It was a decade ago, in 1995, that I learnt from
the Croatian ethnomusicologist Jerko Bezic about the meeting of the
ICTM’s study group Anthropology of Music in Mediterranean Cultures
scheduled to take place in Venice in about a month. I immediately
contacted the respected Italian professor who was organizing the
meeting, hoping that she would allow me to join as a listener. She not
only warmly extended the invitation to me, but when I actually arrived
she managed to accommodate me in the Levi Foundation facility, next to
the active participants and encouraged my activity as discussant. This
was Tullia Magrini. Her conduct of the meeting was superb - with 45
minutes given to each presenter, with well focused discussions and
nevertheless with informally friendly and at the same time
intellectually stimulating conversations at the meals in the carefully
chosen locations in Venice. It was her personality that made us all feel
like we already knew each other for a long time and still had a lot of
complementary knowledge to share. I remember leaving Venice with the
feeling of being enormously enriched as a scholar and a person, and
determined to retain contacts with Tullia and the study group.
Fortunately, as soon as the next year, Tullia organized another meeting named Musicisti del Mediterraneo: Storia e Antropologia, this time in Bari-Molfetta, for which she asked me to present my own research. The meeting resulted in the valuable experience of preparing the presentations for the multimedia journal Ethnomusicology OnLine. The next study group meeting in Venice in 1998 meant yet another step forward – it resulted in the edited volume Music and Gender: Perspectives from the Mediterranean; each of my graduate students is obliged to read Tullia’s excellent introductory essay.
As much as I enjoyed the privilege of joining Tullia and her wonderful husband Loris for a memorable exploratory walking-around-day in Miami following the SEM conference in 2003, I regret that their planned visit to Ljubljana never took place.
It was an honor to know Tullia. The memory of
such a friend and colleague in the neighboring country and her aim to
expand the scope of ethnomusicology at home will remain a source of