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The "Franchino Gaffurio" school

The "Franchino Gaffurio" Schola Puerorum, with its young voices, represents the ideal, joyful future orientation of the Duomo's Cathedral Choir and continues a music and spiritual teaching tradition that spans over six centuries.

The Milan Cathedral Choir, as a matter of fact, has always had a boys' choir section since its beginnings in the fourteenth century. It is one of its key elements since - for timbre reasons - treble parts were traditionally sung by boys, who flanked basses, contraltos and tenors.

In the century-long, glorious history of the School, the restructuring implemented by Franchino Gaffurio in the latest decades of the 14th century played a fundamental role. Gaffurio, a Choirmaster and an excellent composer, supplemented musical teaching with basic education imparted by a magister, creating a curriculum very similar to the current one

 "… there has always been singing in the Church …" these are the words of archbishop Luciano Migliavacca, Milan Choir's Choirmaster from 1957 to 1998, which clearly exemplify the long- and deeply-held view that singing is one of the most important prayer tools. Singing and, most of all, singing in a choir, is a way of praising God, but also of starting a journey of human and spiritual growth, in the name of sharing and discipline. This is the mission of "Franchino Gaffurio's" School.

The Milan Cathedral Choir selects young choristers (sopranos and altos) for its School, which is located in Viale Goriza 5, Milan. Today the School, a detached section of the "Thouar-Gonzaga" State Comprehensive School with a music-centred curriculum, includes classes IV and V of primary school and classes I-III of lower secondary school.

The boys go to school full-time, Monday to Friday, apart from Thursday, when lessons end in the early afternoon. The school provides the boys - free of charge - individual piano and organ lessons, textbooks, uniforms for liturgical performances and concerts, as well as taking care of transportation to school and to the Cathedral

The boys are subdivided into classes of eight-ten pupils each and, apart from normal school tuition in line with the national curriculum, also receive comprehensive musical training, both theoretical and practical, for voice and instruments, which is essential for choir singing. The pueri cantores study solfege and singing and learn to play an instrument - either the organ or the piano. Music and singing teaching is flanked by rigorous personal development and christian teaching. The boys learn to appreciate the value of effort and commitment and discover the evangelical message by studying music.

Being admitted to this school means starting a journey that requires daily dedication and a lot of passion. Its young voices start to play an active role in the Milan Cathedral Choir from the very start, by performing during Sunday and Holy Days liturgical celebrations in the Duomo. The boys also take part in concerts, both in Italy and abroad, and in the cultural activities organised by the Cathedral Choir and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo: precious opportunities to enhance a unique musical heritage, from the old Ambrosian Chant through to classic and modern polyphony.

Today, as in the past, the Pueri sing about faith, hope and peace, celebrating God through the music written by the Cathedral Choir's Choirmasters over the centuries.

The "Franchino Gaffurio" School for Young Choristers
Viale Gorizia 520144 – Milano
Phone/Fax  +39.02.8373064
cappellamusicale@duomomilano.it