Conductor: Ottavio Dantone
Bach: Performances and recordings
The activity of Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone has always been deeply connected to the world of J.S. Bach, on two different levels: directly, through performances and editions of his scores, and in an indirect way, through the understanding and the study of the influence which Bach had on his contemporaries first and on the generations to come, thus representing a reference in the History of Music for any scholar, music-lover and performer.
Accademia Bizantina was founded in Ravenna in 1983 with the intention of “making music like a large quartet”. 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. 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. The ensemble performs in concerts halls and festivals worldwide. Their many recordings, most notably for Decca, Harmonia Mundi, Naïve, Outhere have won numerous awards including the Diapason d’Or, Midem, Gramophone Award and a Grammy Music Award nomination. 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 Harmonia Mundi and Decca).
Coro and Accademia Maghini
Choir Masters: Claudio Chiavazza, Elena Camoletto
Singing Bach - Festival "BackTOBach"
In 2015, the Coro Maghini of Turin celebrated its twentieth birthday. By chance, that year it was invited to participate in the performance of J. S. Bach's Mass in B Minor along with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai conducted by Ottavio Dantone. This led the Coro Maghini to affirm an essential component of its identity. Indeed, already in 2003 (again together with the OSN Rai conducted byJeffrey Tate), the Coro Maghini had performed Bach's great Mass for the first time; from then on, the choir had participated in other important performances of Bach's masterpieces, such as the St. John Passion (in 2005, with the OSN Rai and Gianandrea Noseda; in 2010, with Alessandro De Marchi and the Academia Montis Regalis), the Magnificat (in 2005 with Helmuth Rilling, in 2007 and 2008 with the Academia Montis Regalis and Alessandro de Marchi in Palermo, Milano, Torino, Alba, Chivasso) and the St. Matthew Passion (in 2007, conducted by Helmuth Rilling). These great productions were accompanied by other performances, such as the complete Motets (2009, festival MiTo Settembre Musica). On other occasions, Bach's Cantatas were also performed, including the Christmas Oratorio; the Choir also sang the G-major Lutheran Mass (in 2014, for the Accademia Stefano Tempia and later at MiTo Settembre Musica) and other works by Johann Sebastian and by other members of the Bach family.
The Bachian vocation of the Choir gave birth, in 2011-2, to a project of education and concerts called "Cantare Bach" ("Singing Bach"), realized by the Accademia Maghini. It was a course comprising six seminars (individual singing lessons, choir rehearsals, musicological lectures) through which new singers were selected and prepared for joining the Coro Maghini for yet another performance of the St. John Passion with the OSN Rai (March 2012, once more with Helmuth Rilling).
This initiative was proposed again in 2013-4 with the B-Minor Mass (which was performed in Innsbruck, in 2014, at the famous Early Music Festival, and in Turin in 2015, conducted by Alessandro De Marchi); in 2015-6, with a course focussing on the Motets for Double Choir by J. S. Bach and other composers of the Leipzig Thomaskirche. In 2016-7 another course, titled "Jesu meine Freude", was centered on Bach's Motets, which were performed on April 8th (Regie Sinfonie, "I musici di santa Pelagia") and on July 8th (Festival dei Saraceni, 50th edition).
The closing event of the year 2015 was worth celebrating; thus the Accademia Maghini organized the first edition of BackTOBach, which at the time was a kind of a mini-marathon comprising a listening guide, a short concert, three performances in various locations in the Turin city centre, and a series of organ performances in several churches of the city. This zero edition was so successful that it encouraged the Accademia to transform it into a true festival, in December 2016, with events in Turin, Cuneo and the surrounding area (from November 26th to December 7th).
Since 2017, thanks to a convention with the Culture Office of the Region Piedmont, BackTOBach became an affirmed reality, which participated in the early music project Intrecci barocchi (a network of musical institutions operating in Turin and Piedmont). The 2017 edition of the festival included a performance of Bach's Cantata BWV 147 and of Telemann's Magnificat, sung by the choir of the Accademia Maghini which had followed an itinerary of preparation similar to those of the preceding years, while the great conclusion of the 2018 edition was the performance of the first three Cantatas of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
In 2019, BackTOBach will include a performance of Bach's St. John Passion in which the choir of the Accademia (which will sing all the choruses after a one-year itinerary of preparation) will sing side by side with a larger ensemble in which amateur singers will be invited to join, after a shorter preparation focussing on the Chorales.
The Accademia Maghini was founded in 2005 to complement and support the activity of the Coro Filarmonico Ruggero Maghini, and it became a reference point for the education of singers and choristers, as well as a cultural force promoting projects joining education and performance. The Accademia organized (from 2006 to 2016) a concert season called Musica nei luoghi dello Spirito, in which musical masterpieces were performed within places of interest both artistic and spiritual.
The Choir of the Accademia, conducted by Elena Camoletto, is constantly renewed on the basis of educational and musical projects. Along with the Choir Master, the singers' preparation is entrusted by Antonio Abete, Renata Colombatto, Svetlana Skvortsova and Teresa Nesci.
promo [at] coromaghini.it
Bach: performance, interpretation, recordings
Rinaldo Alessandrini studies "the music and poetics of Bach", and, in his own words, he will be "forever grateful" to Bach for what he taught him - in spite of the temporal distance. From this deep, passionate and methodic study came numerous recordings, published by some of the most important international labels, as well as a lively and continuous performance activity made of concert tours worldwide.
Rinaldo Alessandrini defines himself as "self-taught; the creator of Concerto italiano (1984), performing worldwide since 1979. Orchestra conductor (Monteverdi's complete operas at La Scala and Opéra Garnier). His discography (1988/2019) includes 105 publications, including five Gramophone Awards".
Bach: Italian translation of the Complete Cantatas
An amateur with a passion for Bach's music, he translated into Italian the complete sacred Cantatas by Bach (200 works) and the Motets, published on one of the most complete Bach sites worldwide, the "Bach Cantatas Website" (www.bach-cantatas.com).
The process of translation, realized in nine years (2005-2013) followed the pace of John Eliot Gardiner's publication of the cantatas on CD, which organized them according to the liturgical year.
The list of Antonacci's Italian translations is found at: