The sweet sound of music resonates more loudly these days at FGCU’s Bower School of Music & the Arts after a $1 million commitment by Maurizio and Laura Nisita of Estero.
Half of their gift toward music excellence has been designated for scholarships, and the balance has established an endowed fund that will title FGCU’s faculty and guest-artist music series as the Nisita Concert Series, effective th is fall.
The Nisitas’ gift reflects the fact both are devout lovers and practitioners of the fine arts. Maurizio — who retired as senior vice president of global operations based in Minnesota for Ecolab, which provides technologies and services to the food, energy, healthcare, industrial and hospitality market — is a pianist in his own right and past president of the Naples Music Club. Laura is an award-winning painter who works in oil and also has experience in graphic design and animation.
The couple are very passionate about the music FGCU’s students and faculty produce. They have enjoyed concerts at the Bower School since moving to Southwest Florida from Minnesota several years ago. “We started hearing about the music program here through (Maurizio’s) friends at the Naples Music Club, so we started attending concerts here and were very impressed,” Laura Nisita said. “We love the small concert hall here — it’s just beautiful.”
Maurizio Nisita sees their commitment as an investment in music’s future. “We wanted to do something for music in general, and we thought that giving to FGCU, as a teaching institution, was the best way to go,” he said. “They are producing the performers of tomorrow.”
FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw said, “We are honored and pleased that your generosity will help the Bower School of Music & the Arts, one of Florida Gulf Coast University’s crown jewels, shine even brighter.”
During their engagement with FGCU and the Bower School, the Nisitas have formed a close friendship with Michael Baron, professor of music and head of keyboard studies. In fact, when one of Baron’s prized students — Priscila Navarro, the Peruvian pianist who made university history when she performed a solo concert at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall in 2013 (a concert the Nisitas attended) — toured Europe, the Nisitas arranged for the young prodigy to stay with Maurizio’s sister and niece during stops in his native Italy.
“As an educational institution, we feel strongly that we need to provide our students and the community access to world-class performers, and this gift allows us to bring those people to campus for everyone to enjoy,” Baron said. “Also, the funds going toward scholarships will enable us to continue to attract the best and brightest music students from around the world to FGCU.”