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Tasso and Music Symposium & Concerts

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The Tasso and Music Symposium & Concerts will convene music historians, literary scholars, and performers to explore the extraordinary musical legacy of late sixteenth-century poet Torquato Tasso. In the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods, composers were indeed extremely fond of his verse, producing hundreds of musical settings, many of which have achieved canonic status. The two-day event will provide a unique opportunity to study and experience this important poetic and musical repertoire. In the symposium, musicologists and literary scholars from North America and Europe will offer interdisciplinary insight into Tasso’s musical legacy, tackling a variety of subjects, ranging from Tasso’s own thoughts about music to composers’ interpretations of his poems, from the dissemination of literary and musical sources to questions of style and genre. Complementing the symposium will be two concerts featuring early modern Tasso settings, some of which will presented in modern premiere. On Friday 17, the guest ensemble Les Canards Chantants of Philadelphia will perform a concert of Tasso settings by composers from Ferrara, a northern Italian city with a distinguished musical tradition where Tasso spend most of his adult life. On Saturday afternoon, our own Chamber Choir in collaboration with the Italian guest ensemble Palma Choralis will present settings of Tasso’s most famous work, the epic poem Gerusalemme liberata.


This multifaceted event will also celebrate the completion of the work for the Tasso in Music Project (, the first complete critical edition of the early modern musical settings of Tasso’s poetry. Directed by Emiliano Ricciardi and funded by a three-year Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the edition has made available for the first time the entire corpus of settings, prompting a re-evaluation of Tasso’s great musical legacy through both scholarship and performance.


The event is sponsored by the Department of Music and Dance, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (Italian Studies), the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies.