congress, which took place in Venice.

Since its main objective has been from the beginning to encourage the construction of a network of research and music production, over the years the Institute has signed agreements with several European and Latin American universities, including the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Universidad de Valladolid, Universidade de São Paulo, Universidad de San Martín (Buenos Aires), Universidad de la República (Uruguay), Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Berlin, etc. At the universities participating in this research network, the IMLA has promoted conventions for the establishment of double academic titles and has helped to establish new courses related to its research fields. Thanks to an agreement between the Institute and the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, the Chair of Musical Theatre History in non-European countries was established for the first time in Italy.

To promote the dissemination of the music object of study and research, even outside the strictly academic through concerts and recordings, the Institute has equipped itself with a musical sidewing, the Albalonga Ensemble .

During its decades of existence, the Institute has gradually expanded its field of interest, as documented by the stages of its activity. In the early years, research focused essentially on the musical production of the colonial baroque period. A first important result in this field is represented by the rediscovery of the figure of the musician from Prato Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726), and his hitherto almost unknown activity in Argentina (congress of Prato, 1988). In the same vein, mention should be made of studies on other Italian composers of the eighteenth century connected in various ways to the Ibero-American context, from the Venetian Facco and Galuppi, to the Apulian Jerusalem, Logroscino and Leo.

On the occasion of the congress of the International Society of Musicology (IMS) held in Rome in 1992, the study group RIIA (Italian Ibero-American Relations) was established, a network of scholars belonging to European and Latinomerican universities for research on musical migration, focused mainly on the dissemination of opera. The RIIA team, coordinated by Cetrangolo for the IMLA, was welcomed into the IMS study groups.


The chronological boundaries of the research have thus been widened, which has focused mainly on the phenomenon of transatlantic migrations of musical theatre. Along this line, the IMLA has promoted and coordinated the research project European Musical Heritage and Migration, Opera in the Rio de la Plata (Argentina-Uruguay, 1870-1920) with the support of the Culture 2000 program of the European Union,

nella cui cornice si sono svolti convegni a Venezia, Vigo e Regensburg (2003).

Since then, the RIIA network coordinated by the IMLA has involved teachers and students from the various participating universities. Thanks also to an increasingly extensive use of IT resources, students from different countries were initiated to research, participating in the recovery and rescue of valuable documentary materials, such as vintage music periodicals. The study group has also fed an impressive common database, based on the analysis of the documentary funds of the respective countries, which allows to understand the real extent of migration not only of repertoires and music operators (singers, instrumentalists and composers), but also of all the theatrical operators - scenographers, directors, various workers - involved in the circulation and diffusion of the musical theatre and more generally of the performing arts, along the routes of the transatlantic migrations. The most recent research activities coordinated by the Institute, including investigations into the circulation of the work through the great Latin American rivers, show a clear transversal and multidisciplinary direction, that connects the musical and performing arts to the visual arts of scenography, to the architecture of the spaces dedicated to performance, as well as, as always, to the history and sociology of migratory phenomena.

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