To Our Members, Readers, and Friends

From the Chairman

The Italian Academy Foundation has enjoyed an upbeat year in its activities and collaborations, fulfilling our 64-year-old mission of cultural diplomacy between Italy and the United States.

During this past year, we have established a collaboration with Maestro Andrea Bocelli, Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi of New York and Dr. Franco Mosca of Pisa to create a documentary film “The Healer’s Art”, reflecting the focus of the Art of Medicine initiative we began this year with Maestro Bocelli. Major talents from several professions have stepped up and will help us bring this to fruition.

Parallel, the Italian Academy Foundation (IAF) has negotiated the rights to a dramatic opera on the life of Caravaggio, based upon playwright Richard Vetere’s original off Broadway play “Caravaggio.” We have engaged and are working with gifted young composers and designers on the work, anticipating a Fall2012 premiere.

On April 3rd, we signed an agreement to partner with the illustrious International Festival of Bergamo, Italy, an annual monthlong series of performances and art installations in this beautiful medieval city in Lombardia. Through this exchange, the IAF will select and sponsor an American artist whose art or whose performance will be featured there, and the Festival will award an Italian artist to be introduced here in New York. Each party will bring the very best to the stages in New York and Bergamo. Our Winter 2011 issue of the Italian Journal raised eyebrows and raised our number of subscribers with its theme: “Design Save Italy?”

I commend the Italian Journal to your careful attention and wish to take a moment to express my delight in this excellent product. The current issue addresses the Risorgimento, and our summer issue will explore the world of contemporary Italian art and artists, a key evolving market at the head of the newest of new waves.

Our customary performances at Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall and at the Casa Italiana at New York University continue apace. This year, we presented a series of musical evenings focused on Franz Liszt in honor of his anniversary, on the works of Tosti and on verismo opera. Sandro Russo, Lawrence Harris, Dina Pruzhansky, Rosa D’Imperio, Michele Fiammardente and many other great artists have collaborated with us in offering
these prized programs.

When Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe of Naples visited New York, the Italian Academy Foundation was pleased to receive him at a leaders-only reception at the Church of Sant Jean Baptiste, where a concert delivered by Michael Fiammardente, Rosa D’Imperio and Cosette Carlomusto was considered a highlight of his trip to the United States.

We have collaborated on an ongoing basis with the Dante Society of Long Island, the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit, the office of the Consul General of New York, with New York University’s Casa Italiana and, this past summer, with the Italian Trade Commission, whose leader, Aniello Musella, has taken Italian products and interests far off the New York State Thruway into communities such as Saratoga, to raise recognition of Italianità throughout the northeast.

We have had the privilege of hosting several social events in favor of great Italians and Americans of Italian extraction who articulate our mission of cultural diplomacy, during the past year. From political and opinion leaders and advocates to the top medical minds here and in Italy, our work has brought together lasting,meaningful relations.

On a practical level, we have added to our staff Vincenza Restiano, who has completed a successful political career, and now serves as director of public relations, working together with our office in Rome – which is itself now fully staffed – to advance the work of the Italian Academy Foundation, Inc.

May I thank all of you and ask for your continued support, given without our solicitation, the nicest aspect of all. Look to us when you are feeling generous; we depend strictly upon your good will, of which we are grateful to have had an abundance. God bless you all and thank you.

S. Acunto