Female Voices in Indian Music Culture and Literature

March 8, 2018

As part of the course in Ethnomusicology, Prof. Francesca Cassio (Hofstra University, NY) will hold a lecture on the female presence in Indian musical culture and literature. The lecture will take place at the Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment, University of Milan (via Noto 8, aula K02), at 12:30.


Based on iconographic, literary and oral sources, this lecture discusses the repertoires performed by women in private and public settings, from the temple to the court. In particular, the presenter debates the ambiguity of the musical texts, swinging between the categories of sacred and secular music in relation to the context of the performance. The lecture offers a reflection on the impact of gender ideologies on female music makers in North India, ranging from early music to pre-Partition era, with focus on the case study of the medieval poetess Mirabai and the 18th-19th century courtesans’ tradition. The event showcases original audio-visual materials from Prof. Cassio’s archive, and it is enriched with live examples of traditional compositions sung by the presenter.


Francesca Cassio on


Francesca Cassio is Full Professor of Music at Hofstra University (NY), and since 2011 holds the first endowed chair in Sikh Musicology established in the United States.

Since 1994, Dr. Cassio has conducted extensive research in India, where she lived and has been professionally trained in classical vocal music and in the Sikh kirtan repertoire, according to the Guru-Shishya Parampara (“teacher-student”) tradition.

She is disciple of legendary masters of the 20th century: the dhrupad singer Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar, the thumri singer Vidushi Girija Devi, the temple musician Hazoori Ragi Bhai Gurcharan Singh. Dr. Cassio also received extensive vocal training in vocal by Bhai Baldeep Singh, the 13th generation exponent of Gurbānī kirtan maryada, and by Professor Ritwik Sanyal (Benares Hindu University).

Prior to joining the Hofstra faculty, she served as a visiting professor in musicology at Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan, India; lecturer of ethnomusicology at the University of Trento, Italy; lecturer of anthropology of music at the Conservatory of Adria, Italy; and lecturer of ethnomusicology and Indian music at the Conservatory of Vicenza, Italy.

Accomplished performer and scholar, Dr. Cassio is the author of several publications, including a monograph on dhrupad (Percorsi della voce. Ut Orpheus: Bologna, 2000). In 2015 she was awarded the Stessin Prize for outstanding scholarly publication, with the article “Female Voices in Gurbānī Sangīand the Role of the Media in Promoting Female Kīrtanīe.


Sacred Mountains


Abrahamic Religions and Musical Practices in the Mediterranean Area

An Audiovisual Journey by Nicola Scaldaferri (2017)


Screening and discussion:


March 19, 2018

Sapienza University of Rome, Rome




February 13, 2018

University of California, Berkeley

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February 9, 2018

UPENN, Philadelphia

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February 1, 2018

Excentric Music Studies Conference, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, Cambridge MA



December 5, 2017

CUNY, Graduate Center, New York



October 18, 2017

MEG – Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, Geneve



October 11, 2017

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Venice




June 21, 2017

University of Cologne, Cologne



Berio and Beyond

September 6-8, 2017

Berio and Beyond is a seminar promoted by the Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment of the University of Milan, in collaboration with the Centro Studi Luciano Berio. This event marks the beginning of a wider project conceived by Angela Ida De Benedictis, that will extend in the next stages to a wider international level. Using some works by Luciano Berio as a starting point, categories like multi-mediality and cross-mediality will be analyzed in their theoretical implications and contextualized in their historical frame. This first meeting of the seminar will take place at Palazzo Feltrinelli (Gargnano, BS), thanks to the contribution of the University of Milan (prof. Nicola Scaldaferri, coordinator).



Giacomo Albert (University of Turin)

Alessandro Cecchi (University of Pisa)

Giovanni Cestino (University of Milan)

Maurizio Corbella (University of Milan)

Marco Cosci (University of Pavia)

Angela Ida De Benedictis (Paul Sacher Foundation)

Mila De Santis (University of Florence)

Vincenzina Ottomano (University of Bern)

Talia Pecker Berio (Centro Studi Luciano Berio)

Marida Rizzuti (IULM University)

Emilio Sala (University of Milan)

Nicola Scaldaferri (University of Milan)

Veniero Rizzardi (Conservatory of Padova)


Listening as Composition: a Colloquium with Steven Feld

March 21-22, 2017

The seminar, hosted by the University of Milan and the Conservatory of Music “G. Verdi”, will focus on some aspects of Feld’s activity, especially on the moment of listening and recording sound events to their organization through compositional processes, using recording and editing technologies. The central moment will be the listening to a 25th-anniversary concert edition of Voices of the Rainforest, newly recomposed in the 7.1 cinema surround sound format. The acousmatic concert performance in Sala Puccini (March 21, 2017 at 9 pm) will be a European premiere of this newly completed work.

Program of the event


Photographs by Valentino Albini.

“Bella Ciao” 50 Years Later

June 17, 2014

Conference at the University of Milan, for the 5oth anniversary of Bella Ciao, a famous concert of folk revival, done for the first time in Spoleto, in 1964, and now organized with a new generation of musicians. With the participation of Paolo Inghilleri, Filippo Del Corno, Franco Lurà, Siel Agugliaro, Delia Casadei, Jacopo Tomatis, Caludio Argiolas, Alessio Lega, Emilio Sala, Valentina Trovato, Filippo Crivelli, Cesare Bermani, Dante Bellamio, Giuseppe Morandi, Luigi Pestalozza, Giancarlo Nostrini and Stefano Pogelli; chaired by Franco Fabbri and Nicola Scaldaferri.


Video Streaming