Contrasto Armonico is a leading ensemble which focuses on early music. The ensemble is based in Victoria, BC (Canada).
Since 2015 Contrasto Armonico has been the co-organiser of the Denman Island Baroque Music Workshop and Festival, on Denman Island (BC).
The ensemble was formed in 2004 by cellist Marta Semkiw and harpsichordist Marco Vitale (music director). The birth of the orchestra was celebrated in Delft (Netherlands) with two productions of Handel operas: “Siroe, Re di Persia” and “Lotario”.
The aim of Contrasto Armonico is to embrace to the roots of historically informed performance by doing front-line research and advancing the boundaries of early music performance practice. We consider historically informed performance as a constant “work in progress”, treating it as a philosophy of exploration instead of as a consolidated tradition.
The ensemble consists of professional early music specialists from Canada and all over the world who share the same ideals and vision, using period instruments, historical pitches and transpositions, with the goal of getting as close as possible to the style and aesthetic of the work performed.
Contrasto Armonico embarked on a recording project of Handel vocal works in the Italian language; the first CD was released in 2008 by Brilliant Classics, with the serenata “Aci, Galatea e Polifemo” followed by the oratorio “La Resurrezione” in April 2009. Contrasto Armonico is currently involved in recording the complete Italian cantatas by G. F. Handel, an ambitious project which will include all the cantatas in the Italian language, with instrumental accompaniment as well as with solo basso continuo. Currently 7 volumes have been released and the project is ongoing under the ayros recording label.
Contrasto Armonico has performed in prestigious concert halls and festivals such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Styriarte Graz.
In April 2022 Contrasto Armonico Music Society was incorporated in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Since moving to British Columbia the ensemble has performed for Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Festival, Vernon Proms, Salt Spring Baroque, and the Denman Island Baroque Music Festival.