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.
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.