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Jordi Savall

Background information
Birth name Jordi Savall i Bernadet
Born 1941
Igualada, Catalonia, Spain
Genres Classical
Occupations Violist
Instruments Viola da Gamba

Jordi Savall i Bernadet (born 1941, in Igualada, Catalonia, Spain) is a Spanish-Catalan viol player, conductor, and composer. He has been one of the major figures in the field of early music since the 1970s, largely responsible for bringing the viol (viola da gamba) back to life on the stage. His repertory ranges from Medieval to Renaissance and Baroque music.


Musical education

Savall's musical training started at age 6 in the school choir of his native town (1947-55). He later completed his training at the Barcelona Conservatory of Music (1959-65). Afterward, he began his specialisation in early music collaborating with Ars Musicae and studying under August Wenzinger at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland (1968-70). In 1974 he succeeded Wenzinger as professor of viola da gamba at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.


In 1974 he formed the ensemble Hespèrion XX (known since 2000 as Hespèrion XXI), together with the soprano Montserrat Figueras (his wife), Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith. Hespèrion XX favored a style of interpretation characterised by great musical vitality and at the same time, maximum historical accuracy.

Jordi Savall with viol

In 1987 he returned to Barcelona to found La Capella Reial de Catalunya, a vocal ensemble devoted to the interpretation of music prior to the 18th century.

Finally, in 1989 Savall created Le Concert des Nations, an orchestra that is generally dedicated to the baroque repertoire, but which sometimes also serves as an outlet for music that hails from the classical/romantic repertoire (e.g. Sinfonía Grande Orquesta by Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga).

More recently, Savall has performed with his family. The Savall family ensemble includes Jordi Savall's wife, Montserrat Figueras, and their two children, Arianna and Ferran. Arianna Savall plays the harp and sings, like her mother. Ferran Savall plays the theorbo (bass lute) and sings (not only with his family but also in jazz clubs in Barcelona).[1]

Savall's discography includes more than 100 recordings. Since 1998 he has released his records under his own label, Alia Vox.[2]

Honors and awards

On 2000 he was awarded the Premi d'Honor Lluís Carulla, given for service to Catalan culture or for scientific, cultural or civic works in the Catalan language.

Jordi Savall was awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa degree by the University of Barcelona on 27 November 2006.

In 2008 Savall was appointed a European Union ambassador for intercultural dialogue. In June 2008 Savall and his wife, Montserrat Figueras, were named "Artists for Peace" by UNESCO.[3]


Jordi Savall, a two-time Grammy nominee, adapted and performed music for the 1991 Alain Corneau film, Tous les matins du monde. His work on this film earned him a César award from the French film industry in 1992. The soundtrack, re-released on his own Alia Vox label, has sold more than a million copies worldwide.

As a composer, Jordi Savall has written music for the following films:

  • (1991) Tous les matins du monde (All the World's Mornings) by Alain Corneau
  • (1993) El Pajaro de la felicidad (The Bird of Happiness) by Pilar Miró
  • (1993) Jeanne la Pucelle I : Les batailles (Joan of Arc: The Battles) by Jacques Rivette
  • (1994) Jeanne la Pucelle II : Les prisons (Joan of Arc: The Prisons) by Jacques Rivette
  • (1997) Hosszú alkony (i.e. Long Dusk) by Attila Janisch
  • (1997) Marquise by Vera Belmont
  • (1998) Secret defense by Jacques Rivette


  1. ^ Alex Ross, "The King of Spain: Jordi Savall at the Metropolitan Museum", The New Yorker (May 2, 2005).
  2. ^ Alia-Vox, "Who We Are", accessed 16 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall are named 'Artists for Peace'", 18 June 2008, [1]

External links



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