Music publishing: a heritage to preserve. Interview with Laura Rossi (Schott Music)

by Ruben Marzà

She studied architecture, languages and literature in Italy and abroad, but in the end, she was captured by music publishing. Laura Patrizia Rossi has been representing Schott Music in Italy, Spain and Portugal for many years. Waiting to meet her at Cremona Musica (Schott Music was the first music publisher to exhibit at Mondomusica, in 2004) we talked with her about her experience and the future of printed music.


How did you start with music publishing?

The journey started far from music: architecture, languages, translation. But by a stroke of fate, in 1988 I had a job interview with Casa Ricordi, and there it all began. Even though I didn't have a real musical background, I still found myself at ease among books. They were ten very beautiful years, which I remember with great pride and satisfaction, before moving on to Schott.


How is Schott different from other music publishers?

I have been holding conferences on music publishing for 15 years, in conservatories and universities in Italy, Spain and Portugal; a history in which Schott has been a real protagonist, without any doubt. In 2020, with all the problems due to Covid, we celebrated 250 uninterrupted years of business. We are the same age as Beethoven, whose Ninth Symphony was published precisely by us.


In 250 years the world of music publishing must have changed a lot…

This is a point I would like to highlight: during the last years, the situation has become much more difficult, not just because of the pandemic, but also with the development of the internet and the giants of e-commerce – and of piracy, as a consequence. More responsibility by the entire world of music is necessary to preserve this incredible history. Schott is the only publisher in the world to have protected its history and richness unaltered, still in its original headquarters in Mainz.


Which professionals are being sought in music publishing today?

Good question. What is missing, especially in Italy, is real communication between music students, teachers and music publishers. The latter are often seen as distant, and those that can impart a century-long and rich culture are very rare. So a great effort of sensibilization is needed; already now, for instance, in collaboration with AINEMU (the Italian association of music edition sellers, one of the few now active in the world) we are proposing courses for sellers and assistants.


What are the reasons for Cremona Musica’s success, in your opinion?

I might seem partisan (but I do not think I am), but I say that the beauty of Cremona cannot be compared with anything in the world. The city, the Museum of the Violin, the School of Lutherie, are a priceless and unique wealth. It is a pity that the transport – especially to and from airports – is not adequate, I think this is the only obstacle to a further development of the fair. I realized this, in particular this year, since I’m bringing the association of Spanish publishers to Cremona.


Can you tell us something about the novelties that Schott Music is preparing for Cremona 2022?

We are still working on some details, we will soon have a meeting in Mainz. This year we published a lot of novelties, especially for piano and strings, which are our main fields. I can say we will present a publication on the Spanish guitar Maestro José Tomás and a special edition about Vladimir Horowitz. I think your visitors will like them.