Piccola Accademia di Montisi
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In recent years, popular access to original instruments has diminished, with many institutions regarding their collections as historical artefacts to be seen and not heard. The Piccola Accademia is addressing this problem by creating a collection of antique and replica harpsichords. This approach aims to guarantee the veracity of the original musical compositions for future generations by ensuring that they are performed upon historically authentic instruments. The ultimate aim is to promote the harpsichord as a vibrant, living medium.
The Piccola Accademia describes itself as "committed to providing access to exceptional instruments, teaching and recording facilities to the musical community, as well more broadly raising the profile of quality historic performance and appreciation of the harpsichord through regular performances, festivals, community events and communications".
The Piccola Accademia plays an active role in promoting the harpsichord to modern performers and audiences. This is achieved through the annual Montisi festival and also by educative master classes given by experts. Regular concerts are held in the stunning churches and monasteries within Montisi and the surrounding area. Held in Montisi, the Accademia's annual festival presents instrumental and vocal ensembles which showcase composers informed by the harpsichord. Artists range from rising stars of the genre to distinguished exponents of historic performance such as Alan Curtis, noted American harpsichordist, musicologist, and conductor of baroque opera. The 2007 Montisi festival marked the 250th anniversary of Domenico Scarlatti’s death with performances by Gustav Leonhardt, Mahan Esfahani, Capriccio Stravagante and others. The Piccola Accademia plans to visit London in November 2008, participating in the London Bach Society’s ‘Bachfest’ programme. Performers will include Laurence Cummings and Warwick Thompson. The 2008 Montisi festival featured performances by Bob van Asperen, Francesco Cera and ensemble, Mahan Esfahani, and Pieter Wispelwey, while the 2009 festival featured performances by Pierre Hantai, Gustav Leonhardt, and Mahan Esfahani.