Musical Director, Instructor for Voice & Harpsichord
Marco Vitale was born in Palermo, Italy. He studied piano, organ, harpsichord and composition at Palermo’s V. Bellini Conservatory, where he completed the piano diploma in 2001 and the organ diploma in 2002 with full marks and “Cum Laude”. His concert life began at age of 15, with performances as a soloist and chamber musician. He took part in many international master-classes where he developed his skills and taste for baroque music. In 2002 he moved to The Netherlands where he studied at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Marco earned a Bachelor’s degree in organ with Jos van der Kooy and a Masters Degree in Early Music (harpsichord) with Ton Koopman.
Marco’s musical career has seen him play in the most prestigious venues and festivals in Europe and the Middle East: The Netherlands (Concertgebouw Amsterdam, De Doelen Rotterdam, Philipszaal Eindhoven, Utrecht Oude Muziek Festival, Teatro Massimo and Teatro Politeama of Palermo, Rome, Milano, Teatro Nuovo in Udine), Austria (Styriarte Festival in Graz), France (Opera de Versailles, Salle Pleyel, Opera de Bordeaux, Arsenal Metz), Spain (Fundación Juan March in Madrid), Germany (Festival Mitte-Europa), Poland (Misteria Paschalia in Kraków, Pieśń Naszych Korzeni in Jarosław), Czech Republic (Festival Mitte-Europa), Hungary (Budapest), Syria (Damascus Opera House and High Institute of Music), as a soloist/continuo player or director of Contrasto Armonico.
Marco is the co-founder and musical director of Contrasto Armonico, a baroque orchestra specializing in the performance of music in the Italian style and baroque operas, using original instruments and historical performance practices. He is currently involved in the recordings of the Complete Italian Cantatas by Handel (Brilliant Classics), a thrilling project that will bring light on many undiscovered jewels of Handel, which are neither edited nor recorded. He appeared in radio and TV broadcasts (often invited to speak about his Handel project) in Netherlands (AVRO), Germany, Austria (ORF), Spain, Poland (Polskie Radio), Italy (RAI), UK (BBC) and Syria (Syrian National Television).
In addition to performing with Contrasto Armonico he also gives master classes on baroque music in France, Germany, Czech Republic and Syria. He is the musical director of the Damascus Baroque Soloists (Syria) and he is regularly invited to perform with “Le Concert des Nations” and “Hesperion XXI” with Jordi Savall. Marco is conductor at the Warsaw Chamber Opera and runs the Arcadia Early Music Academy, which has offered baroque music courses for amateurs in Europe for 12 years.
Instructor for recorders, flutes and other winds
Romeo Ciuffa is from Rome, Italy. He began playing music at eight years of age in a local band, and took his first flugelhorn classes at that time. In 1989 he studied french horn at the Conservatoire of S. Cecilia in Rome, under the supervision of M° Luciano Giuliani. Romeo also studied bass tuba and trombone at the Conservatoire. Here he studied different musical styles, but was most deeply touched and impressed by ancient music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Romeo then studied the recorder at the Conservatoire “O. Respighi” in Latina instructed by M° Paolo Capirci. He has attended master-classes in Italy and abroad with Marion Verrebruggen, Dan Laurin, Kees Boeke and Pedro Memelsdorff. his musical experiences in Italy, Romeo has held concerts in China (Beijing), North Korea (Pyongyang) and Mongolia (Ulan Bator), in Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Holland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Zambia, Syria, Germany, Japan, Finland, Estonia, Hungary, Albania. In 1997 Romeo founded the “Arcangelo Corelli Ensemble” with which he recorded ten CDs of excerpts from Seventeenth and Eighteenth century European music. In the following years he joined several Roman musicians specializing in baroque practice and formed the “Cappella Musicale Enrico Stuart Duke of York” giving Mr. Cuiffa the opportunity to record works by M.A. Charpentier, M.R. Delalande, J.P. Rameau, and J.B. de Boismortier.
In 2006 Romeo obtained his academic degree in Musicology at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” summa cum laude. In 2012 he gave a master-class at the Royal College of Music of London at the department for the historical practice guided by Ashley Solomon. He is now the musical director of “Rassegna Cembalistica”, “I Concerti di Campagna”, “MonteCompatri in Jazz”: all musical events promoted in the “Castelli Romani” zone, near Rome, with musicians from all over the world.
Instructor for strings
Paul Luchkow is a versatile violinist and violist whose activities cover the range of music from the 17th Century to the present day, on modern and period instruments. A regular feature of Western Canada’s Early Music scene, Paul is a long-time member of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and appears frequently in concerts for Early Music Vancouver. At home on Vancouver Island, he performs regularly with Victoria Baroque, Victoria Symphony, the Early Music Society of the Islands, as well as at Victoria’s Pacific Baroque Festival.
A highlight of recent years has been his work with fortepianist Michael Jarvis and their exploration of Classical and Romantic sonata repertoire on period instruments. Their latest
recording – Trios for violin, viola da gamba, and fortepiano by Tommaso Giordani with the British gambist, Sam Stadlen, was released on the Marquis Classics label in the Fall of 2020.
As a recording engineer for 15 years Paul has made concert and CD recordings for many of the important small and medium sized ensembles on Canada’s west coast, including Redshift Music Society (Jordan Nobles 2017 JUNO winning Classical Composition of the Year), Emily Carr String Quartet, Victoria Baroque, the Luchkow-Jarvis Duo, and the Luchkow Stadlen Jarvis Trio. In the past year Paul has been working closely with organizations like Music for the Pause, The Victoria Symphony, and Pacific Opera Victoria, recording for their numerous online offerings.