Venice: Queen of the Adriatic

Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Venice, poised regally on the Adriatic coast, dominated the Eastern Mediterranean beginning in the twelfth century. Her extensive trade network linked Europe to Byzantium, the Moslem world, and even the distant Asian civilizations explored by Marco Polo. With a unique political system, commercial and technical prowess, and tolerant cultural environment, Venice became the most prosperous city in Europe, and a showcase of magnificent art, architecture, music, and fashion. Although eventually overshadowed as a cultural and economic power by emerging nation-states of Western Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Venice followed its own unusual path to lasting material and cultural success.

In collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco and the Consul General of Italy; Sponsored by Bank of the West; Stanford University; and UC Berkeley.

Friday, October 22, 2010, 8:00 to 10:15 pm

Introduction to the Program
Patricia Lundberg 
(Humanities West) and Hon. Fabrizio Marcelli, Consul General of Italy

The Allure of Venice:  Civic Myth and Social Reality.  Joanne M. Ferraro (Professor and Chair of History, San Diego State University).

What gave Venice its alluring reputation as ‘The Most Serene Republic?’ Myths like this one fostered civic pride and constructed civic identity, inspiring an elaborate ceremonial symbolism and iconography to represent the floating city. Public space was decorated with icons of Justice and Liberty, while the votive churches of the Redentore and Santa Maria della Salute stood as symbols of pious devotion for staged processions. The pageantry, however, did not mask the hardships of poverty, prostitution, or disease. Social historian Joanne Ferraro explores the civic energies that sustained Venice’s ideal public and sacred symbolism. The city housed courtesans, heretics, sorcerers, and fake saints but also a community of pious donors that built confraternities, hospitals, orphanages, and homes for women whose virtue was endangered.


Introduced by Clifford (Kip) Cranna, Director of Music Administration, SF Opera

The music of Renaissance Venice expresses the excitement and novelty of that great city. This performance presents the more intimate of the Venetian musical styles—love songs, carnival songs, street seller’s songs, as well as more formal celebratory compositions by some of the Renaissance master composers, are performed by Allison Zelles Lloyd (soprano); David Morris, (viola da gamba, gittern and voice); Gilbert Martinez (harpsichord); Shira Kammen (violin and voice); with Herb Myers.

Venecie mundi splendorJohannes Ciconia (c.1370–1412)
L’amor donna ch’io te portoGiacomo Fogliano (1458–1548)
Ancor che col partireCipriano da Rore (c. 1515–1565)
Divisions on Ancor che col partire from Il vero modo di diminuir (Venice, 1584)Girolamo dalla Casa (d. 1601)
Musica dulci sonoCipriano da Rore
Three settings of Fortuna d’un gran tempo from The Odhecaton published by Ottaviano Petrucci (Venice, 1501)Anonymous
ToccataGiovanni Picchi (ca. 1571–1643)
Ballo alla PolachaGiovanni Picchi
La RomanescaBiagio Marini (1594–1663)
Si dolce tormentoClaudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)
Dal lecto mi levavaMichele Pesenti (c. 1470–1524)

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 10:00 am to noon and 1:30 to 4:00 pm

Moderator, Paula Findlen (Professor and Chair, History; Co-Director, Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Co-Director, History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Program; Stanford University)

Regnum aquosumSpace and Society in Medieval Venice
Maureen C. Miller
 (History, UC Berkeley)
This broad introduction narrates the emergence and early development of Venice, giving particular attention to the impact of environmental factors. It traces the gradual fusion of island parishes into a city and highlights the distinctive features of Venice’s urban fabric. The lagoon’s role in shaping Venetian economic practices and mentalities is also assessed: did an economy based on fish, salt, and shipping yield a more harmonious social and political order?

From Mosaic to Melting Pot in the Venetian Empire
Sally McKee
(History, UC Davis)
The city of Venice reflected the preeminent role it played in the conquest and economy of markets around the Mediterranean Sea. Venetian merchants and colonial settlers changed the landscape of the cities and territories they dominated. The Lion of St. Mark appeared on public buildings, fortresses, and warehouses in Constantinople, Tyre, Crete, the Aegean Islands, and Cyprus, while monumental trophies displayed in Venice reminded inhabitants of their city’s economic power. But Venetians bore the stamp of empire not just in their clothing, food, art, and language. Venice’sstato da mar promoted as well an influx into Venice of people — slaves, wealthy brides, artisans, and sailors — from all over the eastern Mediterranean. Uniquely multicultural in its time, Venice embodied the benefits and contradictions of foreign domination.

Lunch Break

Venetian Musical Instruments
Herb Myers demonstrates Antique Venetian Musical Instruments. Venice is famous for its many significant contributions to the world of music in the 16th and 17th centuries, both as a center of music publishing and as a widely imitated leader in compositional styles. Not the least of its contributions was in the production of musical instruments, particularly woodwinds, string keyboards (virginals and harpsichords), and bowed strings. Herb Myers demonstrates copies and shows images of instruments by Venetian builders of the Renaissance and early Baroque—instruments clearly designed to appeal to the eye as well as the ear.


Sonata in sol maggiore per violoncello e basso continuoBenedetto Marcello (1687–1739)
Toccata seconda per tiorba solaJohannes H. Kapsperger (c. 1580–1651)
Sonata in sol minore per violoncello e basso continuoAntonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
Sonata III per violoncello e basso continuoGiovanni Benedetto Platti (1697–1763)

Architecture and Urbanism Between East and West: The Piazza San Marco of Venice in Context
Max Grossman
 (Art History, University of Texas El Paso)
Long admired as one of the most beautiful and best preserved public squares in Europe, the Piazza San Marco of Venice was for centuries the civic, religious and commercial epicenter of the Republic. The surrounding monumental edifices, including the Basilica of San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, Zecca, Campanile and Procuratie, bear witness to the commercial successes of the great Venetian fleets and their extensive trade with the city’s colonial empire. Moreover, they project the myth of the foundation of Venice by the ancient Romans while declaring the city’s status as the principle gateway into Western Europe for Byzantine and Islamic culture.

Panel Discussion with all Presenters and written questions from the Audience.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Venezia Serenissima Concert at SF Conservatory of Music. Alessandro Palmeri (Bassetto Cimapane), SF Conservatory of Music Faculty Richard Savino (lute), Corey Jamason (harpsichord), and Elisabeth Reed (cello).


Luciano Chessa teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory. He received his PhD in musicology from University of California Davis. Previously, at the Conservatory of Bologna, he earned a DMA in piano and a MA in composition. His areas of research interest include 20th-century music, experimental music and late 14th-century music, and he has been interviewed at the CBS (KPIX/KBHK) television channel as an expert on Italian hip-hop. His scholarly writings can be found in MIT Press’ Leonardo and Musica e Storia, the Journal of the Levi Foundation, Venice. He is currently working on the first English monograph dedicated to Luigi Russolo, to be published by University of California Press. Dr. Chessa is also active as a composer and performer. His scores (including a large work for orchestra and double children choir, and a piano and three turntables duo) are published by RAI TRADE, and many are produced with visual artist Terry Berlier. Since 1999 he has been musical program coordinator for the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, where he produces concerts of Italian contemporary music.

Clifford (Kip) Cranna (PhD, Musicology, Stanford) is Direc­tor of Musical Administration at SF Opera. He has served as vocal adjudicator for numerous groups including the Metropolitan Opera National Council. For many years he was Program Editor and Lecturer for the Carmel Bach Festival. He lectures and writes frequently on music and teaches at the SF Conservatory of Music. He hosts the Opera Guild’s “Insight” panels and intermission features for the SF Opera radio broadcasts, and has been a Music Study Leader for Smithsonian Tours. In 2008 he was awarded the SF Opera Medal, the com­pany’s highest honor.

Joanne M. Ferraro (PhD UCLA), Professor and Chair of History at SDSU, is an historian of Renaissance and early modern Venice. A specialist in the history of marriage and the family, she has published Family and Public Life in Brescia, 1580-1650. The Foundations of Power in the Venetian State(Cambridge, 1993); Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice (Oxford, 2001), which was awarded best book from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian Historical Studies; and Nefarious Crimes, Contested Justice. Illicit Sex in the Republic of Venice, 1557-1789 (Johns Hopkins, 2008). Ferraro has received research fellowships from National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, and Gladys Krieble Foundation. She is an “International Associate” of Venice’s Ateneo Veneto and serves as a Vice President of the American Friends of the Marciana Library. Ferraro is currently writing a history of Venice for Cambridge University Press.

Moderator, Paula Findlen (Professor and Chair, History; Co-Director, Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Co-Director, History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Program; Stanford University) is “fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society.” Among her many publications are The Italian Renaissance: Essential Readings (Blackwell, 2002); and “Men, Moments and Machines” special on the History Channel: “Galileo and the Sinful Spyglass.”

Max Grossman, Assistant Professor of Art History at University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), formerly taught in the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University and at Stanford University (BA, Art History and English, UC Berkeley; MA/PhD, Art History, Columbia University). After seven years of residence in Tuscany, he completed his dissertation on the civic architecture, urbanism and iconography of the Sienese Republic in the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. He has presented papers at academic conferences around the United States, including at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, and chaired a session entitled “The Italian Civic Palace in the Age of the City-Republics” at the 1st International Meeting of the European Architectural History Network in Guimarães, Portugal in 2010. He is currently preparing the main arguments of his doctoral thesis, the first synthetic treatment of the total architectural production of an Italian city-state, for submission. His research is focused on the political iconography of the Sienese commune, as manifested in painting, sculpture, architecture, coinage, seals and manuscripts. In addition, he is studying the development of the Italian civic palace, from its origins in the twelfth century through its final transformations in the Quattrocento, challenging and revising accepted paradigms while forming a new critical apparatus for interpreting the architecture and urbanism of medieval and Renaissance city-states.

Multi-instrumentalist and vocal­ist Shira Kammen received her music degree from UC Berkeley and studied vielle with Margriet Tindemans. Shira has performed with Al­catraz, Project Ars Nova, Medieval Strings, Sequentia, Hesperion XX, Boston Camerata, Balkan group Kitka, and the Oregon, Califor­nia and SF Shakespeare Festivals; with John Fleagle, Fortune’s Wheel, Ephemeros, Pana­cea, Patrick Ball, Anne Azema, Susan Rode Morris, Margriet Tindemans, and in theatri­cal and dance productions. She founded Class V Music, an ensemble performing on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Morocco, and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue and Klamath Rivers. She has played on soundtracks, including ‘O’, a modern high school-setting of Othello. Her original music can be heard in a film about fans of JRR Tol­kien. The strangest place Shira played is the Jerusalem Zoo elephant pit.

Gilbert Martinez (harpsichord) is the Artistic Director of MusicSources, the Bay Area’s center for early music. He studied harpsichord at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Laurette Golberg, who was the founder of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and MusicSources. Subsequently he was invited to Italy to study with Alan Curtis. In addition to revitalizing MusicSources’ concerts and programs, he has had the pleasure of appearing with many soloist and ensembles, including Anne Akiko Meyers, The New Century Chamber Orchestra, Musica Angelica, Les Idees Heureses of Montreal, to name only a few.  For more of his recent activity, see

David Morris (violoncello) received his BA (Magna cum laude) and MA in Music from UC Berkeley and was the recipient of the University’s Eisner Prize for excellence in the performing arts. He has performed with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and been a guest of the Los Angeles and Portland Baroque Orchestras and the Mark Morris Dance Company. He is a member of Musica Pacifica and is the musical director of the Bay Area baroque opera collective Teatro Bacchino. He is the Dean of Students at the Crowden School in Berkeley, and has conducted the Crowden School Orchestra on festival tours through the United Kingdom and Europe. He has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Dorian, New Albion and New World.

Sally McKee (History, UC Davis) crisscrossed North America as an academic before becoming a professor at UC Davis since 1990. Since 1989, she has spent much of her research time in Venice and specializes as a late medieval/early Renaissance historian on the origins of the Adriatic empire. Publications include “Inherited Status and Slavery in Renaissance Italy and Venetian Crete,” Past & Present 182 (February, 2004), 31-53 (awarded the 2004 Berkshire Conference of Women Historian’s Article Prize); Uncommon Dominion: Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000); “Households in Fourteenth-Century Venetian Crete,” Speculum: A Journal of the Medieval Academy of America 70 (January 1995), 27-67; “Women Under Venetian Colonial Rule: Some Observations on their Economic Activities,” Renaissance Quarterly, 51/1 (1998), 34-67; Editor, Wills from Late Medieval Venetian Crete (1312 – 1420), 3 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1997).

Maureen C. Miller is a historian of medieval Europe with a particular interest in Italy. She earned her PhD from Harvard University, where she studied with the distinguished social and economic historian, David Herlihy. Her first book, The Formation of a a Medieval Church: Ecclesiastical Change in Verona, 950-1150 (Cornell University Press, 1993), won the American Catholic Historical Association’s John Gilmary Shea prize for the best book on Catholic history published that year. Her second book, The Bishop’s Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval Italy (Cornell University Press, 2000), was awarded the 2001 Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize of the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best book in Italian history. After teaching at Hamilton College and George Mason University, she joined the history department at UC Berkeley. She is currently working on a book on clerical clothing in Rome, 800-1300.

Herb Myers (DMA, Stanford) is Lecturer of Renaissance Winds at Stanford University. He is also Curator, Harry R. Lange Historical Collection of Musical Instruments and Bows, and a Member of The Whole Noyse. Formerly he was a member of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua. He has recorded for Columbia, Orion, Intrada, and Musical Heritage Society. His articles and reviews have appeared in Early MusicThe American RecorderJournal of the American Musical Instrument Society, The Galpin Society Journal and Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America; EMA Performance Guides.

Alessandro Palmeri studied cello at the Conservatory of Music of Palermo. He has performed as 1° cello and soloist in Europe, Russia, Canada, US, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Japan for prestigious musical institutions- International Festival of Contemporary Music of Warsaw, International Festival of Bacau, Amici della Musica (Italy), Nuova Consonanza, Teatro Massimo of Palermo, Scarlatti Festival, Teatro Comunale of Bologna, Romanian Radiotelevisione, Blumental Festival of Tel Aviv, CIDIM – New Careers of Rome, International Festival of San Pietroburgo, New York University, Bologna Festival, Bimhuis of Amsterdam, l’University Navarro of Pamplona, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Innsbruck Festival, Teatre des Champs Elysees, Vancouver Festiva. He recorded for Tactus, Florentia Musicae, Stradivarius, Symphonia, Amadeus, Opus 111, Naive, ZigZag, Hyperion. He has approached the baroque repertory with original instruments, attending the course of the Fondazione Cini of Venice and collaborating with ensembles of ancient music –  “Il Ruggiero”, “Auser musici”, “Antonio Il Verso”, “L’Astrée”, “Cantica Simphonia”“La Venexiana”, “Academia Montis Regalis”, collaborating with Savall, Kuiyken, Coin, De Marchi. He is member of Imaginarium by Enrico Onofri to perform baroque Italian repertoire. He founded the chamber ensemble Il Ricercar Continuo to perform music for bass and continuo’s instrument. He has taught baroque cello at the international courses of ancient music and has been invited to give master classes throughout Italy and Europe. He plays a rare Italian cello, almost a ‘bassetto’ or a bass violin, by Simone Cimapane (Rome 1685). A few years ago Palmeri found and restored this rare violoncello. The Bassetto Cimapane owes its uniqueness to the fact that it was played in the Arcangelo Corelli Orchestra in Rome. For its features and historical relevance, it belongs in the Italian musical heritage. It is the only instrument of its kind known to be in existence. Sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute, Alessandro Palmeri joins Humanities West for a special performance on the Cimapane Bassetto of music by Italian authors of the 17th century who wrote the earliest compositions for cello.

Richard Savino (Doctorate, SUNY) lectures at SF Conserva­tory of Music, directs ensemble El Mundo, and is Professor of Music at CSU. His instructors included An­dres Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, Albert Fuller and Jerry Willard. Recordings include gui­tar music of Johann Kaspar Mertz; sonatas by Paganini and Giuliani; 18th century guitar music from Mexico by Santiago de Murcia;Ven­ice Before Vivaldi; music by Barabara StrozziBiagio Marini and Giovanni Buonamente; the Boccherini Guitar Symphonia and Op. 30 Concerto for Guitar by Mauro Giuliani; Essential Giuliani Vol. 1; Music Fit for a King; andBaroque Guitar Sonatas of Ludovico Ron­callii (2006-07). He received aDiapason d’Or from Compact (Paris) and a 10 du Rèpertoire (Paris). He is a principal performer New York Collegium; Portland Baroque Orchestra; SF Symphony; and with the Operas of Houston, Santa Fe, San Diego, Colorado, Dallas, and Glimmerglass Opera. He has been Visiting Artistic Director of Aston Magna Academy and Music Festival at Rutgers.

Allison Zelles Lloyd has toured and recorded, in the US and Europe with Bimbetta [d’Note label], the Medieval ensemble Altramar [Dorian Discovery], Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices [Harmonia Mundi] and minimalist, Steve Reich [Nonesuch].  She has performed locally with the chamber ensemble, American Baroque, and the chorus of the American Bach Soloists as well as AVE. She holds a Masters of Music degree from the Early Music Institute of Indiana University. She utilizes her vocal, keyboard, percussion, recorder and medieval harp skills in the music education of young children and their parents as a registered Music Together® teacher and as an Orff Schulwerk certified music educator in the Mt. Diablo school district.