The Artists

| Andrew Lawence King | Antonio FlorioCapella Della Pietà de' TurchiniChristina Pluhar | Ex Cathedra | Frederico MarincolaThe Freiburg Baroque Orchestra | Hesperion XXIIvor BoltonJames O'DonnellJeffrey SkidmoreJoglaresaJordi Savall | Lucilla Gaeazzi | Massimo Carrano | Michael Behringer | Montserrat Figueras | Pino De Vittorio | The Sirin Choir | Sulukule | Westminster Abbey Choir | Xavier Diaz |



Andrew Lawence King began his musical career as Head Chorister at the Cathedral and Parish Church of St Peter Port, Guernsey, from where he won an Organ Scholarship to Cambridge; he completed his studies at the London Early Music Centre. He rapidly established himself as a versatile continuo player with Europe’s foremost specialist ensembles. He later joined Hespèrion XX as harp soloist, and was appointed Professor of Harp and Continuo at the Akademie für Alte Musik, Bremen. A creative and inspiring conductor, he directs from one of several continuo instruments (including harp, organ, harpsichord and psaltery), and has led Baroque operas and oratorios at La Scala, Milan, Sydney Opera House, Casals Hall, Tokyo, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, New York, and Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes.


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Antonio Florio, president and artistic director of the Centro di Musica Antica, gained his diploma in cello and piano at his local Conservatorio in Bari. He went on to study composition with Nino Rota and Francesco d’Avalos, taking a particular interest in Baroque performance on original instruments. As well as fulfilling a busy concert schedule, he is active in musicological research, exploring above all the repertoire of 17th- and 18th-century music in Naples, and making a particular study of the operas of Francesco Provenzale. He founded the group Il Fugilotio in 1981 and the Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini in 1987. He is active as a teacher, conducting seminars and masterclasses on Baroque vocal style and chamber music at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and the Conservatoire de Toulouse. He is professor of chamber music at the Conservatorio San Pietro a Maiella in Naples.


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Capella Della Pietà de' Turchini, founded in 1987 by Antonio Florio, is made up primarily of young instrumentalists and singers living and working in Naples who specialize in the performance of Neapolitan music from the 16th–18th centuries; in particular music by gifted composers who are now largely unknown, such as Provenzale, Trabaci, Veneziano, Nola, Netti, Caresana and Sabino. The unique programmes and rigorous approach to Baroque performing practices make the Cappella one of the most interesting components of Italian musical life, and has brought them international acclaim, with performances throughout Europe. The group issued seven CDs with the Bolognese company Symphonia, all featuring unpublished works from the Neapolitan Baroque repertoire; since 1996 it has recorded with Opus 111, for whom 13 CDs have already appeared in the series Treasures of Naples. Cappella’s recordings with both labels have received numerous international critics’ prizes.


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Christina Pluhar was born in Graz, Austria. She studied the classical guitar at the University of Graz, and won various prizes in classical guitar competitions before discovering her love for Renaissance and Baroque music. She studied the lute at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and continued her studies at the Scholar Cantorum Basiliensis with Hopkinson Smith. She studied Baroque harp with Mara Galassi at the Schola Civica in Milan. Master classes with Jesper Christensen, Paul O’Dette and Andrew Lawrence-King have inspired her playing. Since 1992 she has lived in Paris. She performs with early music ensembles and Baroque orchestras in festivals, concert halls and opera houses throughout Europe.


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Ex Cathedra operates an extensive education programme, made possible largely through its long-standing relationship with Sandvik UK and Birmingham City Council. Over the last ten years more than 30,000 people from a wide range of backgrounds and aged from 6 to over 60 have been drawn into an impressive array of education projects. These have included the Sandvik Vocal Skills Project, which has involved working with education authorities throughout the Midlands, and the Junior Academy of Vocal Music, for young singers with unchanged voices.


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Frederico Marincola, born in Rome, studied classical guitar with Sergio Notaro and lute with Diana Poulton, Anthony Bailes, Jakob Lindberg, Nigel North and Christopher Wilson. In the last 20 years he has been active as a performer, giving many solo recitals and playing with singers and early music groups throughout Europe. He is in demand as a basso continuo player, and has played in many Baroque operas at some of the most famous opera theatres of Italy. He is the theorbo player with the Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini. He bases his instrumental technique on treatises and iconographical sources of the 16th and 17th centuries; he believes that, to give a convincing performance of this repertoire, it is of paramount importance to have a profound knowledge of the original fingerings and criteria of interpretation. He also finds ideas and inspiration for the performance of early music in the philosophy and astrology of the Renaissance period. His recordings include CDs of music from the Vincenzo Capirola Lute Book, pieces for lute and Renaissance guitar by Guillaume Morlaye, and lute pieces by Antony Holborne. Ex Cathedra was originally founded by Jeffrey Skidmore as a choir in 1969, but it has grown into a unique musical resource, comprising a specialist chamber choir, a vocal consort of between eight and 12 voices and a period-instrument orchestra, which offers maximum flexibility of repertoire. Additionally there is a youth training choir and an extensive education programme aimed at encouraging the singers and audiences of the future. In addition to its own concert series in Birmingham and London, Ex Cathedra has performed in a number of festivals across Europe. Its CD recordings have included Vivaldi Vespers, Lalande grands motets, Lassus sacred choral music and Monteverdi madrigals.


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The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra gave their first concert in 1987 – the first of over 600 to date. In the following year they were showered with nationwide acclaim after a sensational concert in the Berlin Philharmonie. In 1989 they launched their international tour with a performance in Amsterdam and by now have toured all the major European cities, North, Central and South America, and South-east Asia. The key to the orchestra’s popularity with audiences and critics alike has been its unique combination of pep and perfection. Apart from concerts with renowned visiting conductors such as Ivor Bolton, Roy Goodman, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Gustav Leonhardt and Trevor Pinnock, where Petra Müllejans acts as concertmaster, they prefer to perform without a conductor. Their concertmaster, Gottfried von der Goltz, leads the Freiburg musicians through even the grandest scores; they thus continue a tradition practised into the 19th century, of playing even symphonic programmes of the early Romantic period without a conductor. In this way they achieve not only an intensity reminiscent of chamber music but also a unique timbre impossible with conventional conducting.


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Hesperion XXI was formed by Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras, Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith in 1974 as Hespèrion XX, but to reflect the new century the group has added an extra numeral to its name. ‘Hesperia’ is an old name for the two westernmost peninsulas of Europe – Italy and Iberia. Fascinated by the immense richness of the Hispanic and European musical repertoire earlier than 1800, the group was united in a common aim – the study and the interpretation of ancient music based on new and up-to-date premises. Hespèrion XXI has an extensive repertoire that requires exceptional virtuosity and a profound knowledge of different styles and different periods, and so has become an international ensemble made up of the world’s best solo musicians. The group stresses individual creativity within teamwork, the search for a dynamic synthesis between musical expression, stylistic and historical knowledge and creative imagination.


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Ivor Bolton, Founder and Musical Director of the Lufthansa Festival, is one of Britain’s most internationally active and versatile conductors, in both opera and concert, with a repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary. He was educated at Cambridge University, the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio, London. He has enjoyed worldwide success as an opera conductor, with engagements at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opéra Palais Garnier, Paris, Teatro Comunale, Bologna, Teatro São Carlo, Lisbon, Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Australian Opera, Sydney, and the Salzburg Festival. In recent seasons he has forged a close link with the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where he has enjoyed particular acclaim for new productions of Handel and Monteverdi. In the concert field, too, he has worked with major orchestras throughout the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Mozart Players, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Montreal Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Freiburg Barock Orchestra and the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg. His recordings with St. James’s Baroque Players include all the Bach harpsichord concertos and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Other recordings include, most recently, Monteverdi’s Poppea and Handel’s Xerxes with the Bayerische Staatsoper. Future commitments involve many projects in Munich, including new productions of Saul, Rodelinda, Die Zauberflöte, The Rape of Lucretia and The Rake’s Progress. Other forthcoming commitments include Clemenza di Tito for the Maggio Musicale in Florence, and new productions of Alcina for the Hamburgische Staatsoper, Alceste and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Brussels, and Iphigénie en Aulide for Glyndebourne. In 2004 he will be Chief Conductor of the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg.


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James O'Donnell has been Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey since January 2000. He was previously Master of Music of Westminster Cathedral for nearly 12 years, during which time the cathedral choir came to be recognized as one of the leading ensembles of its type in the world, and achieved unprecedented success with its recordings. He has given organ concerts throughout Europe, America and Australasia, and has made many solo broadcasts in Britain and elsewhere. He has recorded widely as soloist and continuo player with such groups as the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, The King’s Consort, the Gabrieli Consort and Players. He has worked as a conductor with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, Florilegium, the City of London Sinfonia and the BBC Singers.


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Jeffrey Skidmore began conducting while still at school, and was only 18 when he founded Ex Cathedra in Birmingham. He went on to study music with David Wulstan at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Choral Scholar under Bernard Rose. He has pioneered historically informed performances of Renaissance and Baroque music in the region and has introduced many unknown and neglected choral works from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries into the repertoire. He has worked with many leading musicologists on new performing editions of Italian and French music, including works by Animuccia, Charpentier and Lalande, as well as the French Baroque operas, Zaide by Royer and Isis by Lully. Although he concentrates on conducting and research, he continues to be actively involved in music education.


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Joglaresa is a well-established medieval music ensemble specializing in an improvisational and cross-cultural repertoire. The group won an Arts Council of England Early Music Award for its Hebrew/Arabic/Spanish programme Al ’Andalus, and received great critical acclaim for its Crusades programme The Scimitar and the Sword, which represents the voices of Judaism and Islam alongside the Christian viewpoint. Belinda Sykes, the group’s director, studied voice and improvisation in North Africa, Spain, Bulgaria and the Middle East; she has appeared as a vocal soloist with many of Europe’s major medieval music ensembles and is professor of Medieval Song at Trinity College of Music. Kim Burton, Stuart Hall, Tim Garside and Paul Clarvis are all busy exponents of jazz, world music and traditional music, playing in bands such as 3 Mustaphas 3, Human Chain, Delightful Precipice, Andy Sheppard, Hermeto Pascoal, Loose Tubes, London Sinfonietta, Orquestra Mahatma, John Williams, the Rajasthani ensemble Musafir, Transglobal Underground and Cheb Mami.


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Jordi Savall, one of today’s foremost interpreters of early music, is one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation. Born in 1941 in Igualada, Barcelona, he studied cello at the Barcelona Conservatorio Superior de Música. He was soon drawn to the viola da gamba, which he studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. From 1970 onward, he began making solo recordings, bringing to light the most important works for viola da gamba, and won international critical acclaim as a player of this instrument, which he brought to unprecedented popular attention with his sound-track to Alain Corneau’s film Tous les Matins du Monde (1991). An indefatigable rediscoverer of forgotten works, particularly the neglected musical heritage of the Iberian Peninsula, he founded several ensembles to perform a repertory stretching from the Middle Ages to the start of the 19th century. These ensembles include Hespèrion XX (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and Le Concert des Nations (1989). With these he maintains a remarkably busy concert schedule (some 100 concerts a year all over the world). To enable him to have sole editorship of his productions, in 1998 he created his own recording label, Alia Vox, which has so far recorded 14 titles.


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Lucilla Gaeazzi is one of the most moving singers of popular Italian music, blessed with a rare vocal gift that captures the richness of the human experience. Originally from Terni, Umbria, she is a respected musicologist who has spent years studying and performing the traditional music of central Italy. She now lives in Rome. She performed with the Quartetto Vocale from 1977 to 1994, and has worked with Roberto de Simone for various projects since 1986. In 1987 she founded the group Il Trillo. She has also collaborated with the guitarist Massimo Nardi as well as a number of jazz and contemporary musicians.


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Massimo Carrano was born in Calabria and lives in Rome. He is one of Italy’s leading percussionists, with a wide repertory, reaching from traditional Italian music to jazz, as well as contemporary compositions and theatre music. He also shows his talent as a singer. He has played with the RAI Orchestra, and engaged in many collaborations, notably with composers of film music and choreographers. In the field of Baroque music he has worked with René Jacobs, Allessandro de Marchi, the Ricercar Consort and L’Arpeggiata. He teaches percussion at the Scuola di Musica Popolare di Testaccia, part of the University of Rome.


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Michael Behringer, born in 1956, studied church music at Freiburg, and later organ and harpsichord at Vienna. He plays harpsichord and continuo with numerous soloists and ensembles, including Jordi Savall, Reinhard Goebel, Han Tol, Musica Antiqua Köln, Hespèrion XXI, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble. He teaches harpsichord and continuo at the Freiburg Musikhochschule.


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Montserrat Figueras, born in Barcelona to a family of music-lovers, began to study singing with Jordi Albareda at a very early age, receiving acting classes at the same time. Her marriage to Jordi Savall in 1968 established an artistic and personal relationship creating a mutual bond. That same year she left for Switzerland to continue her studies in the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and at the Basel Musik Akademie where she trained with Kurt Widmer, Thomas Binkley, Andrea von Rahm and Eva Krasznai. She has made a special study of original vocal techniques from the age of the Troubadours through to the end of the 17th century, of traditional Catalan, Iberian and Mediterranean singing and of Spanish religious polyphony; the alchemy between these elements leads to a very personal interpretations, far from the influence of post-Romantic models. She has given concerts all over the world and issued over 50 records, a number of which have received international awards.


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Pino De Vittorio, actor and singer, was born in Leporano, in the province of Taranto. Following an artistic apprenticeship dedicated to the revival of traditional music in Puglia, he joined the music and drama company directed by Roberto De Simone, taking part in all the major productions. He has taken part in numerous national and international festivals. At the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino he gave a sensitive performance in Luciano Berio’s modern revision of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and for the Settimane Internazionali di Napoli he appeared in demanding roles in two of Stravinsky’s masterpieces, L’histoire du soldat conducted by Salvatore Accardo and Pulcinella under Massimo De Bernardt. He has sung at the Accademia Chigiana and in other highly prestigious venues. In London he sang the role of Amore in Dafne by Marco Zenobi da Gagliano. He is a soloist in the vocal and instrumental ensemble Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini. In particular in the last few years with this group he has become proficient in the Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, while taking care to retain his distinctive and proven performing persona.


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The Sirin Choir of Moscow was founded in 1989 by Andrei Kotov, and is made up of young professional singers. Its goal is to rediscover the rich heritage of ancient Russian spiritual song. It strives for total authenticity in its renditions of liturgical music of the 15th–18th centuries and of canticles from various ages; it also occasionally features modern compositions that adhere to the spirit of the medieval traditions. The choir takes its name from the sirin of Russian legend, a fantastic bird with a woman’s face that entrances listeners with its singing.


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Sulukule is an ensemble of five musicians, outstanding virtuosos on their instruments, who live in the Sulukule district of Istanbul. This is one of the most dynamic areas of the great multicultural metropolis in terms of dance, music and festivities, and is famous for the great number of musicians and dancers of gypsy origin who reside there. Although today it has a reputation for being somewhat dangerous, in former times people from all over Istanbul would go there to listen to music in one of the many extremely smoky cafés. Nowadays the musicians leave Sulukule to demonstrate their skills in the cafés and restaurants of Istanbul, and in Turkish bars throughout Europe. The ensemble regularly plays all over Turkey and made its foreign debuts with great success at the Cité de la Musique in Paris in 1999 and in Milan in June 2001. The group’s director, Hüsnü Senlendirici, is one of the leading clarinettists in Turkey. He has performed frequently with the great Turkish percussionist Okay Temtz in numerous festivals around the world.


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Westminster Abbey Choir plays a central role in the daily services of Westminster Abbey, a national shrine and collegiate foundation established by Elizabeth I in 1561. The choir comprises some 36 boy choristers and 12 lay vicars. The lay vicars are professional singers. The boys live in the abbey precincts and study at the choir school, the only establishment in the country dedicated entirely to the education of choristers; its facilities and academic and musical record are excellent. Alongside its daily liturgical responsibilities, the choir takes part in numerous state and nationally significant occasions. It also undertakes a programme of concerts, broadcasts and recordings, and in recent years has travelled to Russia, the Ukraine, Germany, the United States, Poland and the Netherlands.


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Xavier Diaz, born in Barcelona, studied guitar at the Basel Musikakademie; he later studied lute with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He has worked intensively in the field of Baroque opera, and regularly takes part in the main international festivals in Europe, the USA and South America. He is a member of chamber ensembles and orchestras of note such as Hespèrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations. He founded Goyesca, a vocal and instrumental ensemble which specializes in the repertory of the 19th century, and was a founder member of La Terza Pratica, a chamber ensemble which studies and performs Italian music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He is currently lute and chamber music professor at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya.