Aristocratic women exerted unprecedented political and social influence in Florence throughout the late 16th and early 17th century; during this period convents flourished and female members of the powerful Medici family governed the city for the first and only time in its history.
These women also helped shape the city’s aristocratic life, commissioning works of music, art, and theater that were inscribed with their own concerns and aspirations. Through commissions, patrons sought to promote a vision of the world and their place in it. The unique social norms, laws, educational background, and life experiences of female patrons meant the expression of a worldview that differed significantly from that of their male counterparts.
This according to Echoes of women’s voices: Music, art, and female patronage in early modern Florence by Kelley Harness (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).
Above, Cristina di Lorena, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, a patron of Marco da Gagliano; below, Gagliano’s Bel pastor.
The Herb Alpert Foundation has made major grants to the UCLA School of Music and California Institute of the Arts.
In a 2010 interview, Alpert discussed his philanthropic goals, especially that of supporting educational programs that move beyond a focused concentration on the technical aspects of the musical art.
“There’s two ways to approach jazz,” he said, “you can approach it from the outside point of view where you have chords that are a little remote from the actual melody, or you can stay within the context of the song and play it from that angle. I don’t try to force any notes or rely on techniques that I’ve learned through the years. I try to just let it happen as it happens—which is the only way to approach jazz.”
This according to “In the name of imagination” by Don Heckman (Jazz education guide 2009–2010, pp. 20–26).
Today is Herb Alpert’s 80th birthday! Above, receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in 2013; below, back in the day.