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Ingenious sounds: Leonardo da Vinci, music and theatre in the Renaissance



Ingenious sounds: Leonardo da Vinci, music and theatre in the Renaissance

Although Leonardo da Vinci is best known for being a painter, an inventor and a scientist, two titles are often overlooked: musician and theater producer. Leonardo was in fact a skilled performer and he was commissioned by some of the most musically prominent courts of his time. His musical inventions opened an unexpected window into new ideas and instruments that – if actualized – would have certainly enriched the pallet of sounds of the Renaissance musical scene.

Furthermore, Leonardo, together with Brunelleschi, is regarded as one of fathers and pioneers of modern theatrical machinery. They both worked on two important theatrical representations of the early Renaissance. Leonardo on a royal wedding in Milan and Brunelleschi on the closing of the Council of Florence of 1439. By applying their know-how in engineering and architecture, the two Tuscan geniuses were able to create a new type of theatrical art scenes and machinery. 

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, prof. Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, Curator of the Royal College of Music Museum, and prof. Gianni Cicali, specialist in History of Italian Theater at Georgetown University, will guide us through these lesser known aspects of Leonardo’s creativity and discuss their impact in the centuries that followed.

The presentations will be enriched by a concert of Renaissance a capella music performed by the Georgetown University Chamber Singers, under the guidance of Frederick Binkholder, Artistic Director.


This program is organized in collaboration with the Department of Italian, the Department of Performing Arts and the Italian Research Institute at Georgetown University 

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Embassy of Italy
3000 Whitehaven St, NW
Washington, DC 20008


Please Note



Due to new safety regulations, we are not allowed to add extra seats to the auditorium or let anyone stand. A registration is not a guarantee of a seat as these are assigned on a first-come first-served basis. Doors close at event start-time.

Once the event is full we will not accept wait list requests. A limited number of “last call" registrations will be available on Eventbrite between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM on the day of the event.







Sanctus, Franchino Gaffurio (1451 - 1522)

Adieu mámour, Alexander Agricola (1446 - 1506)

Tu paperum refugium, Josquin des Prez (1440/1445 - 1521)

El Grillo, Josquin des Prez (1440/1445 - 1521)

Dolcis et Somnus, Antoine Brumel (1460 - 1512 or 1513)

Vias tuas, Domine, Antoine Brumel (1460 - 1512 or 1513)

Donna di dentro della tua casa, Heinrich Isaac (1450 - 1517)

Fammi una gratia, amore, Heinrich Isaac (1450 - 1517)

Tu Es Petrus, Heinrich Isaac (1450 - 1517)




rossi rognoni

Gabriele Rossi Rognoni is Curator of the Royal College of Music Museum, and holds a personal Chair in Music and Material Culture in the same institution.

Before moving to London he held curatorial and research positions in Italy, Germany and the USA and he currently chairs the Committee of Music Museums (CIMCIM) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

He has been involved in the redevelopment of several music institutions, including the current £4.2 million transformation of the Royal College of Music Museum, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and Wolfson Foundation.

His research focuses on musical instruments, material culture and the history of ideas and he is also currently editing a volume with Eric De Visscher on ‘Displaying Music in the 21st Century’.




Gianni Cicali is associate professor of Italian Theater at Georgetown University. He holds doctoral degrees from both Italy (University of Florence) and Canada (University of Toronto). 

His interests focus on Italian and Neapolitana theater and Opera and on the relations between the performing and the fine arts. He is author of a book on the Italian Opera buffa (Attori e ruoli nell’opera buffa italiana del Settecento. 2005) and of a book on Renaissance sacred theater (L'Inventio crucis nel teatro rinascimentale fiorentino, 2012).

He also edited the book Teatro italiano fra testo performance e scena (2015) He has published several articles on Italian Renaissance theater, and 18th-century theater, arts and literature. He collaborated with Enciclopedia Treccani for the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani.

He was Editor of Quaderni d’Italianistica (Canada, 2011-15); and he is member of the Advisory Boards of Letteratura teatrale italiana (Italy), Quaderni d’Italianistica (Canada) Renaissance and Reformation (Canada), Gentes (Italy). 



The Georgetown University Chamber Singers, founded in 1992, is a select group of mixed voices organized to perform small choral masterworks from the Renaissance through the Twentieth Century. Emphasis is placed on the art of singing a cappella, though at times the group performs with accompaniment.  



Data: Ven 4 Ott 2019

Orario: Dalle 18:00 alle 20:00

Organizzato da : Italian Cultural Institute

In collaborazione con : Georgetown University

Ingresso : Libero


Embassy of Italy