Violinist and conductor Riccardo Minasi has been a key figure in Italy's historical performance scene, having founded the influential groups Il Pomo d'Oro and Musica Antiqua Roma. He has also conducted modern-instrument groups and is an important educator.
Minasi was born in Rome in 1978. At first, he studied modern violin with Paolo Centurioni and Alfredo Fiorentini, then switched to the Baroque instrument, for which his teachers were Enrico Parizzi and Luigi Mangiocavallo. Minasi made his name in the early music field as a violinist, performing with an impressive variety of ensembles in both Europe and North America. The former group includes Le Concert de Nations (directed by Jordi Savall), the Accademia Bizantina, and Al Ayre Español. Minasi's connections with North American artists and groups developed from invitations extended by conductor Kent Nagano; they include collaborations with such diverse performers as the early music group Ensemble 415, singer Joyce DiDonato (on the album Stella di Napoli), and the sister duo pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque.
After he founded the chamber ensemble Musica Antiqua Roma in 2007, Minasi became more interested in conducting. That group specialized in Roman music of the 17th and 18th centuries, but gradually Minasi's musical interests broadened. He is familiar with and has written academically about music from the Renaissance to the present day. His broad knowledge led to his appointment as a historical consultant to Nagano's Montreal Symphony in 2009. He issued a critical edition of Bellini's opera Norma and has performed in several innovative productions of that opera. Minasi co-founded the early music group Il Pomo d'Oro in 2012 and remained its director until 2015, assuming the direction of the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, Austria, in 2017. Minasi has also served as artist in residence with Ensemble Resonanz at the Elbphilharmonie Hall in Hamburg, Germany.
Minasi has a large discography as both violinist and conductor. He has recorded difficult virtuoso Baroque violin repertory by the likes of Veracini for the Naïve label and has conducted several operas on Erato. In 2020, he led Ensemble Resonanz in a recording of Mozart's Symphonies Nos. 39, 40, and 41 for the Harmonia Mundi label.
© James Manheim /TiVo