« Culture, the last fortress standing against darkness, because it lies within you… »

The Cuomo Foundation was the co-host of the Annual Meeting of the International Federation of Chopin Societies held in Rome from 2-5 November 2018. The meeting was organised by the Associazione Culturale « Fryderyk Chopin », founded by Maestro Marcella Crudeli in 1987.

Below is the welcome speech given by the Cuomo Foundation, in front of the international members of the Chopin Societies, gathered at the Oratory of the Cloister San Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi, Rome, on Nov 5, 2018.

On behalf of Mrs Maria Elena Cuomo, President of the Cuomo Foundation and our whole team back in Monaco, let me bid you welcome alongside Maestro Crudeli. Our President is currently traveling abroad for last-minute obligations related to our projects and sends you all her warm thoughts. Maestro cordially suggested to place this annual meeting of the Federation of Chopin Societies under her patronage. She rather preferred the Cuomo Foundation bare that distinguished honour as the patronage of this event.

Our Foundation has been offering a financial and logistic support to Maestro Crudeli’s cultural and educational actions since 2004. Indeed, the notion of culture and education, are at the core of our concerns. Education is the main pillar of our projects worldwide, the idea being to provide the young generations, mainly from underprivileged backgrounds and regions, with tools necessary to build their own futures, the way they desire. In Roma piano competition that Maestro Crudeli has been organising annually nearly for 3 decades, we find a perfect resonance to that philosophy of ours.

Our interest in culture as the perfect companion to education lies within the genesis of our organisation. Our Founder, Alfredo Cuomo, who initiated this partnership back in 2004 with Maestro Crudeli and who personally oversaw its proceedings, was an astute art collectionner and a film producer.

Consequently, this interest in the arts infiltrates—if I may say—almost all of our actions. Some of them are, sometimes, hardly in connection with culture. One of the perfect examples is the children’s cardiac facility that you just saw in our presentation film. It is the first heart centre in the whole region of Western Africa, capable of undertaking open-heart surgeries on children. After the completion of the building, the Foundation commissioned a comprehensive decorative programme for the facility for which saw the contribution of a group of young artist from Senegal. Today, the Centre has become a visual icon in Dakar, know as much for its health innovation as for its sculptures, paintings and installations. The collective work is entitled AT THE HEAT OF BAOBAB, named after this emblematic tree that Africa considers to be their “Tree of Life”.

And as our motto indicates, at the heart of education, we place—what?—the HEART. We do that through our worldwide cultural patronage which covers the areas of music, visual arts, architecture and dance.

The power of Art in the heart of an individual is such that it travels time and transfigures. That’s how for example, in the popular culture, some Chopin scores have risen to cult status as some of the most poignant works ever produced by any artists against the ugliness of the world, like Roman Polansky’s use of Chopin music as the last fortress against barbarism, one that would prevail 100 years after these pieces were actually written…

Culture : the last fortress standing, because it lies within you…

That is how art moves us in the most unexpected way and that is why we are always keen on supporting arts and culture so that the sensitivity they allow be a life-long companion for our young beneficiaries around the world.