One of the most enigmatic music figures to appear on Glossa has been the harpist Mara Galassi, who specializes in music written for early incarnations of the instrument, notably double and triple Renaissance and Baroque harps and the single-action pedal harp from the Classical period.
A graduate of the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan and the Pesaro Conservatory of Music, Galassi later studied pedal harp with Luciana Chierici, David Watkins, and Emmy Huerlimann, performance practice with harpsichordist David Collyer and lutenist Patrick O’Brien and musicology with Michael Morrow in London. She served as principal harpist for the Teatro Massimo Opera House in Palermo, Italy but forsook the modern concert harp repertoire by composers such as Debussy and Ravel to perform as a soloist in the world of early music, returning to her native Milan, where she has taught modern and historical harps at the Civica Scuola di Musica. Her teaching activities now include the ESMUC in Barcelona in Spain.
As musicologist she has carried out extensive research in the field of historical harps, preparing for Glossa her first solo recording, Il viaggio di Lucrezia, a “historical fantasy” based on the travels of harpist Lucretia Urbana between 1584 and 1615 and featuring the music from Galassi’s beloved Italian 17th century with composers active in Italy at the time and played on an arpa doppia. A follow-up album, Les Harpes du Ciel (for which she and her fellow artist Gabriela Bosio played on two harpes à crochet, the so-called “Louis XVI” harps) saw Galassi venture into Classical repertoire, epitomized by JC Bach and Mozart.
Mara Galassi is active as a soloist (on a variety of instruments, from the Gothic harp, to Renaissance harps with brays to double and triple row instruments) and has also worked with many of the best ensembles in the European early music field, such as René Jacobs’ Concerto Vocale, Rinaldo Alessandrini’s Concerto Italiano, Pedro Memelsdorff’s Mala Punica, Jean-Marc Aymes’ Concerto Soave and the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin (and with them on their recordings on labels such as Tactus, Symphonia, Ricordi, Harmonia Mundi and Opus 111).