Christina Pluhar is a world-renowned musician, specializing in the performance of Renaissance and Baroque music. She plays Renaissance lute, Baroque guitar, archlute, theorbo and Baroque harp in both solo and continuo positions. Additionally, she is the founder and director of the dynamic ensemble, L’Arpeggiata.
Pluhar was born in 1965 in Graz, Austria but has lived and studied in various countries. She first studied in her hometown, at the University of Graz. There she discovered her passion for Renaissance and Baroque music, and devoted herself to its performance. She moved to the Netherlands to study lute at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague withToyohiko Satoh. She also studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hopkinson Smith. There, she received the prestigious 'Diplôme Supérieur de Perfectionnement'. Pluhar continued her education at the Scuola Civica di Milano with Mara Galassi, who taught her the Baroque Arpa Doppia. Other teachers have included Eugen Dombois, Paul O’Dette, Pat O’Brian and Jesper Bøje Christensen.
A defining moment of Pluhar’s career took place in 1992, when she won the first prize at the International Early Music Competition of Malmö, as a member of the ensemble La Fenice.
Since then, she has been living in Paris, where she is an active member of the city’s cultural society. She performs 16th to 18th century music as both a soloist and ensemble member and has appeared with ensembles such as Concerto Soave, Accordone, Elyma, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Ricercar, Akademia, La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy, Concerto Köln. Furthermore, she has played under the direction ofRené Jacobs, Ivor Bolton and Alessandro di Marchi.
As of 1993, Pluhar has given regular masterclasses at her first alma mater, Graz University. She has also given Baroque Harp classes at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague since 1999.
Another pivotal moment in Pluhar’s career came in 2000, when she founded L’Arpeggiata ensemble. The ensemble has since become a huge success and is featured in many concerts and festivals worldwide. Additionally, they have made a number of award-winning recordings.
The ensemble receives its name from a toccata of the Italian-born German composer Girolamo Kapsberger. The ensemble combines voice and strings and brings diverse artists together. The sound of the ensemble’s plucked strings is immediately recognizable. L’Arpeggiata focuses on the obscure music of the Roman, Neapolitan and Spanish early Baroque composers. Pluhar’s extensive research has led to very authentic performances, though she has also developed “events” shows, which combine music with dance and theatre, and allow for jazz and traditional music.
Pluhar is not only the founder of L’Arpeggiata, but also the conductor and a musician in the group. She actively researches and programmes each of the projects. In celebration of their 10-year anniversary in 2010, the ensemble performed in both France and the rest of Europe.
Under Pluhar’s direction, L’Arpeggiata has performed in Europe at the Ruhrtriennale, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Vredenburg Center Utrecht and Philharmonie Köln. Outside of Europe, they have performed at Carnegie Hall New York, Sydney City Recital Hall, Brisbane Festival, Guanajuato International Cervantino Festival, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space and Karura Hall.
The ensemble was invited for residencies in 2012 and 2013 at Carnegie Hall (New York), Wigmore Hall (London) and the Poissy Theatre.
One of Pluhar’s contributions to the music world includes the 2011 staging of Giovanni Andrea Bontempi’s unknown opera,Il Paride (1662). After being staged at the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci under the direction of Christoph von Bernuth, the opera was staged again in the summer of 2012 at the Innbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik. The ensemble’s commitment to music and culture have earned them much financial support, including by the Ministry of Culture in France, the Ile-de-France Regional Council and the Orange Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Onda, Spedidam, Adami and Culturesfrance. L’Arpeggiata is a member of Fevis (Federation of Specialized Vocal and Instrumental Sets) and PROFEDIM) Professional Union of Producers, Festivals, Ensemble, Independent Music Broadcaster).
In 2017, Pluhar and her ensemble released Handel goes Wild on the Warner Classics label. This album features music from G.F. Handel, Antonio Vivaldi and Girolamo Kapsberger. She can also be heard on the seven-disc seriesThe Heritage of Monteverdi with La Fenice and Jean Tubéry (Ricercar, 2017).
L’Arpeggiata and Pluhar are featured on the 2016 Erato/Warner Classics recordingPluhar: Orfeo Chaman, which consists of Pluhar’s music, along with that of Pedro Aznar, Giovanni Battista Pederzuoli, Christian Ritter and Simón Díaz. Other 2016 releases includeWeckmann: Complete Works (Ricercar).
Earlier albums include Music for a While: Improvisations on Purcell (Erato/Warner Classics International, 2014) and Cavalli: "L'amore innamorato" (Erato/Warner Classics International, 2015).L’Arpeggiata won the Echo Klassik Preis in 2009, 2010 and 2011. They also won the Edison Prize in 2009 and the VSCD Musiekprijs in 2008. Other wars include a Cannes Classical Award, Excellentia Pizzicato Award and a Disc of the Month from BBC Magazine.