San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

Simone Vallerotonda – Méditation – Les quatre saisons du luth – Sunday, May 21 at 4 pm

Simone Vallerotonda, baroque lute

Méditation – Les quatre saisons du luth

works by Charles Mouton, Robert de Visée, Jacques Gallot, Pierre Dubut le fils & le pére, Germain Pinel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Valentin Strobel

“Of all the available music for the lute I have always considered that of the French 17th-century lutenists to be unique, different from all the others. With its implications of an unwritten rhythm, its inégalité, and its refined vocabulary of ornamentation, it holds an intimate appeal; and the process of reassembling the préludes non mesurés places the performer in a direct dialogue with the composer, erasing the barriers of the centuries that separate them. Its élite character transpires in pieces often made up of very few notes, in which the relations between the sounds are elevated to a metaphysical plane, though once the mystery has been removed, one there discovers the full “sentiment” of modern man. The sensation is that of being suspended, clinging to clouds of sound that dissolve as soon as they are created. They are dialogues and monologues in sound; they are written meditations using notes instead of words, on life in all its many facets: the beauty of a woman; the mutable variety of man’s states of mind, from melancholy to pride or sweetness; or the reflection on death expressed in a tombeau, that most intimate and profound form invented precisely by this exclusive circle of lutenists. This music, seemingly shaped by the innumerable intimations of the unspoken and the imagined, forces the player to look both in the mirror and outside his- or herself, and to ‘speak’.” – Simone Vallerotonda

This performance is supported by the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco and CIDIM (Comitato Nazionale Italiano Musica).

Born in Rome in 1983, he started studying the classical guitar. At age 18, deeply in love with early music, he bought a lute without any idea on how to play it. Then he had lute tuition from Andrea Damiani at the “Santa Cecilia” Conservatory in Rome, where he graduated with the highest marks. He subsequently obtained a Master’s Degree in theorbo and Baroque Guitar at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen (Germany) under the guidance of Rolf Lislevand, also with the highest marks. Once again with full honours, he graduated in Philosophy at the Tor Vergata University of Rome, submitting a PhD dissertation about the relationships between 18th-century music and the French Philosophes. In 2011, he ranked first in the soloists’ class of the International Lute Competition Maurizio Pratola, also obtaining the highest prize in the chamber music section from REMA (Réseau Européen de Musique Ancienne).

He appeared at outstanding theatres and concert venues in the USA, Australia, South America, Far East, and Europe, such as: New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Conservatorium, Teatro de la Ciudad in Mexico City, Teatro Municipal in Santiago de Chile, the Singapore Lyric Opera, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, Theater an der Wien, Theatre de Champs Élysées in Paris, Oporto’s Casa da Música, the Liszt Academy of Budapest, Berliner Philharmonie, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He has recorded for major radio and television broadcasters such as RAI, ABC, BBC, Mezzo, France Musique, Radio4, Art, Polskie Radio, Kulturradio, RSI, Radio Classica, Vatican Radio, as well as for the labels Naïve, Sony, Erato, EMI, Decca, Amadeus, Brilliant, Aparté, E Lucevan Le Stelle Records, Arcana/Outhere Music.

In addition to his soloist’s activity, he takes part as a continuo player in various ensembles including: Modo Antiquo, Rinaldo Alessandrini & Concerto Italiano, Imaginarium Ensemble, Cantar Lontano, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Ottavio Dantone & Accademia Bizantina. Open to experimentation and contamination, he has played with Vinicio Capossela… but that’s another good story!

He is professor of Lute at the Conservatory “A. Pedrollo” in Vicenza. In 2014 he founded I Bassifondi, his own proprietary ensemble offering a 17th-18th century repertoire for guitar, theorbo and lute with continuo. The concert and recording activity of Simone Vallerotonda and his ensemble I Bassifondi is supported by CIDIM – Comitato Nazionale Italiano Musica.

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