Renato Fasano studied at the Naples Conservatory, and soon entered the Italian academic system for the education of musicians. Director of the Cagliari Conservatory between 1931 and 1939, during World War II he founded the Collegium Musicum Italicum, a high-calibre chamber orchestra whose repertoire was centred upon the music of the Italian Baroque. As the war drew to a close, in 1944 he was appointed artistic director of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, a position he held until 1947. He succeeded Malipiero as director of the Venice Conservatory in 1952, and then led the Rome Conservatory from 1960 to 1972, where he introduced many new courses and raised the academic standard significantly. By now a major influence within the Italian musical world, in 1972 he returned to the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome as president, a position which he retained until 1976.
Alongside his academic career, Fasano was active as a performing musician. In 1952 the Collegium Musicum Italicum was renamed as the Virtuosi di Roma and thereafter toured widely throughout Italy and Europe, demonstrating its polished playing and extensive repertoire. It was in addition extremely well placed to assist with the rediscovery of the music of the Italian Baroque, and of Vivaldi especially, through the medium of the long-playing record (as was another distinguished Italian group, I Musici). Fasano and the Virtuosi di Roma recorded for several labels, including EMI, Brunswick, and the American Decca label. In many of these recordings Fasano brought to bear his skills as an editor of music of the Baroque period: starting in 1957 he edited the series Antica Musica Strumentale Italiana, and from 1972 he supervised the edition of Vivaldi’s sacred works published by Universal. He was also an expert on Venetian and Neapolitan opera, and an excellent conductor of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century operatic repertoire. These qualities are clearly demonstrated in his operatic recordings: for RCA he recorded Gluck’s Orfeo, and for Ricordi Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).