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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 warring—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.
Mr. 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. As described by The Guardian, “Jordi Savall testifies to a common cultural inheritance of infinite variety. He is a man for our time.”
Mr. Savall performs on a seven-string bass viol made by Barak Norman in London in 1697.
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.