Music of Milan

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This article is about music in and of the city and province of Milan. For music elsewhere in the Lombardy region of Italy, see Music of Lombardy.

The music of Milan has ancient roots. The Ambrosian chants are among the first codified music in Western culture, which fact led to the later development of our concept of scales, for example. In more recent history, the city of Milan has been an important social, cultural, political and commercial center not just in Italy, but in all of Europe.


  • La Scala: by general consensus, the leading opera house in Italy, was built in 1778 and refurbished and reopened in 2004;
  • the Milan Auditorium: opened in 1999 and the home venue for the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony and Choir. The orchestra is the symphony for the city, having replaced the older RAI Orchestra of Milan, which was one of four such radio orchestras in Italy until they were consolidated into a single organization, now called the National Orchestra, in Turin;
  • the Giuseppe Verdi music conservatory, on the premises of an ancient monastery, was rebuilt after WW2. It has a large auditorium and hosts a number of concert series, including those of the Quartet Society, the United Chamber Orchestra, the Italian Youth music series, and sundry afternoon and evening concerts;
  • At least a dozen other theaters throughout the city, including the National Music Theater of Milan and the Teatro degli Arcimboldi;
  • The Giuseppe Verdi Retirement Home for Musicians, unique in Italy, and rare in the world, at large. The home was Verdi's idea and royalties from his works financed the entire project. It finally opened in 1913, and since that time has provided a place for retired musicians who have nowhere else to go. Those who live there still play and sing for their own enjoyment and occasionally for visitors;
  • the Milan Jazz Festival: one of the most important European venies for jazz;
  • the town of Birago di Lentate sul Seveso is the site of the Strumentoteca d'arte musicale, one of the largest collections (about 6,500 pieces) in the world of musical instruments from around the world and an important source for students of ethnomusicology.


  • The Museo Teatrale alla Scala is a museum devoted to theatrical and musical history with a particular emphasis on opera and on the Teatro della Scala to which it is attached.
  • The Castello Sforzesco houses collections of musical instruments of historical and enthnographical importance.


  • Much of the information on the music activities, theaters and other venues for music in Milan is taken from Guide Cultura, i luoghi della music (2003) ed. Touring Club Italiano.

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