La Nuova MusicaBiography

“La Nuova Musica… as lively a collection of instrumentalists and singers as the world offers” The Times, March 2012

La Nuova Musica is a vocal and instrumental ensemble dedicated to reinvigorating the music of the European Renaissance and Baroque. In less than seven years since its foundation by director David Bates, it has shot to prominence in the UK and abroad, described by BBC Radio 3 as “one of the most exciting consorts in the Early Music field” and receiving the classical category nomination at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts/The Times Breakthrough Awards. La Nuova Musica has appeared at venues including Kings Place, Wigmore Hall, St John’s, Smith Square, and at the Aldeburgh, Spitalfields and London Handel festivals, where it enjoys strong creative relationships and fast-developing audiences. In 2011, La Nuova Musica signed a five-record deal with harmonia mundi USA. The first recording, of Handel’s Il Pastor Fido, was released in March 2012 and instantly applauded by The Times for its “untrammelled gusto”. The second, of settings of Dixit Dominus by Handel and Vivaldi, was released in April 2013. Forthcoming releases include music by Charpentier and Carissimi, and a collaboration with the countertenor Lawrence Zazzo.

Taking its name and inspiration from Giulio Caccini’s 1602 treatise on the revolutionary Baroque vocal style, La Nuova Musica quests for vividness and ardour in performance. Writing of 2009′s concert of Handel Acis and Galatea at the London Handel Festival, The Times said: “[Bates] breathed life, meaning and shape into every phrase. His speeds were properly brisk and his little band responded with playing of robust vigour.” 2011′s performances of Messiah at St George’s, Bristol and the Spitalfields Winter Festival were singled out for especial acclaim. The Guardian reported that “the small[-scale performance] was not just beautiful but absolutely compelling”; The Times declared the music-making to be “of an undogmatic, long-pondered intelligence, generously yet undistractingly ornamented, and with the small band minutely sensitive to its interplay with the human voice.” David Bates’ commitment to performers of the younger generation and his enthusiasm for their creative input further define La Nuova Musica’s presence. Audiences are drawn to the artists’ ebullience; critics praise the nurture of new names and faces. To the Dutch newspaper Trouw, reviewing Il Pastor Fido, La Nuova Musica was a revelation: “the singing is at an extremely high level – and the names are all new!”

In 2011-12 La Nuova Musica scored a critical hit with an audacious new staging of two Baroque oratorios – SACRIFICES – in a co-production with Vignette Productions for the Spitalfields Festival (Evening Standard: “A tiny band of musicians, directed by David Bates, provided subtle orchestral colour of often heart-breaking poignancy”) and performed Handel Acis and Galatea at the Northern Aldborough Festival and Monteverdi L’Orfeo at Kings Place (The Times: “enough gusto to start a large fire.”). The programme has been recorded by harmonia mundi for future release.

In 2012-13 La Nuova Musica created a new programme of music entitled LOVE’S EXCHANGE featuring actor Jamie Parker (The History Boys, Henry V) for St John’s, Smith Square, returned to St George’s Bristol with Handel Acis and Galatea and Bach St John Passion, joined forces with counter-tenors Robin Blaze for Bach cantatas as part of BACH UNWRAPPED at Kings Place and Lawrence Zazzo in music by Handel, Bononcini and Ariosti, and embarked on new relationships with the Musique Cordiale festival in Seillans, France, where they perform music by Blow, Bach and Handel, and Wigmore Hall, London, where they give the modern-day premiere of Conti’s turbulent opera L’Issipile  in January 2014.

©La Nuova Musica, January 2014

David Bates, directorBiography

“Thanks to the inspired direction of David Bates, this was to be music-making of an undogmatic, long-pondered intelligence, generously yet undistractingly ornamented, and with the small band minutely sensitive to its interplay with the human voice.” The Times, December 2011

The success of La Nuova Musica has marked out David Bates as one of Europe’s most exciting and creative directors of Renaissance and Baroque music and as a figurehead for a new performing generation. In just seven years he has established his ensemble in the UK with appearances at Wigmore Hall, St John’s, Smith Square, Kings Place, and at the London Handel, Spitalfields and Aldeburgh International festivals, and achieved international recognition and outreach through a five-record deal with the harmonia mundi USA label.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and of the Schola Cantorum in Basel, David Bates initially embarked on a professional singing career. He appeared at Glyndebourne Opera and English National Opera and performed as a soloist for Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Mark Minkowski, Andrea Marcon and Nicholas McGegan. In 2007, inspired by his many experiences and driven by a desire to articulate his own musical vision, he founded La Nuova Musica. The group aims to reinvigorate Renaissance and Baroque repertoire with a new communicative spirit, to bring a new generation of talented artists to the fore, and to introduce audiences in the UK and Europe to forgotten and neglected treasures.

Praise for David Bates’ artistic vision and direction has been unanimous. He has been hailed as “energetic yet sensitive” (Music International), “effusive in gesture” (The Times) and as a “brilliant young music master” (Eastern Daily Press), and described as “breathing life, meaning and shape into every phrase” (The Times). In March 2012, La Nuova Musica released its debut recording with harmonia mundi USA, a world premiere on CD of the 1712 version of Handel’s Il Pastor Fido. Opera magazine proclaimed the arrival of “an exceptionally talented young British ensemble”; The Times declared the group to be “as lively a collection of instrumentalists and singers as the world offers”. La Nuova Musica’s second release, a coupling of Dixit Dominus settings by Handel and Vivaldi, appears in April 2013.

In 2012-13, David Bates will embark on a range of exciting new projects and collaborations with La Nuova Musica including a new ensemble residency at the Musique Cordiale festival in Seillans, France, a new recording project for harmonia mundi USA with countertenor Lawrence Zazzo and a modern-day premiere of Conti’s opera L’Issipile at Wigmore Hall, London. In addition, David Bates will assist Emmanuelle  Haïm in the Opéra de Paris production of Handel Giulio Cesare, Christian Curnyn at Iford Arts/Handel Acis & Galatea and direct Cavalli La Calisto for Cincinnati Opera and Cesti Orontea for the Innsbrucker Festwochen.

©La Nuova Musica, March 2013