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The decision to make the Institute of Music an independent entity was finalised by the General Council of the Giorgio Cini Foundation in April 1985. It marked the realisation of the project (for the 'School of San Giorgio for the study of Venetian civilisation') begun and systematically developed by Vittorio Cini.
The Institute's work took off immediately under the direction of Giovanni Morelli and in collaboration with the Vivaldi Institute. The first year - which coincided with the European Year of Music and the birth centenary of Vittorio Cini - saw the fruition of a multitude of projects: the International Course of 'Alta Cultura' on Music in the formation and development of European civilisation, three conferences (Baldassare Galluppi, Andrea Gabrieli in his time, Returning to Stiffelio on Verdi) and a proliferation of publications.
The critical edition, later recognised as the 'National Edition' of the works of Andrea Gabrieli (the first national edition of the complete works of a musician to come alongside literary or scientific works by Dante, Foscolo, Tasso, Galilei, etc.) created a need for an exhaustive collection of sources and the necessity for a considerable photo library (about 8000 titles) on the music published in Veneto and elsewhere before and after Gabrieli.
In parallel to this project, the Institute began reorganising the transcriptions of polyphonic music done by Don Siro Cisilino in the first twenty years of the Foundation's existence.
In 1986 another project was begun on the music of Goldoni's era or, rather, a collection of all the scores, librettos and documentation regarding the staging of music for texts by, or influenced by Goldoni.
Another effort was launched in 1987 on Venetian farce 18th- and 19th-century transcriptions. Begun as an inseperable fall-out of facts and texts from the prior project, it immediately resulted in various books, conferences, practical and critical editions. The Institute has also collaborated with the Luigi Nono Archive on synergetic 'twin' initiatives, including the promotion of five study conferences, an editorial series of thematic notebooks, a documentary exhibition at Palazzo Cini, concerts, master classes on performance skills and sessions intended to philologically examine the composer's unfinished works in light of their definitive edition. From 1985 until December 2000, the Institute of Music collaborated intensely with Teatro La Fenice on various projects on both early baroque and contemporary music.

The Institute also piloted and continues to work on four research projects regarding professional training in the conservation of musical heritage (in formal collaboration with the degree courses in Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Performing Arts, and Musicology and Music Heritage instituted at the University Ca' Foscari of Venice, respectively in 1992, 2001 and 2002).