La Cetra Barockorchester was founded in 1999 at the initiative of Dr. Peter Reidemeister, then Director of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and rapidly became recognized internationally as one of the leading ensembles in historically informed performance practice. The name La Cetra is taken from the title of Antonio Vivaldi’s collection of 12 violin concertos op. 9 first published in Amsterdam in 1727. La Cetra refers to the ancient lyre or zither.
Most of the musicians are graduates of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the Swiss elite training centre for early music. The ensemble collaborates with the research department of the Schola Cantorum offering the possibility for musical programming and preparation supported by the most recent musicological findings. The discovery of works of composers such as Brescianello, Venturini or Paisiello have enriched the orchestra’s repertoire. This ranges from the early seventeenth century works of Monteverdi through to symphonies of the classical and early romantic periods.
La Cetra’s Artistic Director since 2009 is Andrea Marcon, internationally known as one of the preeminent conductors of Baroque and early Classical repertoire. He has brought new impulses and a fresh approach to the rich and often rediscovered repertoire of the period. Most recently, for example, Antonio Caldara’s La Concordia de’ pianeti was brought to life for the first time in nearly 300 years and recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon label.
Over the years, La Cetra has worked regularly with a number of well-known guest conductors, among them Jordi Savall, René Jacobs, Attilio Cremonesi or Gustav Leonhard, as well as soloists such as Andreas Scholl, Vivica Genaux, Magdalena Kožená, Patricia Petibon or Giuliano Carmignola, to name a few. The repertoire and the occasion determine the size of the orchestra which can go from a smaller Consort to a full-fledged orchestra with chorus and soloists. The La Cetra Vokalensemble was established in 2012 at the initiative of Andrea Marcon and appears regularly with the orchestra in opera and oratorio, as well as on its own.
La Cetra’s mission is to bring to life the music of the past with a fresh, dynamic and contemporary approach. Resounding public and critical acclaim in the major international festivals, in Europe’s leading concert halls and through a wide range of broadcast and CD productions give testimony to the orchestra’s brilliance.