Accademia del Piacere combines exacting musicological research and the recuperation of never before-played music with impressive technical ability on the part of its singers and instrumentalists, most of who come from Andalucía. From the outset focused on Renaissance and Baroque music, the ensemble offers a wide range of programmes: ranging across the sumptuousness of the Sun King’s court in France, to the virtuosity from the early 17th century in Italy, or the religious and secular music of the Renaissance and Baroque in Spain in general, and in Andalucía, in particular.
Directed by Fahmi Alqhai, the ensemble has made its first recording for Glossa, Rediscovering Spain - fantasías, diferencias and glosas, in which it sets out to recover and bring up to date in all its aspects the common practice of musicians from the 16th and 17th centuries. For some years now, the group has been turning away from the well-worn pathways in order to explore new possibilities in terms of presentation and interpretation in its musical work (a good example of this has been the highly-successful collaborative activities with the cantaor Arcángel).
Accademia del Piacere has taken part in many events all across Europe and some of the recent concert halls and festivals where it has performed have been the Konzerthaus, Vienna, the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, the Festival van Vlaanderen, the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, De Bijloke, Gent, the Kölner Philharmonie and Il Ravello Festival (Italy). Concerts in Spain have been frequent and have included the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, the Festival de Música Antigua de Sevilla, the Festival de Música y Danza de Granada, and the Festival de Música Antigua de Úbeda y Baeza.
Born in Sevilla, Fahmi Alqhai then spent the next eleven years of his life living in Syria, studying music there, before continuing his musical training back in Sevilla and then at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and also in Lugano. He has since become one of the leading viola da gamba players of his generation, subsequently founding Accademia del Piacere with Mariví Blasco in 2002. With ensembles such as Hespèrion XXI (Jordi Savall) and Il Suonar Parlante (Vittorio Ghielmi) he has regularly toured Europe, Japan, the United States and South America. Beyond the field of early music he has taken part as a soloist in flamenco performances such as at the Bienal de Flamenco in Sevilla, as well as involving himself in contemporary music and jazz. Since 2009 has also been the artistic director of the FeMAS, the Festival de Música Antigua de Sevilla.
The collective artistic endeavours of Glossa have recently been recognized with an award of Label of the Year for 2014 by a Europe-wide panel of classical music media organizations – print and online magazines, as well as radio broadcasters – who form the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) jury. This is to be presented at the Award Ceremony and Gala Concert in the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw in April 2014. The Glossa adventure began back in 1992, led by two pioneering Spanish instrumentalists – brothers José Miguel Moreno and Emilio Moreno – who set about creating a treasure trove of recorded excellence, notably in the ever-developing field of “early music”. To this day, the label remains focused on its artists, supporting their musical journeys and inclinations, with the artistic direction entrusted to Carlos Céster. With a small team around him Céster operates from San Lorenzo de El Escorial, surrounded by the abundant natural riches of the mountains around Madrid and with an austere Monasterio in sight to ever encourage him in the rigour of his work. [read more...]
The nurturing of new musical talents in Spain has been particularly effective in recent times in the field of early music for instrumentalists as well as singers. Andalucía – and notably its capital city Sevilla – has brought on an impressive range of talents, none more so than the viola da gamba player and director Fahmi Alqhai (whose range of cultural ‘influences’ extends to having lived in Syria and studied additionally in Basel and Lugano). Co-founder of the ensemble Accademia del Piacere, Alqhai is newly becoming a Glossa artist, his first release being Rediscovering Spain: fantasías, diferencias and glosas, a modern – and seriously informed – take on mostly instrumental music from Spain across the 16th and 17th centuries. Just returned from a European tour with Accademia del Piacere, we took the opportunity to talk to this exceptional gamba player, director and musical mind about his first album for Glossa and his approach to performing early music in the 21st century. [read more...]