25 -27 July


The ukulele was developed in Hawaii at the end of the Nineteenth century by Portuguese immigrants combining two instruments: the machete (from which it inherits the shape) and the rajão (from which it inherits the tuning). It soon gained international popularity crossing musical genres and cultures. Ernest Ka'ai, Roy Smeck, George Formby, Tiny Tim, George Harrison, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Eddie Vedder e Jake Shimabukuro are just few of the artists who participated in giving popularity to the ukulele. In fact, the ukulele is a fascinating versatile instrument: from its folk Hawaiian origins and its afterwards gained reputation as world-renowned Jazz Age icon, it has spread internationally in its capacity of extremely easy, portable and often affordable instrument with significant appearances in pop and indie music. The diversity of construction materials, types and shapes as well of tunings, string kinds, performing techniques and accessories it features offer an invaluable range of tools to fit any style, aesthetic, ensemble and musical need which is far for having been fully explored. In recent times, several contemporary composers have started composing new music for it, fostering the development of a new challenging and cultivated ukulele repertoire and aiming to deepen and evolve the idiomatic unique features of the instrument. Giovanni Albini has commissioned, revised, premiered and recorded dozens of new works for ukulele written for him, and arranged classical and renowned contemporary and twentieth century scores for ukulele solo. He is co-director of the First Ukulele International Conference (UIC 2021) - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Performance, Composition, and Organology, hosted by the University of Milan, and he has started the first Italian ukulele university class at the Conservatorio "A. Vivaldi" di Alessandria (Italy).

The course is aimed both to ukulelists who wish to improve their technique and to performers of related instruments (guitar, lute, etc.) who want to start learning the ukulele. Aspects of idiomatic performance practice as well as ones regarding contemporary music will be deepened, tackling at the same time arranging issues and extended techniques.

Students and teachers will not be provided with hospitality in the Castle, where only didactic activities and concerts will take place. Students will therefore arrange their own accommodation and stay independently. The Campus undertakes to promote concessions with operators: all updated information can be found on the link. For further information here. Foreign students are required to take out health insurance cover or to provide a consular statement of their right to medical assistance under the appropriate international convention. Within 8 days of their arrival in Italy, students must go to the Foreign Department of the Police (Questura) to obtain the residential permit for study purposes.

(pic by Beatrice Buzzi)