A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Conservatorio
CONSERVATORIO. The Conservatorios in which the great schools of Italian music were formed were so called because they were intended to preserve (conservare) the science of music from corruption. Of these the most ancient were the Neapolitan ones—Santa Maria di Loreto (1537), I Poveri di Gesu Cristo (1589), La Pietà de' Turchini (1583), San Onofrio (1583), which all sprang from the first school of music founded at Naples (1496) by Jean Tinctor, [App. p.597 "the date of the foundation of the first school by Tinctor is probably much earlier than 1496, as he left Italy in 1490. [See Tinctoris, iv. 128.]"] a Fleming, reconstituted by Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, and Alessandro Scarlatti, and illustrated by a long roll of eminent musicians. [See Naples.] [App. p.597 "The dates of the various Neapolitan Institutions are more correctly given under Naples, ii. 444–6."]
The Conservatories of Venice arose out of the school founded by another Fleming, Willaert, at the same date with that of Naples, and were also four in number:—L'Ospedale della Pieta, Dei Mendicanti, Degl' Incurabili, L'Ospedaletto de' SS. Giovanni e Paolo. [See Venice.] Nor does this list include the various 'chapel schools' of music for the choirs of the great cathedrals, after the pattern of the musical school founded in the 6th century by Gregory the Great for the Pontifical Chapel at Rome, the archives of which were destroyed in the sack of Rome by Charles V, 1527. [See Rome.]
The Venetian Conservatories have ceased to exist, those of Naples are now represented by a Royal Neapolitan College, and there is a 'Reale Conservatorio di Musica' extant and flourishing at Milan.The Conservatoire of Paris is described in the preceding article. The Conservatoriums of Leipzig (founded through the exertions of Mendelssohn in 1843), Vienna, and other German towns, will be mentioned under the names of those places.
[ C. M. P. ]