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), Italy
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
Conor Jacobson was born in Wyoming and raised on a farm. He began studying violin when he was four years old. Soon after, with the support and encouragement of his family, he would make a five hour weekly trip for violin lessons. By the age of thirteen, he had begun performing as a soloist with orchestras and playing in chamber ensembles with professional musicians around the state.
He continued musical studies at Casper College and the University of Arizona before deciding to pursue his interests at the world-renowned early music department of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, The Netherlands.
There he spent the next four years studying with Pavlo Beznosiuk and the diverse historical, technical and philosophical approaches to the music ranging from the early Baroque to the Classical periods with many of the world's leading specialists in this field. He participated in lectures, masterclasses and coaching with artists such as Sigiswald Kuijken, Ton Koopman, Enrico Gatti, Elizabeth Wallfisch, Jap ter Linden and Sebastian Marq. During this time he performed extensively in the Netherlands playing in notable venues such as The Concertgebouw and the Utrecht Early Music Festival as well as numerous concerts in Europe and Chile. He was involved in recordings and many concerts with Contrasto Armonico led by Marco Vitale and has also played under the baton of Barthold Kuijken, Jaap ter Linden, Patrick Ayrton and Peter Van Heyghen.