Compagnia di San Paolo

Italian Academy Distinguished Visiting Professorship 

The Compagnia di San Paolo Professorship, an initiative that ran from 2012 to 2015, was held by a distinguished visiting scholar from Italy in the fields of History of Art, Musicology, and Italian Studies. 

The Compagnia offered the equivalent of $240,000 in support and began working closely with the Italian Academy to bring to Columbia a series of renowned professors to promote the knowledge of those areas of Italian learning which have contributed so greatly to the development of culture.

Founded in 1563, the Compagnia di San Paolo is a private, non-governmental organization that generously and consistently supports education; art and the preservation and development of cultural heritage and activities; scientific, economic and juridical research; health; and assistance to the socially deprived.

These Visiting Professors taught courses in Columbia departments (see details below), and each one also offered a major public lecture to the broader New York audience. Videos of past lectures can be found here: Prof. Ottani Cavina on art in 2012; Prof. Borio on music in 2013; Prof. Ficara on literature in 2014.

Portrait of Giorgio Ficara

Giorgio Ficara

Università di Torino

Leopardi and nature (Seminar in the Department of Italian) 

2014–2015: Fall

Giorgio Ficara, the third annual Compagnia di San Paolo / Italian Academy Distinguished Visiting Professor, is Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Turin and has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University, UCLA, and the University of Chicago. He has taught at the Sorbonne and the Collège de France, Paris. Among his books: Solitudini. Studi sulla letteratura italiana dal Duecento al Novecento (Garzanti, 1993 – Premio Lerici 1994), Il punto di vista della Natura. Saggio su Leopardi (Il Melangolo, 1996 – runner-up Premio Viareggio 1997); Casanova e la malinconia (Einaudi, 1999); Stile Novecento (Marsilio, 2007). In 1984 he won the Borgia Prize, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. He is co-Editor of Lettere italiane and is a regular contributor to La Stampa. 


Silent Moon: On Leopardi's "Canto Notturno"

Portrait of Gianmario Borio

Gianmario Borio

Università di Pavia

Avant-garde music in Italy: 1950-2000 (Seminar in the Department of Music)

2012–2013: Spring

Gianmario Borio the second annual Compagnia di San Paolo / Italian Academy Distinguished Visiting Professor, graduated in Philosophy at the Università di Torino and gained his PhD in Musicology at the Technische Universität Berlin (under Carl Dahlhaus). He held research fellowships from the DAAD, the Paul Sacher Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. 1993-1999 he was Associate Professor of Musicology at the Università di Pavia, since 2000 he has been a Full Professor at the same university. He has been a visiting professor at various institutions in Europe, Canada and the USA (he has taught or lectured at Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Tufts, Yale, UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Davis). In 1999 he was awarded the Dent Medal by the Royal Musical Association. In 2012 he was nominated Director of the Institute of Music of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini (Venice).

He has been a member of the editorial board of the journals "Il Saggiatore Musicale" (1994-2010) and "Acta Musicologica" (2000-2010); since 2005 he is a member of the editorial board of "Filigrane" and since 2008 of the "Swiss Yearbook for Musicology." He is a member of the advisory boards of "Journal of the Royal Musical Association," "Music Analysis," "Twentieth Century Music" and "Il Saggiatore Musicale." From 1994 to 2010 he was a member of the scientific board of Archivio Luigi Nono (Venice) and since 2010 of the Centro Studi Luciano Berio (Florence). Since 2006 he has been a member of the artistic committee of the Milano Musica festival, and since 2009 of the editorial board of Pavia University Press.

In 2002-2003 and 2005-2006 he was scientific director of a project on the History of Musical Concepts (supported by the Italian Foundation for Research and University). From 2006 to 2010 he directed, together with Hermann Danuser and John Rink, the European Network for Musicological Research. He is co-director of a research group on the interpretation of audiovisual works (

His publications deal with several aspects of composition in the 20th Century, music theory and aesthetics. He is currently working on a book project on German theory of musical form in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.


Gianmario Borio on "The End of Exoticism"

Working papers

Gianmario Borio, Image-sound structure and the audiovisual experience, 2012-2013

Anna Ottani Cavina

Anna Ottani Cavina

Università di Bologna

Antiquity and modernity in the age of neo-classicism (Seminar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology)

2011–2012: Spring

Named to the “Légion d’honneur” of the French Republic in 2001, Professor Ottani Cavina is also Director of the Fondazione Federico Zeri, Professor of Art History of the Department of Visual Arts, University of Bologna, and Adjunct Professor of Italian Art History, Johns Hopkins University SAIS Bologna Center, and was director of the exhibition "Louvre Paysages d'Italie. Les peintres du plein air" (at the Grand Palais in Paris, 2001). In 1999 she was the speaker for the Italian Academy Lecture Series; her lectures were then published as Geometries of Silence.


Inaugural Lecture

Working papers

Anna Ottani Cavina, The Federico Zeri Foundation: An International Research Centre for Art History, 2011-2012