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Patrizio Barbieri honored with the 2024 Curt Sachs Award


AMIS announces that the recipient of the 2024 Curt Sachs Award is Patrizio Barbieri. 

Patrizio passed away on January 31, 2024. 


Patrizio Barbieri studied electrical engineering at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and worked in that field in Europe and the United States. Turning to historical matters relevant to organology, as an independent scholar he wrote five influential books and some 140 articles on musical instruments and related topics, many of which appeared in leading international journals. He was awarded the 2008 Frances Densmore Prize by the American Musical Instrument Society for the best article in English on musical instruments published in 2006–7. Recent books include Enharmonic Instruments and Music 1470–1900 (2008), Physics of Wind Instruments and Organ Pipes 1100–2010 (2013), and Hydraulic Musical Automata in Italian Villas and Other Ingenia: 1400–2000 (2019). These contributions reflect a diverse expertise in acoustics and physics, lutherie and keyboard-instrument building, technology and mechanical engineering, harmonic theory, systematic musicology, and economics. Among other subjects, Barbieri taught musical and architectural acoustics, history of music theory and tuning, and history of musical instruments at Rome’s Università di Tor Vergata, the Laboratorio di acustica musicale e architettonica of the Fondazione Scuola di San Giorgio—CNR in Venice, the Università degli Studi di Lecce, and at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana in Rome. His most recent article “Die beiden Harmonie-Systeme der Paduaner Schule (1720–1820)” appeared in 2021 in the series Geschichte der Musiktheorie of the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung in Berlin.

      Barbieri produced one of the largest and most important oeuvres in organology, impressive in its scope and variety. As a truly interdisciplinary researcher, he illuminated profound connections between musical instruments and mathematics, physics, mechanics, economics, and intellectual history from antiquity to modern times, with special attention to Italy from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. The Curt Sachs Award committee acknowledges the extraordinary sophistication and range of Barbieri's influential publications, and their scientific depth, methodological originality, and comprehensive analyses of historical contexts.


Curt Sachs Award committee: Heike Fricke, John Watson, Laurence Libin


Patrizio Barbieri with Giuliana Montanari, Donatella Degiampietro, Barbara Mingazzini, and Antonella Conti (Laboratorio del Fortepiano, Florence)

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