Egida Sartori and Laura Alvini Early Music Seminars Viola bastarda and the Art of Italian-Style Diminution (1580-1630)

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
plus Nov, 0206 2022

Viola bastarda and the Art of Italian-Style Diminution (1580-1630)

Director: Pedro Memelsdorff



2-6 November 2022, Fondazione Giorgio Cini

To participate as auditors, please contact the secretariat at:


Concluding Concert

Saturday 5 November, 5.30 p.m., “Lo Squero” Auditorium

Admission free subject to availability



In Italian treatises or music collections of the late 16th and early 17th century, the term alla bastarda generally refers to a particular technique of ornamenting (or diminishing) vocal compositions with rapid virtuosic passages over a large range, performed on instruments such as the organ, harp, lute or viola. Viola bastarda, on the other hand, denoted – or appears to have denoted – a type of viola da gamba particularly well-suited, by tuning or constitution, to the performance of these diminutions. Considering the importance attached to this technique by numerous historic composers – such as Girolamo Dalla Casa, Giovanni Bassano, Riccardo and Francesco Rognoni, Orazio and Francesco Maria Bassani and Vincenzo Bonizzi –both the relative scarcity of surviving compositions and the rarity of modern historiographic writings on the subject are surprising.


This particular edition of the Egida Sartori and Laura Alvini Early Music Seminars sees M. Paolo Pandolfo, a well-known specialist and teacher at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, conducting a group of five violists accompanied by harpsichord, and selected through an international call for scholarships, in the exploration of this repertoire.



There will also be a public concert (free admission but booking required) at the Squero Auditorium on Saturday, 5 November, at 5.30 p.m

The seminar participants conducted by Paolo Pandolfo perform at the final concert.



Rosamund Ender, viola da gamba

Thomas Fields, viola da gamba

Stephen Moran, viola da gamba

Vanessa Hunt Russell, viola da gamba

Gaetano Simone, viola da gamba


Nicola Lamon, harpsichord