In the Steps of Conductors Without Borders in Italy

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Liberi di Cantare (Free to Sing), Italy

With the support of the Department of Jails, the implementation of the Officine Musicali and the Cuminetti Association, and the artistic development of M° Matteo Magistrali and M° Luca Pasqua; Liberi di Cantare (Free to Sing) is a new choir that started its activities in September 2017, as both a cultural and an educational initiative in the prison of Milan-Bollate. This is only one of thousands of its kind around the world, and a superb reminder of the power choral music has as a vehicle for social integration and rehabilitation of prisoners. A few days before Christmas 2017, a noticeably moved Director of the Milan-Bollate prison, Dott. Massimo Parisi, addressed choristers after their very first performance with these simple but weighted words:

“I am certain that this activity is giving you the opportunity to improve your relationships here, within the prison, and at the same time is helping you to look more peacefully at your future”.

This choral project encourages inmates to learn how to relate and collaborate with one another in constructive ways, pursuing a common goal through the art of choral music. The project is rooted on the firm belief that what is beautiful helps to foster a more pleasant human experience within a harsh penitentiary environment. This choral initiative echoes Claudio Abbado’s words, who referred to music as “a tremendous relationship channel that engages people at an intellectual, emotional, and physical level” and can ultimately change lives.

This project will soon be connected with another project supported by IFCM, “Conducting 21 C,” to explore networking opportunities. If you know of other experiences of this kind, please let us know at

More info on this project: