La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic is sponsored by Chubb.
The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has granted La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic its official support (“Patrocinio”) in recognition of Carnegie Hall’s celebration of Italy’s extraordinarily rich cultural legacy.
Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism in Rome; the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC; and the Consulate General of Italy in New York.
For more than 50 years, Jordi Savall--one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation--has rescued musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless researcher of early music, he interprets and performs the repertory both as a gambist and as a conductor. His activities as a concert performer, teacher, researcher, and creator of new musical and cultural projects have made him a leading figure in the revival of historical music. Together with his wife Montserrat Figueras (1942-2011), he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987), and Le Concert des Nations (1989). Across all ensembles, he explores and creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early music enthusiasts around the world.
Mr. Savall has recorded and released more than 230 albums covering the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical styles, while giving special focus to the Iberian and Mediterranean musical heritage. His work has merited many distinctions, including the Midem Classical Award, International Classical Music Award, and multiple Grammy Awards. His concert programs use music as a form of mediation to achieve understanding and peace between different--and sometimes conflicting--peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest artists appearing with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Afghan, Mexican, and Native American musicians. In 2008, Mr. Savall was appointed European Union Ambassador for intercultural dialogue and, together with Ms. Figueras, was named an Artist for Peace as part of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador program.
Jordi Savall's prolific musical career has brought him the highest national and international distinctions, including honorary doctorates from universities in Évora (Portugal), Barcelona (Catalonia), Louvain (Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland), the title of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (France), the Praetorius Music Prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of Lower Saxony, the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia, and the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
Yurdal Tokcan is regarded as one of the finest oud players in the world today. He combines older traditions with many new stylistic innovations, which also appear in his performances on the fretless guitar. His new compositions combine traditional, rich melodies with polyphonic textures performed on Turkish classical instruments.
Mr. Tokcan is a graduate of the Istanbul Technical University's Turkish Music Conservatory. While completing his master's program, he joined the faculty as an oud instructor. He continues to teach, sharing his knowledge, experience, and technique with Turkish and foreign students.
In 1990, Mr. Tokcan joined the Istanbul State Classical Turkish Music Ensemble under the artistic direction of Necdet Yaşar. He performs with the Istanbul Fasil Ensemble and the Istanbul Tasavvuf Music Ensemble, and is a founding member of the Istanbul Sazendeleri, a group dedicated to presenting Turkish instrumental music.
As a soloist, Mr. Tokcan performed in the Netherlands with the Amsterdam Percussion Group and Chamber Orchestra, and with the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra in Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Belgium. He joined percussionist Burhan Öçal, kanun player Göksel Baktagir, kemençe player Selim Güler, and ney player Arif Erdebil in concert: The recording from that performance won awards as the best world music recording of 1998 in France. Mr. Tokcan has played in many ensembles led by virtuoso ney player Kudsi Erguner, both in Turkey and abroad. He has also performed in Israel with the group Baharat. Recently, Mr. Tokcan has been recording and performing with the Ladino artist Hadass Pal-Yarden from Israel. Mr. Tokcan's work can also be heard on Bende Can, an album of his original compositions.
Dimitri Psonis began his musical studies in Athens. He specialized in musical analysis, harmony, counterpoint, Byzantine music, and Greek musical instruments such as the santur, oud, tzurás, and tambura. He moved to Madrid, where he obtained a degree in percussion and musical pedagogy from the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música. He also studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and has collaborated with many different ensembles.
Mr. Psonis founded the groups Krusta, Acroma, and P'An-Ku; has accompanied numerous singers and instrumentalists like Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Maria del Mar Bonet, Eliseo Parra, and Javier Paxariño; and in the last several years, devoted himself to the study and interpretation of Ottoman Classical music, as well as popular music of Greece and Turkey.
Mr. Psonis also has made numerous recordings and appeared on film soundtracks and theater works. In 1997, he founded the ensemble Metamorphosis, which has performed at the acclaimed music festivals in Spain. His collaborations with early music ensembles include the likes of Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Speculum Musicae, Mudéjar, and Hespèrion XXI.
Hakan Güngör was born in Turkey in 1973. He received his first music lessons from his father, oud player Ali Osman Güngör, and his first kanun lessons from Özhan Kayhan.
In 1990, Mr. Güngör studied at the Gazi University in Ankara, and then in 1992, he transferred to the composition department at the Istanbul Technical University's Turkish Music Conservatory. Over the course of six years, he studied with such prominent musicians and professors as Yavuz Özüstün, Nail Yavuzoglu, Emin Sabitoglu, Mutlu Torun, Selahattin İçli, Ruhi Ayangil, and Erol Deran. His coursework covered solfège, composition, harmony and counterpoint, techniques of kanun, European classical music, and Turkish classical music.
His melodic style, rich sound, and clear and tender plucking on the kanun make him unique among virtuosos of the instrument. Since the 1993, he has collaborated with such world-famous musicians as Kudsi Erguner, Jordi Savall, Yo-Yo Ma, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Fazil Say, and Okay Temiz.
Besides giving concerts, Mr. Güngör teaches at Haliç University in Istanbul, and he works at Istanbul Radio House as a kanun player. He also produces and presents the widely enjoyed show Muzik Deyince for the TRT Music Channel of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.
Born in 1985, Haïg Sarikouyoumdjian began playing the doudouk (Armenian oboe) at the age of 13. He has studied with numerous teachers in Armenia, where he learned both instrumental technique with all its dexterity as well as the traditional repertoire with its subtleties of melody, intonation, rhythm, ornamentation, and development of harmonic modes.
Until 2004, Mr. Sarikouyoumdjian performed with an Armenian traditional ensemble, led by Gaguik Mouradian, whose approach to music profoundly influenced him. He works now on various projects, including with the ensemble Medjlis, which brings together Armenian music, jazz, and contemporary music. In 2009, he started to collaborate with Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI. With them, he has participated in different projects, performing around the world.
The Orthodox-Byzantine Vocal Ensemble is presented under the auspices of the Romanos the Melodist Society, a scholarly organization for the study and propagation of ecclesiastical and secular Byzantine and post-Byzantine music. The Romanos the Melodist Society was established in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1996 by the precentor Panagiotis Neochoritis, aiming to research the music that developed during the Byzantine and post-Byzantine eras. The society focused initially on Constantinople before expanding to consider the music of Thessaloniki and Mount Athos.
The society has two main fields of study. First, it investigates Byzantine and post-Byzantine church music and liturgical chant. Second, it researches secular music (accompanied by musical instruments) as it was developed in the aforementioned centers throughout history. With these two endeavors, the society seeks to find the connection between the past centuries and the present period through both old and new compositions and methods of interpretation, as the natural expression of the inner longing of the soul.
Following the model of the famous Medieval "royal chapels" for which the greatest masterpieces of both religious and secular music were composed on the Iberian Peninsula, Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall founded La Capella Reial in 1987, becoming one of the first vocal groups devoted to historically informed performance of music from Spain's Golden Age and consisting exclusively of Hispanic and Latin voices. In 1990, when the ensemble received the sponsorship of the Generalitat of Catalonia, it changed its name to La Capella Reial de Catalunya.
The newly formed ensemble specialized in the recovery and performance of polyphonic and vocal music from Spain and Europe from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance (often considered Spain's Golden Age), the Baroque, and even the 19th century. La Capella Reial de Catalunya shares with Hespèrion XXI the same artistic perspective and goals: Rooted in respect for the profoundly spiritual and artistic dimension of each work, the ensemble combines quality and authenticity of the style of the period with a careful attention to the declamation and expressive projection of the poetic text.
The ensemble's extensive repertory ranges from Medieval music--of various cultures of the Mediterranean--to the great masters of Renaissance and Baroque music. The group has distinguished itself in various Baroque and Classical opera repertories, as well as in contemporary works by Arvo Pärt. La Capella Reial de Catalunya played on the soundtrack to Jacques Rivette's film Jeanne la Pucelle (1993) on the life of Joan of Arc.
In 1992, La Capella Reial de Catalunya made its opera debut accompanying the performances of Le Concert des Nations. The ensemble has received various awards and distinctions in recognition of its more than 40 recordings. Under the direction of Jordi Savall, La Capella Reial de Catalunya pursues an intense program of concerts and recordings all over the world. Since the ensemble's creation, it has regularly performed at major early music festivals around the globe.
Early music's most important value stems from its ability, as a universal language, to transmit feelings, emotions, and ancestral ideas that can enthrall the contemporary listener even today. With a repertoire that encompasses the period between the 10th and 18th centuries, Hespèrion XXI searches continuously for new points of union between the East and West, with a clear desire for integration and for the recovery of an international musical heritage, especially that of the Mediterranean basin and its links to the New World.
In 1974, Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras, together with Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith, founded the early music ensemble Hespèrion XX in Basel to help recover and disseminate the rich and fascinating musical repertoire that originated prior to the 19th century. The name Hespèrion means "an inhabitant of Hesperia," which in ancient Greek referred to the two most westerly peninsulas in Europe: the Iberian and the Italian. It also was the name given to the planet Venus as it appeared in the west. At the turn of the 21st century, Hespèrion XX became Hespèrion XXI.
Today, Hespèrion XXI is a central ensemble for the understanding and performance of the music from the Middle Ages to the Baroque. Its efforts to recover works, scores, instruments, and unpublished documents have double value. On one hand, its rigorous research provides new information and understanding about the historical knowledge of the period, and on the other hand, the exquisite performances enable people to freely enjoy the aesthetic and spiritual delicacy of the works of this period.
Right from the beginning, the members of Hespèrion XXI set out on a clearly innovative and artistic course that would lead to the establishment of a unique school of thought in the field of early music because they believed-and continue to believe-that early music is an experimental musical tool. With it, they seek the maximum beauty and expressiveness in their performances. All musicians in the field of ancient music have a commitment to the original spirit of each work, connecting with it by studying the composer, the instruments of the period, the work itself, and the circumstances surrounding it. But as craftsmen in the art of musical performance, musicians are also obliged to make decisions about the piece being played: Their capacity to connect the past with the present and to connect culture with its dissemination depends on skill, creativity, and facility for transmitting emotions.
Thanks to the outstanding work of numerous musicians and collaborators who have worked with the ensemble, Hespèrion XXI continues to play a key role in the recovery and reappraisal of early music. The group has released more than 60 recordings and appears regularly at acclaimed international festivals.
Founded in 1989 by Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras during their project on Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Canticum Beatae Virgine, the orchestra Le Concert des Nations was born out of the need for an orchestra of period instruments capable of performing a repertory that spans the Baroque to the Romantic period. The name comes from François Couperin's work Les Nations and represents the coming together of musical tastes and the idea that art in Europe would always bear its own particular stamp, that of the Age of Enlightenment.
Le Concert des Nations, under the direction of Mr. Savall, was the first orchestra to be composed of a majority of musicians from Latin countries (Spain, Latin America, France, Italy, and Portugal), all of whom are leading specialists in performance on period instruments. From the outset, the group's aim has been to raise awareness of historical repertoires of great quality by combining rigorous respect for the original spirit of each work with a revitalizing approach to performance, as heard on their recordings of works by Charpentier, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Marais, Arriaga, Beethoven, Purcell, Dumanoir, Lully, Biber, Boccherini, Rameau, and Vivaldi.
In 1992, Le Concert des Nations made its opera debut in a production of Vicente Martín i Soler's Una Cosa Rara, and the group subsequently performed Monteverdi's L'Orfeo. The numerous recordings of Le Concert des Nations have won various awards and distinctions, including the Midem Classical Award and the International Classical Music Award.