After studying guitar in her home city of Graz, Christina Pluhar graduated in lute with Toyohiko Sato at the Hague Conservatoire. She was awarded with the 'Diplôme Supérieur de Perfectionnement' at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hopkinson Smith. Then she studied with Mara Galassi at the Scu
After studying guitar in her home city of Graz, Christina Pluhar graduated in lute with Toyohiko Sato at the Hague Conservatoire. She was awarded with the 'Diplôme Supérieur de Perfectionnement' at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hopkinson Smith. Then she studied with Mara Galassi at the Scuola Civica di Milano.
In 1992 she won the 1st Prize in the International Old Music Competition of Malmö with the ensemble La Fenice.
She has lived in Paris since 1992, where she performs as a soloist and continuo player in prestigious festivals with famous groups such as La Fenice, Concerto Soave, Accordone, Elyma, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Ricercar, Akademia, La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy, Concerto Köln, and in ensembles directed by René Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Alessandro di Marchi. Her repertoire includes solo and continuo works from the 16th to 18th centuries for Renaissance lute, Baroque guitar, archlute, theorbo and Baroque harp.
Since 1993 she has given master classes at Graz University, as well as providing baroque harp classes at the Conservatoire of The Hague from 1999.
In 2000 she founded the Arpeggiata ensemble. For ten years Christina and her Ensemble have been recording albums as Teatro d’amore and Music for a While and playing all over Europe.
She devotes a lot of time to the Ensemble L’Arpeggiata, as she is not only conductor and musician on stage, but she builds the programs herself, and spends a lot of time doing research and the necessary preliminary work for L’Arpeggiata’s concerts and CDs.
Based in Paris, the group’s particular focus is on Italian music of the 17th century. Its performances are marked by daring instrumental improvisations, exploiting rich textures created by the blending a variety of plucked instruments, and a vocal style strongly influenced by traditional music. L'Arpeggiata’s philosophy is to bring together artists from diverse musical backgrounds around projects devised by Christina Pluhar according to careful musicological research – and an open spirit. The distinct sound and style of the ensemble, formed around a rich core of plucked stringed instruments, is instantly recognisable. Its members, all leading European soloists, join forces with exceptional singers from the worlds of both Baroque and traditional music.
L’Arpeggiata explores meeting points between music, song and other Baroque disciplines like dance and theatre, opening them up to other diverse musical genres including jazz and traditional folk music.
L’Arpeggiata collaborates regularly with top soloists, not only from the world of historically-informed Baroque (Philippe Jaroussky, Véronique Gens, Valer Barna-Sabadus, Nuria Rial, Céline Scheen, Mariana Flores, Luciana Mancini, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Cyril Auvity, Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro, João Fernandes…) but also from the traditional and folk music scene (Lucilla Galeazzi, Aiketerina Papadopoulou, Vincenzo Capezzuto, Ensemble ‘Barbara Furtuna’, Mísia…), jazz or flamenco (Gianluigi Trovesi, Pepe Habichuela, Wolfgang Muthspiel). For more than a decade, the group has performed at the most prestigious festivals and theatres of Europe (The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, Tonhalle Zürich, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Festival de Saint-Denis, Festival de Sablé sur Sarthe, the Utrecht Festival, Festival d’Ambronay, Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, Ruhrtriennale, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Opéra de Bordeaux, Philharmonie Köln, Thèâtre des Champs Elysees Paris, Versailles, Philharmonie Luxembourg…) and further abroad (Carnegie Hall New York, Sydney City Recital Hall, Brisbane Festival, Festival International Cervantino de Guanajuato, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Karura Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles…). L’Arpeggiata was ensemble-in-residence in 2006 at the Festival Oude Muziek in Utrecht, in 2010 for the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, 2012 at Carnegie Hall New York, 2013 and 2014 at Wigmore Hall in London, in 2014 with the Teatro Mayor in Bogotà, Colombia, and in 2015 in Dresden.
In June 2011, l’Arpeggiata staged a little-known opera by Giovanni Andrea Bontempi, Il Paride (1662) at the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, in Christoph von Bernuth’s production. The work was presented again in August 2012 at the Innsbruck Early Music Festival.
The French film Tous les Soleils, released in March 2011 and directed by Philippe Claudel, was inspired by the music from their album La Tarantella.
L’Arpeggiata’s discography is unanimously praised by the public and critics alike. The ensemble records a new album each year, for which it garners some of the record industry’s most prestigious prizes. Winners of Germany’s Echo Klassik awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the 2009 Edison Prize in Holland, l’Arpeggiata has a rich discography, particularly with its current label Erto (Teatro d’Amore, Via Crucis, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Los Pájaros perdidos, Mediterraneo, Music for a while), claiming 10 Classica awards, the Cannes Classical Awards, BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month, the Prix Exellentia Pizzicato, ffff Télérama, Coup de cœur Musique baroque de l’Académie Charles Cros…
In 2013, the album Mediterraneo, devoted to traditional music from the Mediterranean Basin, was recorded with Portuguese fado star Mísia. It was followed in 2014 by Music for a while – Improvisations on Purcell, featuring a frequent collaborator, the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky.
The eclectic programmes of l’Arpeggiata are invitations to dream, reviving original Baroque practices in surprising, unexpected ways; a pearl that astonishes with its unusual shape. The Baroque repertoire offers l’Arpeggiata a degree of freedom in which this very international group of artists can truly flourish, mixing genres and traditions to create a unique experience.
Céline Scheen, Philippe Jaroussky, L’Arpeggiata
Vallée de l'Alzou, France