Contrasto Armonico is as leading orchestra/ensemble which focuses on early music, especially music composed in the Italian style. It was founded in 2004 by Marta Semkiw and Marco Vitale (musical director), and established with the support of De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. 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 accompainment 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, Songs of Our Roots (Jaroslaw, Poland).
Recordings featuring Contrasto Armonico