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Jordi Savall (b1941)

Having undertaken his initial training on the cello at the conservatory of his home town Barcelona, Jordi Savall’s early interest in the viola da gamba then took him to the Schola Cantorum in Basle to study this instrument with August Wenzinger, whom he subsequently succeeded. Savall began to build a reputation as one of the key musicians in the revival of early music almost immediately. Hespèrion XX, which he founded with his late wife, the soprano Montserrat Figueras (the ensemble renamed itself Hespèrion XXI in 2000 as an acknowledgement of the new millennium), has a solid reputation for scholarship permeating its practical activities, performing in a way that integrates widespread use of improvisatory techniques, especially in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish music and troubadour music of the thirteenth century. In 1987 Savall returned to Barcelona, forming La Capella Reial de Catalunya, a vocal group with whom he recorded a variety of music by composers such as Victoria, Guerrero, and Monteverdi. Two years later he formed Le Concert des Nations, a period instrument orchestra with whom he explored music up to and including the classical era. Many of its players are of what Savall describes as an individualistic ‘Mediterranean temperament’, so that they all play like soloists within the ensemble. Savall’s record company Alia Vox was started in order to produce recordings by these three ensembles, and indeed to maintain total control over the process of committing their performances to disc.




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