The Foundation

The Isabella Scelsi Foundation is a cultural institution based in Rome, Italy, devoted to the study and dissemination of Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi's (1905-1988) oeuvre and the promotion of new music all throughout the world. The Foundation – approved by the Minister of Cultural Heritage by decree of the President of the Republic in 1990 – was established on the 21st of January 1987 by Giacinto Scelsi, who named it after his sister Isabella.

The Foundation's headquarters are in Via di San Teodoro 8, where Scelsi dwelled during the last twenty years of his life.

Located on the first floor is the apartment where his sister Isabella once lived, which now hosts meetings and the Foundation's office spaces. From the first floor, one has access to the ground floor where the Archive and consulting room were built.

Equipped with an excellent video and sound system, this room is often used for meetings, conferences, seminars and presentations.

The fourth floor of the building, where Giacinto Scelsi's apartment was once allocated, now hosts the Foundation's museum surmounted by a terrace floor looking onto the Palatine hill. Here, in this amazing setting in the heart of Rome, the Maestro would often invite his friends. Giacinto Scelsi himself presided over the Foundation until his passing in 1988, followed by friend and scholar Carlo Fischetti (1988-1998), Wolfgang Becker (1999-2004), Nicola Sani (2004-2014) and Irmela Heimbächer (2014).

The quality and importance of all promoted events and activities, as well as their high scientific and musicological value, have contributed in securing the Foundation's pivotal role in the Italian and international cultural scene. The Isabella Scelsi Foundation has conceived, promoted and organized festivals, concerts, conferences, seminars and other initiatives in collaboration with prominent institutions such as: Salzburg Festival, Musica de Hoy-Madrid, Deutschlandradio-Berlin, Ultraschall Festival-Berlin, Archipel Festival -Geneva, Synthèse Festival -Bourges, Italian Cultural Institute -Paris, Arts Council England, Cambridge School of Art, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), CDMC Paris, Italian Cultural Institute-Cologne, WDR Westdeutschen Rundfunks Köln, Music Biennale-Zagreb, Italian Cultural Institute Stockhom, the Slovenian Philharmonic based in Ljubljana, Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center-Seoul (Korea), World Performing Arts Festival-Lahore (Pakistan), Italian Cultural Institute  San Francisco, Goethe Institut Salvador-Bahia (Brasile), Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, American Academy of Rome, French Academy in Rome “Villa Medici”, Italian Cultural Institute  Moscow, German Academy in Rome “Villa Massimo”, RomaEuropa Festival, Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti-Roma, Federazione CEMAT-Progetto “Sonora”, Palazzo delle Esposizioni-Rome, Fondazione Musica per Roma, Istituto Centrale per i Beni Sonori e Audiovisivi-Discoteca di Stato, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, MART Rovereto, Palazzo Grassi-Venice, Biennale Musica-Venice, Ravenna Festival, Festival RAI “Nuova Musica” Turin, Nuova Consonanza, Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono-Venice, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, University of Gorizia, University of Palermo, University of Bologna-DAMS, CCRMA-Stanford University, University of Cologne.

To this day, the Foundation holds its collaboration with Éditions Salabert (Paris) in high regard maintaining a strict publishing schedule which also includes the re-issuing of Giacinto Scelsi's scores. The Isabella Scelsi Foundation collaborates with important record companies such as ECM, mode, RZ, ARS, Solstice, Brilliant. The Scelsi Collection series was released in collaboration with Stradivarius-Milano Dischi – one of Italy's leading classical labels - and to this day consists in 6 albums. The Foundation is currently working with publishing houses Éditions Actes Sud (Arles), Quodlibet (Macerata) and Aracne (Rome).


The Scelsi Foundation publishes the biannual magazine “i suoni, le onde…”, available worldwide, featuring both scientific and academic content alongside news and information on the Foundation's core activities.

Since 2013 the Foundation has also been publishing the Quaderni dell’Archivio Scelsi, an annual musicology magazine which collects the most recent essays based on materials preserved in the Scelsi Archive, concerning the figure and oeuvre of Giacinto Scelsi and all related topics.

The Scelsi Archive is the beating heart of the Maestro's cultural and artistic legacy, collecting both paper documents (both hand-written and printed: scores, correspondence, notes, theatre programs, press reviews, photographs, drawings, etc.) and recordings (about 500 tapes, over 900 shellac gramophone records and about 200 vinyls) that are not only of great interest but also an essential reference point for the international scientific community. The Archive is enhanced by its extensive bibliography and discography sections and by a complete collection of scores – a useful instrument for those interested in approaching the Maestro's oeuvre.

The “Casa Scelsi Museum” has managed to preserve the spaces inhabited by Giacinto Scelsi during the last 20 years of his life. Opened in 2007, it has since then been visited by many enthusiasts from all over the world and hosts a year-long calendar of concerts and conferences.

The Isabella Scelsi Foundation's activities are made possible by the support of:

  • The Ministry of Cultural  - General Directorate for Education, Research and Cultural Institutes;
  • The Ministry of Cultural - General Directorate for Libraries and copyright;
  • The Ministry of Cultural  - General Directorate for Archives;
  • Lazio Region, Superintendency of book heritage;

Since 2007 the Isabella Scelsi Foundation is listed in the Register of Cultural Institutes of the Lazio Region.


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