In 1983, Accademia Bizantina was founded in Ravenna, Italy, with the intention of "making
music like a large quartet." Then, as now, the group was managed autonomously by its
guardian members, ensuring that the chamber-music approach to its performances has remained
a distinguishing feature.
Over the years, a number of prominent personalities in the musical world have supported
the orchestra's development and growth, including Jörg Demus, Carlo Chiarappa, Riccardo
Muti, and Luciano Berio. The orchestra also has enjoyed the collaboration of many fine
musicians like Stefano Montanari, who was an integral part of the group for more than 20
years. This has allowed the ensemble--which plays on period instruments--to specialize even
more in 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century repertoire. Gradually, the orchestra has developed a
distinctive voice by adopting its own interpretation style based on a common language and
shared performance practice, thus reflecting the noblest tradition of Italian chamber
In 1989, Ottavio Dantone joined the group as a harpsichordist, and in 1996, he became both
musical and artistic director, charged with the task of guaranteeing the prestige and
artistic quality of the ensemble. Under his expert guidance, Accademia Bizantina has merged
historical research with an artistic approach to the interpretation of music from the
Baroque period. Mr. Dantone's intelligence, imagination, and sophistication join with the
enthusiasm and artistic sensibilities of each member of the group, giving depth to the
orchestra's interpretations and making it one of the most prestigious ensembles on the
international musical scene today.
In 1999, Accademia Bizantina performed its first staged opera, Sarti's Giulio
Sabino. Since then, the orchestra has come to specialize in the rediscovery and
performance of Baroque operas, from major works to those that have never been performed in
The ensemble performs in concert halls and festivals worldwide. Its many
recordings--especially those for Decca Records, Harmonia Mundi, and Naïve--have won several
awards, including the Diapason d'Or de l'Année, an International Midem Award,
and a Grammy nomination for O Solitude, its recording of Purcell songs and arias
with countertenor Andreas Scholl. Of particular significance are the orchestra's
collaborations with violinists Viktoria Mullova and Giuliano Carmignola.
Among the orchestra's new project for the 2016-2017 season are Vivaldi's
L'incoronazione di Dario, Handel's Alcina and Belshazzar,
and J. S. Bach's The Art of Fugue.
While still quite young, Ottavio Dantone received a performance degree with a specialty in
both organ and harpsichord, immediately launching into a concert career and winning the
praise of critics as one of the finest players of his generation.
In 1985, his continuo performance was awarded a prize at the International Harpsichord
Competition in Paris, and he was the highest prize winner at the Musica Antiqua Festival in
Bruges, Belgium, the following year. As the first Italian to receive the latter award, he
quickly gained international recognition.
His collaboration with the Baroque orchestra Accademia Bizantina began in 1989, and his
profound understanding of historical performance practices in the Baroque period led, in
1996, to a promotion to music director of that group. Under his direction, Accademia
Bizantina has secured a position as one of the most outstanding Baroque orchestras on the
international scene today.
Gradually throughout the last 20 years, Mr. Dantone has expanded his repertoire as soloist
and director of chamber music and small orchestras, becoming a major conductor and
diversifying his performance repertoire to include the music of the Classic and Romantic
As an opera conductor, he made his debut in 1999 in the first modern performance of
Sarti's Giulio Sabino (1781) in Ravenna's Alighieri Theatre with Accademia Bizantina. From
that time on, he has conducted well-known operas and rediscovered operas rarely heard,
giving them their first modern performances. He performs often in some of the world's most
celebrated theaters, like Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Teatro Real in Madrid, Théâtre du
Palais-Royal in Paris, and the Zurich Opera House, and at the acclaimed Glyndebourne
Festival Opera in East Sussex and The Proms in London.
Mr. Dantone has recorded as both soloist and conductor with such noted record companies as
Decca Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Naïve, and Harmonia Mundi, winning numerous
international awards and receiving high critical acclaim.