The ensemble

Con­trasto Armon­ico is as lead­ing orchestra/ensemble which focuses on early music, espe­cially music com­posed in the Ital­ian style. The ensemble is based in Victoria BC (Canada).

The ensemble was born in 2004 by an idea of Marta Semkiw and Marco Vitale (musi­c direc­tor). The birth of the orches­tra was cel­e­brated in Delft (NL) with two pro­duc­tions of Han­del operas: “Siroe, Re di Per­sia” and “Lotario”.

The aim of Con­trasto Armon­ico is to go back to the roots of the HIP “His­tor­i­cally Inspired Per­for­mance”, doing front-line research and advanc­ing the bound­aries of early music per­for­mance prac­tice.  An idea of HIP as a con­stant “work in progress”, con­sid­er­ing it as a phi­los­o­phy instead of a con­sol­i­dated tradition.

The orches­tra is con­sti­tuted of pro­fes­sional musi­cians from all over the world who share the same ideals and feel­ings for the Early Music per­for­mance prac­tice, using copies of orig­i­nal instru­ments, his­tor­i­cal pitches and trans­po­si­tions, keep­ing as a goal the inten­tion to get as close as pos­si­ble to the style and aes­thetic of the work performed.

Con­trasto Armon­ico started a record­ing project of Han­del vocal works in 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 Ital­ian lan­guage com­posed by Han­del with instru­men­tal accompaniment as well as with solo basso con­tinuo (nearly 100 com­po­si­tions): the first two vol­umes were released in the Han­del year 2009.

Con­trasto Armon­ico has per­formed in prestigious con­cert halls and festivals such as Con­cert­ge­bouw Ams­ter­dam, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Styriarte Graz.

Contrasto Armonico Music Society was incorporated in April 2022 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.