Looking for an excuse to go to southern Italy? Want to feed your love of classical guitar at the same time? Here’s an exciting new destination: Casa Museo Mauro Giuliani.
Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant guitarists and composers of guitar music of the early 19th century—he wrote more than 300 works for the instrument, ranging from solo pieces to concertos to duets with other instruments; his output is well-represented on modern recordings by Julian Bream, Angel Romero, Nigel North, Sonja Prunnbauer, and many others. Those who were lucky enough to see him play during his lifetime—in his native Italy, in Vienna (where he settled in his mid-twenties), or on one of his tours in Europe—attested to his blazing virtuosity. He was also said to have been a wonderful guitar teacher, who tutored members of the Austrian royal family (and others), and a concert-quality cellist.
Now, one of guitarist’s descendants, Nicola Giuliani, has opened a museum dedicated to the guitarist in the beautiful coastal Italian city where Mauro Giuliani was born—Bisceglie, clear across the “boot” from Naples, on the Adriatic Sea, in the region of Puglia. The “house museum” contains numerous pieces from Nicola Giuliani’s large collection of artifacts from his ancestor’s life and times, including several first-edition music manuscripts, engravings, prints, private documents, and even an 1804 guitar purportedly built for Giuliani by the noted Neapolitan luthier Gennaro Fabricatore, credited by one Giuliani biographer (in 1836) as the inventor of the sixth string on the guitar.
Nicola Giuliani, who has written his own books about his famous relative, says the museum, which was innaugurated December 20, 2014, also plans to hold regular master classes, seminars and conferences as part of its larger mission to popularize classical guitar and encourage both historians and players to look into the instrument’s rich history.
At this time, the museum is only open by appointment. For more, go to www.associazionegiuliani.com/, or the Casa Museo Mauro Giuliani page on Facebook.
(Below, one of the master’s guitars housed at the museum.)