Event—Public Programming

Music and Crisis at Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo during the Turbulent 1620s

During the 1620s, churches throughout Italy scaled back musical expenditures due to shrinking coffers from war and plague. Bergamo, on the border of the Venetian Republic and Spanish duchy of Milan, continued to lavishly fund music in the basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, maintaining a sizeable regiment of professional musicians led by composers Giovanni Cavaccio (1598–1626) and Alessandro Grandi (1627–1630). In a decade marred by war, famine, and plague, music continually received robust institutional support. Why would Bergamo, not usually considered a major center of musical production, keep such a priority in the face of challenges on multiple fronts?