Baroque and flamenco music from Spain and the colonial Americas

Thursday 19 April 2018,
Room 1
Tickets £12
Members/Concessions £8

Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181
Ticket Desk in Great Court

The festival is organised by the British Museum and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and made possible by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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Accademia del Piacere under Fahmi Alquai and flamenco singer Arcángel present Baroque music of the Spanish colonial era in dialogue with the thrilling traditions of flamenco.

Their programme of ‘Mestizo music’ celebrates the meetings of European, Amerindian and African musical ideas and traditions, giving birth to a brand new music style.

Accademia del Piacere
Fahmi Alqhai viola da gamba and director
Arcángel flamenco chant

Accademia del Piacere is a group at the vanguard of Spanish early music and one of the leading ensembles of this kind in Europe. Founded by viola da gamba player Fahmi Alqhai and soprano Mariví Blasco in 2002, they have played on the most prestigious classical music stages in Europe and the world, from Berlin and Vienna to Madrid, Lisbon and Mexico. Their CDs have revealed new facets in classical music, from 17th-century Italy to improvisation in Spain in the 1600s, and French chamber music in the court of Louis XIV. Their recording Las idas y las vueltas: Músicas Mestizas (Comings and goings: Mestizo music), an incursion into the world of flamenco and its relationship with Baroque music, was a collaboration with flamenco vocalist Arcángel. In 2016 Accademia won the GEMA Award (Spain) for the Best Baroque Ensemble.

Born in Seville, Spain, in 1976 to a Syrian father and Palestinian mother, Fahmi Alqhai is one of the most brilliant and prestigious players of the viola da gamba in the world today. He is one of the most recognised interpreters of early music. While studying in Seville and Switzerland with Ventura Rico and Vittorio Ghielmi, he was invited to work with the internationally renowned early music ensembles Hesperion XXI (Jordi Savall) and Il Suonar Parlante (Vittorio Ghielmi), and later with the National Orchestra of Spain, Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne (Michael Corboz), Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, and Al Ayre Español. He began his career as a soloist specialising in the German repertoire for viola da gamba, recording the Bach sonatas in 2004. He founded Accademia del Piacere with soprano Mariví Blasco in 2002. In 2012 he won the Giraldillo prize awarded to Best Music at the 2012 Sevilla Flamenco Biennale, for his CD Las idas y las vueltas, together with flamenco vocalist Arcángel. In 2016 he won the Giraldillo prize for Innovation for Diálogos, with Rocío Márquez. In 2014 Gramophone called his first CD for solo viol, A piacere, 'extraordinary... he brings the instrument into a new realm of joyful potential.' He has recorded for Alia Vox, Glossa, Winter&Winter, Tactus, Arsis and Enchiriadis, as well as for television and radio in Europe, Asia and America. Since 2009, he has been artistic director of the Early Music Festival of Seville (FeMAS).

Award-winning flamenco singer Arcángel was born in Huelva in 1977. At the age of ten he won first prize at La Peña La Orden in the Fandangos de Huelva children’s contest, an award which he won a further two times. The following year, he joined the Niño de Pura and José Joaquín Company. From then on, he worked as an accompanying cantaor for artists like Jesús Cayuela and José Roca, Mario Maya, and Manuel Soler. He released his first solo album Arcángel in 2001, which won the 2002 Andalusia Youth Prize, the National Active Flamenco Prize of Úbeda, the Giraldillo prize for best cante performer at the 2002 Biennale and the ‘Venencia Flamenca’ at the Mistela Flamenco Festival. He experiments with other genres, collaborating with contemporary composer Mauricio Sotelo on Cantes Antiguos and Sonetos del amor oscuro, and with Fahmi Alqhai and Accademia del Piacere on Las idas y las vueltas.

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