Concerto di Viole

Carinthian-born organist Johannes Strobl studied at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, from where he graduated with diplomas in teaching, concert performance and church music in the class of Heribert Metzger. This was followed by comprehensive studies in Early Music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Jean-Claude Zehnder (organ), Jörg-Andreas Bötticher (harpsichord), Jesper Christensen (basso continuo) and Rudolf Lutz (improvisation).

Johannes Strobl was a prize winner at the Paul Hofhaimer Competition in Innsbruck in 1998. He has appeared as a soloist and ensemble musician on concert stages throughout Europe, Israel, Japan, the United States, Brazil and Argentina.

In 2001 Johannes Strobl was named the Director of Music of the parish of Muri in the Swiss canton of Aargau, where he oversees the historical organs of the former Benedictine monastery. He is the artistic director of the well-regarded Music at Muri Abbey concert series, and his work there has been documented with many recordings. Strobl also teaches improvisation, organ, continuo and performance practice at the Lucerne School of Music.

Matthias Spaeter, b. 1957 in Geneva, received his first guitar lessons at the age of six. He enrolled at the Conservatoires de Musique in Geneva and Fribourg, where he completed his studies in 1977. Since then, he has taught amateur and professional students at the conservatory in Fribourg.

Spaeter is particularly interested in the instruments of the lute family. His repertoire as a lutenist and guitarist ranges from the Renaissance to contemporary music. In his international concert activity as a lutenist, Spaeter has collaborated with well-known conductors and ensembles. He also appears regularly in opera and oratorio productions, as a chamber musician and on recordings.

Since its founding in 1989, the Basel based ensemble Concerto di Viole has performed as a permanent ensemble. Its members, Brian Franklin, Brigitte Gasser, Rebeka Rusó and Arno Jochem all studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, even though not at the same time. The ensemble members pursue their own artistic and pedagogic projects and also bring substantial musical experience from other ensembles.

The four musicians of Concerto di Viole are passionate consort players with a particular interest in the rich and varied viol consort repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries as well as contemporary works for viol ensemble.

Fascinated by the possibilities of performing contemporary music on historical instruments, Concerto di Viole began to focus on the contemporary repertoire early on and participated in performances and premieres of works by Rudolf Kelterborn, Regina Irman, Lukas Langlotz and Dieter Krickeberg. Krickeberg awakened the ensemble’s interest in micro-tonality and dedicated a Fantasy in quarter-tone system (1995) as well as a Double Trio (2004, premiered at MaerzMusik Berlin) to Concerto di Viole.

In 1997 Concerto di Viole premiered Regina Irman’s Sculptures, a quartet for four quarter-tone viols commissioned by Neues Forum für Alte Musik in Zurich. In 2005 the ensemble participated in the premiere of Irman’s opera Poem ohne Held (Poem without a Hero), and in 2012 the ensemble performed the premiere of Lukas Langlotz’ Cinq Impromptus, commissioned by the Schaffhausen Bach Festival.

Concerto di Viole performs frequently with vocalists including Andreas Scholl, Emma Kirkby, Kai Wessel, Monika Mauch and Franz Vitzthum. The ensemble collaborated with Andreas Scholl on two recordings for Harmonia Mundi, German Baroque Cantatas (1998) and Crystal Tears: John Dowland and His Contemporaries (2008).

Concerto di Viole regularly appears with thematic programmes at music festivals and in concert series including Freunde Alter Musik Basel, Bach Festival Schaffhausen, at Wigmore Hall, KKL Lucerne, Trigonale Festival of Early Music, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Rheingau Music Festival, Innsbrucker Abendmusik and Musicales du Trophée à la Turbie.

With this recording of works by Richard Mico, Concerto di Viole presents the highly diverse music of a distinguished composer that deserves to be appreciated more widely.