Founded in 1982 by violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam (= CCA) has developed into a close-knit ensemble specialising in music between 1600 and 1800. In view of the repertoire, concerts comprising small and medium-sized groups of instruments are given, but each year, the ensemble also programs oratorios and operas. The wish not to focus solely on the standard repertoire has resulted in many interesting programmes featuring remarkable and little-known works, some of which are only available in manuscript. The performance of these compositions in conjunction with more familiar works has proved to be refreshing and inspiring to listeners and performers alike.
The CCA generally performs on instruments built in the 19th century. This offers great advantages. For example, the ensemble often performs in large concert halls in relatively small instrumental groups. If the ensemble were to choose to work exclusively with original instruments, this would impose a variety of location and time limitations on the programming. After all, not only did tuning differ greatly in the various European cities, but also the instruments on hand and even the way these instruments were played. After considering all of these advantages and disadvantages as a whole, the Combattimento Consort has chosen to continue using 19th-century instruments - but under certain conditions.
Over the years the CCA has given many memorable concerts and operatic performances including George Frideric Handel's Rodelinda - a co-production with Studio's Onafhankelijk Toneel - Alcina, also by G.F. Handel, and Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, in collaboration with De Nationale Reisopera. In September 2002 the ensemble has made its debut at the Early Music Holland Festival in Utrecht, giving two performances of Rameau's opera Platée in a co-production with Onafhankelijk Toneel and the Nationale Reisopera.
Apart from numerous concerts in the Netherlands the CCA also appeared in various European countries as well as Japan, the USA and South America. In the Netherlands, the ensemble often gives performances in the larger concert halls but also in more intimate spaces and for private gatherings. In 2002 season the group performed in Germany, England and Italy. These successful tours have always been attracting attention in national and international media.
In addition to solo performances by members of the ensemble, the CCA has also worked with great performers such as Barbara Bonney, Andreas Scholl and Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Hieke Meppelink, Thomas Zehetmair, Ronald Brautigam and Sabine Meyer, as well as joining forces with Collegium Vocale Gent and other groups. In addition to renowned soloists, the CCA place great importance on working with young, talented singers.
The CCA has made numerous CD recordings, the last two of which appeared on the early music label Bona Nova. Several recordings have won the highest praise of the Dutch music magazine Luister. Their CD recordings include the operas La Resurrezione by G.F. Handel and Der Stein der Weisen. The last one had its premiere in the Wielki Theatre in Lodz (Poland; 2003), and after that it toured in The Netherlands and Flanders. In 2004 the CCA toured through Central Europe and The Netherlands with G.F. Handel’s opera Agrippina, the largest cultural project within the Netherlands Presidency of the European Union. In addition the CCA can be heard regularly as part of radio and television broadcasts.
The Combattimento Consort Amsterdam is sponsored by Bouwfonds. It has its own foundation of friends, which enables the ensemble to continue funding special productions.
But above all, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam is a closely-knit group of musicians (consort), who dare to take on the battle (combattimento) of voice against voice. A Baroque ensemble that takes advantage of oppositions, thereby collectively creating something beautiful, in which contrasts lead to an intensely pleasurable experience. An ensemble that bridges the gap between players and audience with its fresh musical individuality.