About us

The Project

The vocation of the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de Musique Romantique Française is the rediscovery and international promotion of the French musical heritage of the long nineteenth century (1780-1920). Its interests range from chamber music to the orchestral, sacred and operatic repertories, not forgetting the lighter genres characteristic of the ‘esprit français’ of the nineteenth century (chanson, opéra-comique, operetta). The Centre was inaugurated in 2009 and has its headquarters in a Venetian palazzo dating from 1695 which was specially restored for this purpose. It is an emanation of the Fondation Bru.
There are some fine causes, just waiting to be taken up by projects which are innovatory, inspired and well conceived... all that is lacking for success is the firm support of a committed partner.
Nicole Bru, president
Constant, in-depth scientific research, carried out in partnership with musicologists and international institutions, enables us to rediscover forgotten or hitherto unpublished scores and also, in some cases, to be in direct contact with the families of descendants of nineteenth-century composers. Our research is materialised notably through the organisation of seminars, the digitisation and also the cataloguing of precious collections.
Competitions & Teaching
Through educational projects and its work in partnership with a number of international competitions, which are important springboards for young artists embarking on their professional careers, the Palazzetto Bru Zane is also actively involved in providing young musicians with an opportunity to get to know the realities of the music world today, while sharpening their critical faculties and developing their personalities. Indeed, when performing works for which there is no interpretational tradition, musicians have to find inspiration and conviction within themselves.
Concert Programming
With artists from all horizons, we prepare programmes that are attractive and original, while respecting their individual qualities as musicians, with compositions ranging from chamber music to large-scale symphonic or choral works. Each year unifying themes are chosen, with the aim of providing an overview of a particular period or genre, or the works of a little-known composer. Presentation of the concerts at an international level considerably enlarges the public concerned by the Palazzetto’s activities, while maximising promotion of the artists and their work. Direct support for the “extra-mural” programmes given in collaboration with other institutions also strengthens and enriches the network of partnerships with countries from China to Canada and from Lebanon to the countries of Eastern Europe.
Publication & Recordings
New publications in book form enable us to share our constantly advancing knowledge of the Romantic repertoire with a wide public. Works, which include summaries of current research, analyses, biographies and so on, cover not only the field of musicology, but also related disciplines, such as literature and art history. At the same time, the publication of musical scores, most of which have never previously appeared in print, makes it possible to perform an increasingly varied choice of works in concert. Finally, a long-term recording policy, while testifying to the artistic achievement of the projects developed, enables more and more people to get to know this repertoire.
Romanticism in French Music
'Louis XVI et Gluck vont faire de nouveaux Français'
Voltaire, 1774
Thus he expressed his intuition that France was entering a new age, one in which tastes and habits would no longer be the same. The term “Romanticism”, however, was not adopted until much later, to refer to French music of the period between 1780 and 1830.
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The Casino Zane

For a hundred years, the Casino Zane, built between 1695 and 1697 in the San Stin district not far from the Basilica dei Frari, housed the entertainments of the Zane family, who lived in the nearby Palazzo Zane. The main palace (now a training school, the Scuola Livio Sanudo) was separated from the Palazzetto by a splendid formal garden. A building next to the Palazzetto housed the library; it no longer exists.
In 1682 the workshop of Baldassare Longhena – the most distinguished Venetian architect of the Baroque period, who designed Ca’ Pesaro and Ca’ Rezzonico – completed the restoration of the Palazzo Zane commissioned by Dominico Zane (d. 1672). On his death the latter had bequeathed his property and an important collection of books and paintings to his nephew Marino. Marino Zane then commissioned the building of a casino (now the Palazzetto) and a library to house the collection left to him, which he had subsequently enlarged. The architect Antonio Gaspari, who had worked in Longhena’s workshop, was given carte blanche to design the casino. On his death, his assistant Domenico Rossi carried on the work with the help of artists of repute. The very rich interior decoration is attributed to the famous stucco decorator Abbondio Stazio; the woodwork, including the ornate wooden balustrade above the main salon, is from Andrea Brustolon’s workshop. The frescoes in the house have recently been attributed to Sebastiano Ricci. The palace is listed on the National Register of Historic Monuments. After consultations in 2006, restoration work was begun in 2007, the aims of the Fondation Bru being to restore the building in its original spirit and to create a venue for music. The building, with an overall area of eight hundred square metres, is on three levels. Its windows look out over a canal on one side and over the garden on the other. The ground plan is traditional Venetian. The sixteen rooms include a concert hall with a seating capacity of up to a hundred. Now the restoration work is finished, the Palazzetto has a sound-proofed rehearsal studio; there is also a lift for persons with reduced mobility. The glory of the house is the double-height salon (music room of the Zane family) with a magnificent coved ceiling bearing a huge painting of Hercules with Fame and Virtue in the centre, and Olympian gods in grisaille in the four corners. Painted shells, such as those seen on the ceiling, are a rarity in Venice. The room is reached via a grand staircase decorated with splendid frescoes.

The Research

Valorisation of documentary collections
The Palazzetto Bru Zane encourages institutions holding documentary collections relating to music of the French Romantic period to enhance those collections and facilitate access for researchers and musicians. To that end, appropriate international partnerships have been set up with the aim of assisting in the work of cataloguing and digitisation.

The Team

Docteur Nicole Bru
Didier Voydeville
Luc Bourrousse
Gérard Condé
Thierry Fouquet
Michèle Roche
Emilio Sala
Andrea Simionato
head of administration
Viola Costantini
Alexandre Dratwicki
musicological director
Étienne Jardin
head of publications and symposia
Sébastien Troester
head of musical editions
Marie Humbert
special assistant musical editions
Baptiste Charroing
director of development
Rosa Giglio
artistic coordinator
Elena Vignotto
head of production
Giulia Trevisanato
production officer and stage manager
Joséphine Kirch
production officer
Laura Stagetti
production officer
Katia Amoroso
head of press relations
Mathilde Guesdon
communications officer
Viviana Bianchi
marketing coordinator and international audience development
Anna Da Rozze
customer relations representative
Camille Merlin
editorial coordination - communication department
Marianne Jugan
editorial assistant - communication department
Benoît Dratwicki
artistic adviser
bd [at] bru-zane.com
Carlos Céster
editorial adviser
Marie Grémont
production assistant, Bru Zane France
Louise-Marie Mollard
Remo Romano