DG signs Venice Baroque Orchestra and Andrea Marcon to an exclusive contract for Archiv Produktion

Andrea Marcon

Conductor, organist, harpsichordist, and scholar Andrea Marcon is recognized as one of today's foremost performers of early music. In 1998, he founded the Venice Baroque Orchestra with some of Italy's finest instrumentalists. Together, they have performed throughout Europe and Japan, in the 2001/02 season alone appearing in over 35 cities, including New York, Tokyo, Milan, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Aldeburgh, and London.

Following their New York début at Lincoln Center in August 2001, The New York Times wrote that "the hottest groups no longer come from England and the Netherlands, but from Italy. One of the newest is the Venice Baroque Orchestra ... a youthful group that plays zestily and with a tightly drilled ensemble." The Guardian in London, reviewing their BBC Prom concert at the Albert Hall in August 2002, declared: "The VBO's instrumentalists function as a single organism that allows the music to live and speak ... Listening to this performance was like hearing The Four Seasons for the first time." And The Times critic wrote: "Not one note sounds dutiful; joy and a sense of discovery are everywhere."

The orchestra's concerts have been filmed by the BBC and NHK, and it is also winning widespread acclaim for its opera performances. Marcon's dedication to the rediscovery of Baroque masterpieces has led to the first fully staged performances in modern times of Francesco Cavalli's opera L'Orione in 1998 and Handel's Siroe in 2000. In December 2001, he conducted the contemporary revival of Cimarosa's L'Olimpiade in Venice's Teatro Malibran. Recordings by Marcon and the VBO have received extraordinary praise and many have won special distinction, including the Diapason d'or, the Vivaldi Award of the Cini Foundation, and Germany's Echo Award.

During the 2002-2003 season the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon performed in cities including Rotterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Lisbon, Vienna, Barcelona, Venice, and Tokyo. Engagements for the 2003/04 season include concert performances of Handel's Siroe in Paris, Hamburg, and Metz; tours of the US including Los Angeles (the new Walt Disney Concert Hall), semi-staged performances of Siroe in Berkeley, and fully-staged performances of Handel's opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Andrea Marcon will also be conducting Handel's Ariodante at the Frankfurt Opera.

Speaking about the new recording relationship, Christopher Roberts, President of Deutsche Grammophon and of Universal Classics and Jazz International, said: "Founded more than 50 years ago, Deutsche Grammophon's Archiv label has pioneered the rediscovery and reinterpretation of early music and has always remained at the forefront of this field. Our partnership with the VBO adds a new chapter to that distinguished tradition." Bogdan Rošèiæ, DGG's Vice President of A&R, added: "These wonderful players have revolutionized the way Italian Baroque music is perceived, virtually reinventing a repertoire we all thought we knew only too well. It's a thrill to continue this voyage of discovery with a musician as passionate and adventurous as Andrea Marcon. Our future projects will bring his fresh insight to repertoire both known as well as unjustly neglected."

On signing the contract Andrea Marcon had this to say: "Each field of endeavor tends to have an organization that is recognized as the standard-bearer. It is thrilling for me and my colleagues in the Venice Baroque Orchestra to have been given this opportunity to add to Deutsche Grammophon's exceptional legacy and hopefully to attract new audiences to the exciting and passionate world of Baroque music."

Marcon has also offered some revealing comments about his extraordinarily fresh and open-minded, yet scholarly, performances with the VBO: "For years and years we were supposed to approach early music as if we were working in a hospital, where everything was antiseptic - 'Oh no! That's too loud! That's too much continuo!' Dry, without pathos, without feeling. But if you walk in the streets of Venice, you see that Baroque art was also very extravagant. Without your own emotion, affetto, and understanding, you are far from the real Baroque. Of course, there's not only one valid interpretation: anyone who believes that idea is absolutely wrong. Even after our years of experience in the field, there is still so much to learn!"

Andrea Marcon was born in Treviso and received a diploma in early music from Basle's Schola Cantorum for his organ and harpsichord studies with Jean-Claude Zehnder. Among his other influential teachers are Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, Hans van Nieuwkoop, Jesper Christensen, Harald Vogel, and Ton Koopman. From 1983 to 1997, he was harpsichordist and organist of the Treviso-based early music ensemble Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca. He also founded and directed the International Organ Festival "Città di Treviso," playing a prominent role in the restoration of the city's historic organs. In 1986 he won first prize in the organ competition in Innsbruck, and as a harpsichordist he won first prize in the Bologna competition in 1991. Marcon is currently a professor of harpsichord, organ, and interpretation at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis - and has also been a visiting professor at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.

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