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Transmission and transformation: An ethnomusicological study of the Italian-Canadian community of Toronto. A new ICAMus research by Roberta De Piccoli.

The Center welcomes a new collaborator: Italian musicologist Roberta De Piccoli, who will be leaving soon for Canada on a mission that expands and deepens in innovative directions the scope of the ICAMus initiatives. Dr. De Piccoli will be working on a paper-video presentation: Transmission and transformation: An ethnomusicological study of the Italian-Canadian community of Toronto. Her research is focused on diaspora awareness, and definition of musical identity in North-America. We look forward to sharing its outcome in the spring of 2019.

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Objective, scope and content of the research.

Two of the most relevant questions about the Italo-Canadian migration history are related to colonialism and diaspora awareness (for political, religious or economic reasons). The musical functions are connected with two different ways of understanding the process: the musical annexation of a new homeland and the reminiscence of the lost homeland.

Toronto is one of the cities with the highest density of Italian ethnicity in the world. Theatres, music hall, and schools of music, which are part of an extended social ritual participation, were built in the XX century, with the aid of large Italian workforce and labour. The adjective, “Italian” includes people from different regions, with their own specific language and dialect, without a consistent integration in-between.

An original video is presented as result of an experimental inquiry carried out in Toronto from October 2018 through May 2019. The interviews with individuals from three historical migration waves address the topics of how problematic it is to acknowledge the common Italian denominators toward a definition of music identity; what is nostalgic and what is ‘real’; how, and to what extent it is possible to recognize such common elements as part of today’s culture, through a fluid perception of space/time and temporality.

This research is carried out in collaboration with ICAMus, The International Center for American Music.


Dr. Roberta De Piccoli is an Italian musicologist. She was Adjunct Professor at Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, 2006-2010; Research Collaborator and Music Educator, MUSLI Torino, 2003-2012; Press contributor, Il Giornale della Musica, 2007-2015; and currently Music Teacher, MIUR, since 2007.

In the photos on this page, Roberta De Piccoli is portrayed as performer-presenter, in her field research, and as music educator.

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Highlights & Archive