Co-organized with Radiotelevisione italiana (RAI)
From a contemporaneous review
“The Italian Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music and the RAI-Radiotelevisione Italiana were hosts this June 10-16 in Rome to the ISCM delegates and to the unusually interesting festival for which their jury had chosen six programs. Two more concerts of prize-winning works in a contest sponsored by the Italian Section, the Radio, and a number of Italian publishers made up the generous number that formed the thirty-third festival held annually except during the war and the fifth given in Italy. Since the Society was founded in 1922 by a few far-sighted composers and musicologists, … the question of its continuation has come up repeatedly. For it has been beset by great political and artistic troubles; and the increasing public acceptance of new music, its more frequent and widespread performance, in the belief of many has robbed the Society of one of its main reasons for existence. Yet it persists and seems likely to go on, for unlike many similar organizations, this one has laid its main emphasis on live performance – performance of new, forward-looking works that were judged imaginative and talented and that would engage the attention of cultivated musicians – and not on the manufacturing of propaganda. Occasionally some of the works on the programs have been disappointing, yet at each festival enough were important or remarkable and enough more contained moments of special musical interest sometimes combined with instructive miscalculations – to make the majority of delegates feel that the effort was worthwhile. Of course, beside offering this important professional experience to musicians, the Society has repeatedly brought to light new scores of merit that were later presented to a larger public. The opportunity for sympathetic performance before intelligent audiences and the possibility of arousing knowing enthusiasm and encouragement – familiar features of these festivals – have helped many a young composer over the trying period between his finding himself and his finding his public. It is hard to imagine how modern music could have become what it is without the Society’s activity.”
–Elliott Carter, “Current Chronicle: Italy,” Musical Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 4 (October 1959), p. 530.