Thursday 15 March 2018 at 8:30pm


OTTAVIO DANTONE, harpsichord / conductor

Bach and Vivaldi never met, but when Bach moved to Weimar, Germany in 1708, Vivaldi’s music was very popular. Bach was very interested in Vivaldi’s Italian style and transcribed many of his compositions. This is a great opportunity to listen to the works of these two composers played by the Accademia Bizantina, one of the best known baroque music ensembles in the world, directed by Ottavio Dantone. Dantone conducted many of today’s great orchestras, including the Berlin Staatskapelle, the Orchestre National de France, the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala in Milan and the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

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BACH, Johann Sebastian (1685 – 1750)
• Harpsichord Concerto No.4 in A major, BWV 1055
• Harpsichord Concerto No.2 in E major, BWV 1053
VIVALDI, Antonio (1678 -1741)
• Concerto for Strings in F major, RV 138
BACH, Johann Sebastian (1685 – 1750)
• Harpsichord Concerto No.1 in D minor, BWV 1052
VIVALDI, Antonio (1678 -1741)
• Concerto for Strings in B-flat major, RV 167

OTTAVIO DANTONE, Harpsichord / Conductor

While still quite young Ottavio Dantone received a performance degree in both organ and harpsichord and immediately launched into a concert career, quickly attracting the attention of the critics as one of the finest players of his generation.
In 1985 he was awarded the basso continuo prize at the International Competition in Paris and he was the highest prize winner at the 1986 International Competition in Bruges. He was the first Italian to have received this latter award, immediately bringing him international recognition.
His collaboration with the Baroque orchestra Accademia Bizantina from Ravenna began in 1989 and his profound understanding of historical performance practices in the Baroque period lead, in 1996, to his nomination as music director of that group. Under his direction Accademia Bizantina has affirmed itself as one of the most outstanding Baroque orchestras on the international scene today.
Over the last twenty years Ottavio Dantone has gradually added to his activities as soloist and director of chamber music and small orchestras that of a major conductor, extending his repertoire to the classic and romantic periods.
As an opera conductor he made his debut in 1999 in the first modern execution of Giovani Sarti’s “Giulio Sabino” in Ravenna’s Alighieri Theatre with Accademia Bizantina. From that time on his career lead him to conducting both well-known operas to the rediscovery of operas rarely heard or first modern performance in some of the most celebrated festivals and theatres in the world, among them the Scala in Milano, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Royal Theatres in both Madrid and Paris, Zurich Opera and the London Proms.
He has recorded as both soloist and as a conductor with such noted record companies as Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Naïve and Harmonia Mundi, winning numerous international awards and receiving high critical acclaim.


Accademia Bizantina was founded in Ravenna in 1983 with the intention of “making music like a large quartet”. Then as now, the group is managed autonomously by its guardian members, guaranteeing the chamber music approach to their performances which has ever been their distinguishing feature.
A number of prominent personalities in the musical world supported the orchestra’s development and growth, among them Jorg Demus, Carlo Chiarappa, Riccardo Muti and Luciano Berio. Over the years they have also enjoyed the collaboration of many fine musicians, among them Stefano Montanari who was an integral part of the orchestra for over 20 years. This has allowed the ensemble, which plays on period instruments, to become ever more specialised in 17th, 18th and 19th-century repertoire. Gradually the orchestra developed a distinguished voice by adopting its own interpretative style based on a common language and shared performance practice, reflecting the noblest tradition of Italian chamber music.
In 1989 Ottavio Dantone joined the group as harpsichordist and in 1996 he was appointed musical and artistic director, guaranteeing the prestige and artistic quality of the ensemble. Under his expert guidance Accademia Bizantina has merged philological research and an aesthetic approach to the interpretation of music from the Baroque period. Dantone’s competence, imagination and sophistication have united with the enthusiasm and artistic empathy of each member of the group, giving their interpretations the depth which makes them one of the most prestigious ensembles on the international musical scene today.
In 1999 Accademia Bizantina performed their first staged opera, Giuseppe Sarti’s “Giulio Sabino”. The orchestra has gone on to specialise in the rediscovery and performance of Baroque operas, ranging from major works to operas which have never been performed in modern times.
The ensemble performs in concerts halls and festivals worldwide. Their many recordings, most notably for Decca, Harmonia Mundi and Naïve, have won numerous awards including the Diapason d’Or, Midem and a Grammy Music Award nomination for Purcell’s “O Solitude” with Andreas Scholl. Of particular significance are their collaborations with violinists Viktoria Mullova and Giuliano Carmignola and with countertenor Andreas Scholl with whom they have had major international tours and recording projects (for Onyx, Deutsche Grammophon, Harmonia Mundi and Decca).
Among the orchestra’s new productions scheduled for 2016 are Antonio Vivaldi’s “L’incoronazione di Dario”, Händel’s “Alcina” and “Belshazzar” and J.S. Bach’s The Art of Fugue.