The International Piano Academy Lake Como is a unique institution. Seven pianists, chosen annually from a worldwide field of applicants including many international prizewinners, have the opportunity of studying with a faculty whose core membership past and present includes such stellar artists as Dmitri Bashkirov, Malcolm Bilson, Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Alicia de Larrocha (✝), Stanislav Ioudenitch, Graham Johnson, Vladimir Mischouk, William Grant Naboré, John Perry, Menahem Pressler, Charles Rosen (✝), Andreas Staier, Fou Ts’ong.
These distinguished artists come for approximately a week at a time and give daily private tuition and master classes to the fortunate seven students. The International Piano Academy Lake Como was founded in April 2002.
Due to the extraordinary faculty invited to teach and the exceptional talents admitted to the school, the International Piano Academy Lake Como, has imposed itself as one of the major piano academies in the world.
Despite the name, the atmosphere is more familial than that of an academy, and communal rather than competitive. The Academy is housed in a beautiful 17th century palazzo overlooking the famous lake.
Away from the pressures of the outside world, students are able to learn and work in a relaxed, stimulating and contemplative environment. Here they receive inspiration, opportunities and guidance in every aspect of concert and artistic life, including chamber music, accompaniment, physiology (the treatment/prevention of occupational injuries) and piano technique.
Palazzo Del Vescovo
The majestic Palazzo del Vescovo (Palace of the Bishop) was erected by the family of the Marquis Cossoni in the 1600’s. In 1854 the Bishop of Como, Carlo Romanò, acquired the building from the heirs of the family Cossoni.
In 1983 the Town of Dongo purchased the building, and with the financial help of the Comunità Montana Valli del Lario e del Ceresio, the citizens of Dongo embarked on a complete restoration of the Palazzo.
Today the building, which still retains its former name, houses the Civic Institute of Music “Alto Lario” and, since December of 2003, the International Piano Academy Lake Como.
In Roman times, the area around Dongo and Gravedona ed Uniti was a very important center favored by its nearness to the lake and to the historic Via Regina which connected them, as it does today, to Como with the lake-side villages and the transalpine territories.
It was in this period that the area seems to have been used for pagan rites, and the finds of Roman sacrificial altars would seem to confirm the belief that it was the sight of pagan temples. However, it was only in the 5th century that the “Early Christian” period began around Dongo/Gravedona. This is testified by the construction of the first buildings of the new religion. Within a brief period Dongo/Gravedona ed Uniti became the center of religious life of the surrounding territory.
In the Middle Ages, from the 11th century onwards, the whole area became involved in a series of architectural changes which gave it the aspect that characterizes it to this day.