Stefano Mastruzzi 20th year

An extraordinary journey, embarked upon twenty years ago, in a small school of jazz with irresistible charm, founded in 1976 and already twenty-two years old by then.

St. Louis then, however, is the same as it is today. One could see, observing it with curiosity, how everything was already in place, in the manner of the infinite potentialities enclosed in the gaze of an infant, behind countless hidden but never inaccessible corners; like a primordial matter, an unrepeatable singularity that sooner or later would explode in a thunderous and harmonious big bang, a bursting adolescence in a multi-verse of dancing stars.

I remember everything: people, things, facts, concerts, dozens of students who blossomed as great artists, hundreds of young students who became professional musicians, thousands of young people bewitched by music, perhaps today on different paths than they would have dreamed of, but whom music still made better people.

I remember a young 26-year-old musician, who started out with little hair and far too much enthusiasm, was I, inside the 7 classrooms of the historic Saint Louis campus on Cimarra Street, whose walls welcomed with unsuspected naturalness, as if they were neighbors, the likes of Dave Holland, Carl Anderson, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Pieranunzi, Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny, Horacio Hernandez, Elliot Zigmund, Paul Motian, Peter Erskine, Rosario Giuliani, Robben Ford, Lincoln Goines, Scott Henderson, John Patitucci, John Taylor, Gavin Harrison, Nnenna Freelon, Kenny Wheeler, Dominic Miller, Dave Weckl, Mark Murphy, Frank Gambale, Ptah Brown, Bob Mintzer, Paul MotiaSchedule 2017 09 28 A 12.38.43n, Robben Ford, Gavin Harrison, Enrico Ruggeri, Maurizio Solieri, Niccolò Fabi, Enrico Rava, Gianni Nocenzi, Saturnino, Marcus Miller, Guthrie Govan, John De Leo, Roberta Gambarini, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Tommy Emmanuel… (I have to stop, my head is spinning).

In 2002 the first big step, certainly longer than my leg, a second venue to explore our ambitious cultural visions, that of Via Urbana, and the spontaneous subsequent opening to the many contemporary musical universes.

Jazz is lifestyle and the beating soul of today’s St. Louis, with the instinct of extemporaneous creation inspiring rock, blues, pop, and electronic music, and from these it receives profound urges to transform.

In 2006 a second leap forward, the third location on Via del Boschetto, a real estate acquisition with the intention of giving, to the small jazz school with its irresistible charm, stability and staying power.

Then in 2014 the 4th location, the one on Baccina Street, also owned, vibrant with potential and with a breathtaking Roman Domus in its basement (the article here: rominaciuffa.com/saint-louis), an ideal rootedness in the continuity of ancient and modern Rome, in the most ancestral Rione of the Urbe, but at the same time the youngest, artistic and liveliest neighborhood, the suburra, where Caius Julius Caesar was born, today the cradle of the cultural life of Central Italy.

In 1998, Saint Louis had only one small campus, 90 students, and a team of dreamers. Today there are 1,800 students, arriving from all over Europe to live that dream … But the small venue and all the dreamers of that time are still here.

And I thank them all.

Stefano Mastruzzi
Saint Louis director since 1998

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