This Festival of Sacred Music, unique in the world, takes place in the Autumn in the Papal Basilicas of Rome. The Orchestra-in-Residence is the Vienna Philharmonic.
The purpose of the event is to increase the public's awareness of the institutional activities of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra which raises funds for the restoration of religious artefacts and buildings. The Festival Internazionale di Musica Sacra is central to its benevolent activities. See The Festivalís objectives
Since its inception in 2002 the Festival has gone from strength to strength, winning the plaudits of the public and critics by proposing the spiritually enlightening marriage between world-class performances and outstandingly beautiful sacred venues.
In 2004, the then President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi honoured the Festival by attending the concert given on 21 October by the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Riccardo Muti.
Pope Benedict XVI was present – as Cardinal Josef Ratzinger – in 2002 at a concert performed during the first Festival.
In 2006 and 2007 His Holiness welcomed the Foundation’s benefactors, all the foreign visitors who had come to listen to the sublime religious music performed at the Festival and also the many musicians from abroad during the Sunday Angelus, just as his predecessor the Holy Father John Paul II had done before him.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI and participants in the 12th General Assembly of the Bischops' Synod honoured the Festival by attending the concert held on 13 October in the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura, where the Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, performed Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony. The concert was also graced by the presence of Her Highness Princess Marie von und zu Liechtenstein, whom we wish to thank profoundly for supporting the Foundation.