Domus Artium is a society organising classical music concerts in beautiful and exclusive locations in Rome. Seeking out the finest private palaces in Rome, and pairing them with elite classical musicians and sourcing top chefs, Domus Artium then hosts a season of magical concerts and dinners throughout Rome.

Domus Artium brings together musicians, artists, dancers, chefs and curators to collaborate with art patrons in Rome on a series of events and shows in their own homes and palaces. According to the society, this practice echoes the centuries-old tradition of noble families who have always hosted culture in their homes in the form of concerts, art and society events.

Domus Artium decided to take on the challenge of bringing this idea into the 21st century, and opening access to regular music and food lovers. For the post-Covid era, the return to live experiences, performances and convivial moment also has particular importance.

Domus Artium: the locations

Domus Artium selects locations all over the Greater Rome and Lazio area in collaboration with patrons and partners who are interested in supporting their initiatives. Locations to date have included Palazzo Colonna, Rome; Palazzo Della Cancelleria, Rome; Palazzo Farnese, Rome; Auditorium Parco Della Musica, Rome, Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello; Castello Odescalchi, Bracciano; and Castello Chigi, Castel Fusano.

Domus Artium organises classical concerts with dinner in exclusive palaces, castles and country houses in Rome
Domus Artium at Palazzo Farnese in Rome

Domus Artium: review

I recently participated in a concert at Palazzo Farnese, in Rome, a prestigious palace which is also home to the French Embassy to the Italian State today. This concert brought together four masterful artists for a concert of rare meaning and spirituality. It was held in the Sala d’Ercole of Palazzo Farnese, an elegant room with wood-lined ceilings and extraordinary acoustics.

The musicians featured were Renaud Capuçon (violin), Kian Soltani, (cello), Pascal Moraguès (clarinette) and Hélène Mercier (piano). The ,musicians played Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps.

Composed between the end of 1940 and the start of 1941 in the Görlitz concentration camp, where Messiaen had been interned, the Quartet for the End of Time is a unique expression of a deeply harrowing experience, from one of the darkest and most dramatic moments in history. The world premiere of the piece took place within the same concentration camp, where Messiaen met three other musicians with whom he managed to make music, albeit in inhumane conditions. For Messiaen it was the only way to spiritually survive.

The Quartet was played for the first time on a freezing winter evening in a snow-covered square for an audience of 5,000 prisoners of war and the Nazi sentries of the camp. The musicians used makeshift instruments, while Messiaen played the piano. According to reports, the concert aroused emotions and a heartfelt response, finishing in a very long applause. A few months later, Messiaen and the three musicians would be free.

This musical choice for the Domus Artium experience was one of profound intensity and emotion, made all the more dramatic by the setting. The evening began with a brief cocktail party, and the concert was followed by a buffet dinner and a tour of the palace. The dinner should have been in the garden, but unfortunately it rained, so it was held inside.

This was an exclusive and powerful experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a slightly different cultural event in Rome.

Attending a Domus Artium concert

Domus Artium usually holds six concerts a year including a grand gala. These are usually held between January and June. Tickets can be purchased for each individual event online at the Domus Artium website.

Music fans who want to buy a season ticket to all six events can also purchase a full annual pass on the site.

Testaccina was a guest of Domus Artium

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