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The Intrepid Academy takes its name from the group of singers and instrumentalists directed by Claudio Monteverdi, L’Accademia Degl’Intrepidi. This was one in a long line of such academies which flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many with fanciful names, and all of them at the cutting edge of the music, poetry and thought of their time. In The Intrepid Academy we aim for performances with a strong musicological base, but engagingly presented, and always treating the music as though it is brand new. The group varies in size and composition according to the repertoire (from the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries) and the location. We hope to share with you our own excitement at uncovering the riches of music and poetry in tonight’s concert.

About the programme 'Alla Venexiana':

In 1497, the court at Ferrara was entertained for the first time by a trio of viols, played by Agostino, Andrea, and Zanpaolo dalla Viola, the earliest record of what would become one of the most important instrumental ensembles of the renaissance – the viol consort. The instruments played by Agostino and his consort would almost certainly have come from Venice, where, by the 1550s, instrument makers were building viols and lutes on an industrial scale, and shipping them all over the known world. Meanwhile, in England, the Bassano family (descendents of wind players brought from Venice to be musicians at the court of Henry VIII) were exporting recorders back to their home city. The republic was also the centre of music printing, and the products of the Petrucci, Scotto, and Gardano presses also travelled in the holds of Venetian ships, which were being produced at the rate of one a day.

Our programme celebrates La Serenissima, through her instrument makers and players, composers and publishers. Playing copies of Venetian viols and recorders, with singer Jennie Cassidy, and readings taken from contemporary accounts, we paint a picture of the vivid and colourful world of the renaissance as seen from its centre – Venice!