Leonardo Garcìa- Alarcòn Clavecin Orgue et direction
Leonardo Garcia Alarcón was born in La Plata, Argentina, in 1976. He started learning the piano with Leticia Corral, and gave a number of concerts, at the age of six. At fifteen he joined the Toccata Instrumentale ensemble, playing on period instruments. This allowed him to gain experience with basso continuo technique, and to work seriously on the harpsichord and organ. Meanwhile, he continued to study the piano with Susana Romé, and began training as a conductor at La Plata National University.
In 1997, Leonardo began studying with the Swiss harpsichordist Christiane Jaccottet at the Geneva Conservatory. At the same time, he completed his theory training at the CMA (Centre for Ancient Music) in Geneva.
Leonardo Garcia Alarcón is a member of the Elyma Ensemble and assistant to their conductor Gabriel Garrido. He has toured many times and made a number of recordings of Latin-American baroque music and 17th century Italian opera. He has played in major venues such as the Lyon Opera, Vienna Konzerthaus, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, and at famous festivals including Chaise-Dieu, the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, and the Beaune and Ambronay festivals in France.
In 1999, he founded and directed the Cappella Mediterranea ensemble in Geneva, a group specialising in Spanish and Latin-American baroque music. He has taken the ensemble to a number of major period music festivals. He also recorded his first CD as conductor with them in December 2003: “Andalusian Music in Mexico in the 17th century”.
In June 2000, Leonardo Garcia was made Organist of the Anières-Vésenaz temple in Geneva. He regularly plays chamber music with Christophe Coin, Maurice Bourgue, Sergio Azzolini and Manfredo Kraemer. He has worked closely with the viol player Andrea De Carlo: together they have played numerous concerts and made a recording of Marin Marais’ “Pièces de Viole” in March 2004.
In 2003, studying under Alfonso Fedi at the Geneva Conservatory, Leonardo Garcia obtained the “Maestro al Cembalo” award with a commendation from the jury, as well as the “Henry Briollet” prize.
In 2004 he was appointed professor of the “Maestro al Cembalo” class and made head of professional classes in baroque song at the Higher Music School at the Geneva Conservatory.
Since 2003, he has taught basso continuo on the courses associated with the Ambronay festival. In 2005 he was made Artistic Director of the Nouvelle Ménestrandie ensemble, dedicated to instrumental music of the 18th century.
In Geneva, 2005, Leonardo Garcia discovered manuscripts by Niccolò Piccinni which contained concert arias hitherto attributed to the young Mozart.
In August 2004, he conducted Rameau’s opera “Les Fêtes de Ramire”, and Scarlatti’s farsetta “La Dirindina” in Geneva. In February 2005 he conducted the world première of “Offertorio” by Giovanni de Giorgis, and Monteverdi’s “La Selva Morale” at Porrentruy, Switzerland. Then with the Clematis Ensemble — which, with Stéphanie de Failly, he runs — he gave the first modern-day performance of Giuseppe Zamponi’s 1651 opera “Ulisse Nell’Isola di Circe” at the Printemps Baroque des Sablons festival in Brussels in 2006.
There followed a concert series entitled “Mozart and Italy” at the Museum of Art and History in Geneva, in which he presented his musicological research on unpublished manuscripts held at the Geneva Conservatory Library. On 9th December 2006, Leonardo Garcia gave the world premiere in Geneva of the first unpublished work by Chopin, “Valse de l’Adieu”, and three previously unknown cadences by Mozart.
In the autumn of 2007 he is to be invited back to the Ambronay festival to conduct and record two programmes, one with Peter Phillips, founder of the Tallis Scholars and one featuring J.S.Bach’s “English Suites” on the harpsichord.
In April 2008, Leonardo Garcia Alarcón will be appearing at the Musikverein as guest of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, playing the solo harpsichord part in J.S.Bach’s Brandenburg concerti.
Leonardo Garcia’s passion for the voice has always guided his artistic and musicological research. He has recently been exploring the “aesthetic ideals” of great musicians from Southern Europe and Latin America, with the aim of identifying and codifying elements of the baroque which are still present in the music of these parts of the world today.