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The “Arturo Toscanini” Institute of Advanced Music Studies” unique Institution of High Musical Artistic Formation (AFAM) of the Agrigentinian territory, is a consolidated, virtuous and efficient reality, close to become “State Conservatoire of Music”; it was founded in 1991, when the amazing intuition of local politicians found the unanimous consent of the Municipal Committee and of the Council of the Regional Province of Agrigento, founder and now named Agrigento “Libero Consorzio dei Comuni” that contributes to its good functioning.
The Institute receives State and Regional fundings and it is proud of the new innovative location, totally restructured, assigned in 2018 by the Ribera Municipality.
The Institute was born in 1991 to satisfy the consistent demand of classical music study in a territory, until then lacking, of a public musical Institute of high quality and professional training.
After 30 years, the demand has grown more and more with the users that today come, not only from all over the Sicily, but also from other Italian regions and from foreign Countries thanks to the renewal and expansion of the training offer (today the Institute has 28 degree Courses in the Classical, Jazz and Pop-rock Departments), technological innovation, informatic services and the quality of services and training and production activities provided.
The equalization to the Musical State Conservatoire, obtained in 2003 by Decree of the President of the Sicilian Region, and accreditation in the National AFAM System, conferred in 2009 by the Ministry of University and Research following strict checks on the qualitative targets reached, commits the Institute to carry out European didactic courses under Law 508/99, which provides to the reform of the sector under the supervision of the AFAM Department to the previously mentioned Ministry.
The Institute, by Ministerial approval of the Statute of Autonomy has been transformed “ope legis” into the Superior Institute of Musical Studies – ISSM, a Public Institution of University level; therefore, also the Academic Diplomas in Musical Disciplines of the old system have been equated to the Degrees by Law 268/02 for the purposes of access to public competitions.
The New System, in line with the Lisbon Treaty and the Bologna Process, is identical to university courses and is therefore structured with the European System of training credits (transferable in EU countries with the ETCS system) for the mutual recognition of studies carried out and to also allow international student mobility through special programs such as the Lifelong Learning Program – Erasmus.
Since 2016, with the new Governance, the Institute has obtained impressive and visible results that saved it from a certain closing, with a raise strategy, that, despite all the difficulties, allowed it to reach important results: a new appropriate and definitive location, a complete Offer with First and Second Level University Courses, an increase of enrolled students in Academic Courses of about 700%, a national and international visibility, and , within 2021, the most awaited goal: the Nationalization.
In fact, despite the very serious economic criticality caused by the default of the Founding Body, which begun in 2014 and is now outdated, it has proven to be a virtuous and reactive Institution economically, innovatively and competitively for the quality and variety of the proposed training offer, and has successfully relaunched the didactic, production and internationalization activities demonstrated by the increased general users and above all, by the university students (more than quintupled), which educationally offers, the great professionalism and the high artistic profile of our teachers, together with the great commitment of all the staff who have made the Teaching Courses palatable and worthy of attention also for students from other European countries from which they continue to receive requests for mobility Incoming Study Erasmus and from international students.
In order to strengthen and complete the professional training of young musicians, the production and Third Mission activity throughout the recent years, has been significantly increased with an average of 60-70 performances a year of National and International relevance thanks to strategic agreements and memoranda of understanding signed by the most important Lyrical-Symphonic Theatres, International Festivals and Academies, Extra UE Conservatories, relevant Associations (Massimo Theatre of Palermo’s Foundation, Lipsia Opera Theatre, Sicilian Symphonic Orchestra Foundation, Pirandello Theatre’s Foundation in Agrigento, Sicily Jazz Festival, The Dionysiac Festival in Segesta/Calatafimi, The Queen Musical Festival of Maenza, Windsor Piano’s Academy – UK, Glazunov Conservatory of Petrozavodsk- Russian Federation, La Cantoria in Campitelli’s Association in Rome, Festival A. Schweitzer in Palermo) and in collaboration with the local authorities (Municipalities, Associations, Regional Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, Archaeological Parks). Among the most important partners: FEMURS (Sicilian Regional Federation with Conservatoires of Trapani and Messina) founded e promoted from the Institute; the University Consortium of Agrigento with common project in act financed by Sicilian Regional Education Department; the other institutions of the Music Education Territorial System (Music Middle and High Schools) for a better common strategy to armonize Music Courses Programmes e to divulgate more the Music Culture, useful to form good persons and good citizens.