La Cetra Barockorchester Basel & AVES Ensemble der Schola Cantorum Basiliensis

La Cetra Barockorchester Basel was founded in 1999 at the initiative of Dr. Peter Reidemeister then President of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Today La Cetra is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading period instrument ensembles. The name La Cetra refers to the ancient lyre or zither and is drawn from the title of Antonio Vivaldi’s collection of 12 violin concertos op. 9 first published in Amsterdam in 1727.


While Vivaldi remains a mainstay of La Cetra’s programming, its repertoire extends from the late Renaissance through the Baroque into the early classical periods. La Cetra’s mission is to bring a fresh, dynamic and contemporary approach to the performance of this repertoire matched with a passion for historically informed performance practice, whether on the concert stage or in a musical theatre setting. La Cetra is committed to the rediscovery and performance of forgotten or lesser known works. In January 2014, for example, Antonio Caldara’s Serenade La Concordia de’ pianeti was brought back to life for the first time in nearly 300 years at the Konzerthaus in Dortmund, Germany and in 2018 received it’s Swiss and Dutch premieres. Händel’s Parnasso in festa, was performed at the request of the Händel Festival in Halle, Germany in 2014 and La Cetra gave its Swiss and Dutch premieres in the Fall of 2016. In the Spring of 2020 La Cetra will perform Pietro Torri’s rarely heard La Vanità del Mondo both in Basel and in Amsterdam.


La Cetra Vokalensemble Basel was established in 2012 by Andrea Marcon and Johannes Keller to meet the needs of a number of baroque productions in the Theater Basel as well as for a tour of Händel’s Messiah in Spain. Today the Vokalensemble has taken on a life of its own within La Cetra. Under the direction of Carlos Federico Sepúlveda, its members, like those of the orchestra are for the most part graduates of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, one of the world’s most renown institutions for early music studies and research. The Vokalensemble performs regularly with the orchestra in opera and oratorio while at the same time pursuing its own independent programming.


La Cetra Barockorchester & Vokalensemble Basel as it is known today is one of the few Baroque ensembles worldwide to boast both an orchestra and a vocal ensemble.  


For the 2015/16 season La Cetra presented for the very first time its own concert series at home known as «La Cetra in Basel». Since then Basel has been privileged to hear Vivaldi’s La fida ninfa, Catone in Utica, Juditha Triumphans and L’Olimpiade, Telemann’s Der Tag des Gerichts (The Day of Judgement) under the leadership of Andrea Marcon. For the Advent season La Cetra presents each year in alternation Händel’s Messiah as a sing along or the Vespro di Natale with music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries. Both of these programmes have been performed in major European concert halls and festivals.


In 2003 La Cetra made its debut in the Theater Basel with a production of Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea and since 2008 has been the baroque orchestra in residence with productions such as Monteverdi’s Orfeo (2008), Mozart’s Idomeneo (2013), Charpentier’s Médée (2015), Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans (2015 - Ballett Basel), or Händel’s Alcina (2017) or Henry Purcell’s King Arthur (2018) to name a few.

La Cetra has worked regularly with some of the world’s most well-known conductors, among them Jordi Savall, René Jacobs, Attilio Cremonesi or Gustav Leonhard and with soloists such as Andreas Scholl, Vivica Genaux, Magdalena Kožená, Patricia Petibon, Franco Fagioli, Maurice Steger, Nicola Benedetti or Giuliano Carmignola, to name but a few. The repertoire and the occasion determine the size of the orchestra which can go from a smaller Consort to a full-fledged orchestra with chorus and soloists.


La Cetra boasts a number of recordings on the Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv label the most recent of which - MONTEVERDI - with Magdalena Kožená, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017. The 2014 recording of Antonio Caldara’s La Concordia de’ pianeti received an Edison Award. Händel’s Parnasso in festa was released in the August of 2017 on the Pentatone label. Other recordings can be found on the Harmonia Mundi, Zig Zag Territoires or Glossa labels.


Resounding public and critical acclaim in the major international festivals, in Europe’s leading concert halls and through a wide range of radio and video broadcast and CD productions give testimony to the orchestra’s brilliance. In 2009 La Cetra was recognized with the “European Prize for Early Music”.


Artistic Director of La Cetra since 2009 is the well-known Italian conductor, harpsichordist and organist Andrea Marcon. His profound knowledge of the baroque repertoire and vast experience have helped shape the destiny of both the orchestra and the vocal ensemble.


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Settimane Musicali di Ascona

c/o Organizzazione turistica Lago Maggiore e Valli

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CH 6600 Locarno – Switzerland


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