In the 1960s and 1990s, the range of shows and events was vast: prose, operas and concerts dominated the seasons, but there were also “new” presences such as the International Piano Festival, musical comedies, operettas, “Bergamo Jazz” and “Canzoni d’Autore” (“Songwriters’ Songs) festivals and much more.
The Municipal Administration promoted a modern theatre policy, and the advice of Benvenuto Cuminetti, Professor of Theatre and Entertainment History at the University of Bergamo and artistic consultant for the theatre programming of the prose seasons and collateral activities, was fundamental.
In 1969, the International Jazz Festival was founded, organised by the Azienda Autonoma del Turismo and of which the current Bergamo Jazz Festival is the natural heir. Already that year, internationally renowned musicians such as Cannonball Adderley and Maynard Ferguson performed on the stage of the Donizetti Theatre. This was followed by Gerry Mulligan, Herbie Hancock, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, with a concert that attracted much public and critical attention, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and many others until 1975. From 1976 to 1978 the Festival moved to the Palazzetto dello Sport and was then interrupted for a few years before resuming its journey temporarily in 1982 and 1983. In 1991 Bergamo Jazz was inaugurated by the Municipality of Bergamo and, from the following year, great jazz was brought back to the Donizetti Theatre: Michel Petrucciani, Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Gato Barbieri, Brad Mehldau, John Scofield, McCoy Tyner, Bill Frisell, Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Italians Enrico Rava and Paolo Fresu are just some of the names that brought the Bergamo Jazz Festival back to the forefront of Italian and international music news.