Accademia Bizantina was founded in Ravenna in 1983, with the programmatic intention of making music like a large quartet. Today, as then, the group is independently managed by its own members, who guard and guarantee the chamber interpretative approach that has always distinguished the ensemble.
This philosophy, combined with a profound collective study, has allowed the ensemble to specialize in the performance of the musical repertoire of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries on original instruments.
Over the years Accademia Bizantina succeed in distinguishing itself and gaining a prominent place in the preferences of the public and critics, adopting its own interpretative style that draws its raison d’être from the research and appropriation of a common and shared performance practice and language that requires a careful reading of the score and favours stylistic accuracy for the performance, as in the noblest Italian chamber music tradition.
Ottavio Dantone became a permanent member of the group in 1989 as harpsichordist, and in 1996 he was appointed conductor and artistic director, becoming the guarantor of the prestige and artistic quality of the ensemble.
Under his expert guidance and in full harmony with first violin Alessandro Tampieri, Accademia Bizantina carries on its artistic journey focusing on and specializing in early music, aiming to combine philological research and the study of the Baroque interpretative and performing practice and its aesthetics.
As in a Byzantine mosaic, Dantone’s skill, imagination and refinement merged with the enthusiasm and artistic complicity of every single instrumentalist in the group, giving body and substance to interpretations that saw the orchestra being credited as one of the most prestigious ensembles on the international music scene.
Since 1999, when the first opera in stage form was performed - the “Giulio Sabino” by G. Sarti - Accademia Bizantina has specialized in the rediscovery and performance of both the opera repertoire and the Baroque Oratorio, offering, in addition to the most important program titles, titles never performed before in modern times.
The ensemble performs in the most prestigious concert halls and international festivals. Its numerous recordings for Decca, Harmonia Mundi and Naïve, as well as a prestigious nomination for the Grammy Music Award, have won prizes and awards such as the Diapason d’Or, the Midem, Prix Classica and the Gramophone Award.
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.
Born in Ravenna, Alessandro Tampieri began his musical studies in his home town and became a member of Accademia Bizantina at the age of fifteen. During his training he devoted himself with equal interest to the violin and the viola, working with such noted composers as Luciano Berio and Azio Corghi and acquiring significant experience as a violist in the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Alessandro Tampieri had been interested in the exciting subject of historically informed musical performance based on scholarly criteria since his first years of study, and soon began to appear with a number of early music ensembles, including such groups as Il Giardino Armonico and L’Arpeggiata and artists like Enrico Onofri, Philippe Jaroussky and Vittorio Ghielmi.
Since 2011 he has been first violin and concertmaster of Accademia Bizantina, collaborating in the musical life of the ensemble with its artistic director Ottavio Dantone.
He teaches at the Conservatory of Music “G. Rossini” in Pesaro.
His recent recordings with Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone of Vivaldi’s concertos for viola d’amore and strings and concertos for violin VII “Per il Castello” both released on Naïve, received a very warm welcome from both the specialised critics and the public.
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