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The first course was inaugurated in 1932 at Palazzo Chigi Saracini in Siena. Since then, the number of students has gradually increased; today the courses are attended by around 600 students representing over 45 nationalities.  The number of courses offered has been increased in a continuous interchange between old and new generations, from students becoming instructors – an integral part of the history of the Academy.

Celebrated musicians have attended the advanced level masterclasses at the Chigiana during their studies, including: Carlo Maria Giulini, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Oren, Roman Vlad, Claudio Abbado, Salvatore Accardo, Uto Ughi, Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Alirio Diaz. Among the great musicians who have graced the halls of the Academy, Boris Belkin, Jurij Bashmet, Raina Kabaivanska, Renato Bruson, Patrick Gallois, Salvatore Sciarrino, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Antonio Meneses, David Geringas, Joaquin Achucarro, Luis Bacalov, the Quartetto Alban Berg and many other instructors.