Obituary: Artistic Director Italo Gómez Dies at 87

By Francisco Salazar

On May 12 Founder of the festival Autunno Musicale a Como and former Artistic Director of the Teatro la Fenice, Italo Gómez, died at the age of 87 in Crotone, Italy.

Born in Medellín, Colombia in 1933, he went to Italy in the 1960s and went on to graduate from the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini di Firenze as a cellist and composer. He studied under Pietro Grossi, who introduced him to composition and contemporary music. He became one of the first promoters of contemporary music in Italy and founded the Società Cameristica Italiana.

He also founded the Orchestra Michelangelo di Firenze and the Orchestra Symphonia di Como and in 1965 dedicated himself to cultural activities in Florence and later Como. In 1967 Gómez and Gisella Belgeri founded the Festival Internazionale Autunno Musicale a Como, where he assumed the role of Artistic Director.

From 1979 to 1987 he served as Artistic Director of the Teatro la Fenice where he created the Festival Danza Europa, the Teatro Danza company, Venezia Opera Prima, The Paris Festival in Venice, and the Teatro Olímpico d Vicenza. He also collaborated frequently with Claudio Abbado during this time.

He occasionally went to Colombia, where he worked with the Teatro Colón in Bogotá on a production of Hadyn’s “L’isola disabitata.”

He also organized the Mozart Festival and Competition in 1991, where he was able to involve a number of major European companies and showcase rising stars.

On Facebook, Gisela Belgeri said, “With much sadness, I say goodbye to Maestro, which is how many artists, collaborators and technicians called him. He was a great person not only for the arts but also in his personal life. Rest in Peace, my friend.”