Violin & viola Duo on period instruments

Our musical lifes

We found each other, and we share music and life...

Isabella Bison

A native of Bologna, Italian violinist Isabella Bison began playing the violin at age seven, graduating in 2000 with distinction.
Thanks to a scholarship of the “Rotary Foundation”, in 2001 she moved to Luzern (Switzerland) where she studied with Giuliano Carmignola at the “Musikhochschule”, obtaining the Konzertdiplom.
Isabella took Masterclasses and additional studies with eminent violinists as Pavel Vernikov, Massimo Fornaciari, Cristiano Rossi, Domenico Nordio, and she was a scholarship recipient of the “Centre Hindemith” in Blonay (Switzerland) as well as a prizewinner at the national violin competition (rassegna) in Vittorio Veneto (Italy).
While still very young, Isabella served as leader of the second violins of the Orchestra del Teatro "G. Verdi" in Sassari, and was a member of I Solisti dell'Orchestra Città di Ferrara; since then she has collaborated with prominent Italian and European ensembles like Orchestra da Camera di Mantova, Orchestra Milano Classica, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia.
Isabella developed an interest in early music and playing on historic instruments when she was still a student in Italy; afterwards she studied baroque violin with Lucy van Dael (with whom she performed many times) and Stefano Montanari at the “International Music Academy” in Milano.
In 2004 she was chosen for the European Union Baroque Orchestra, with which she has toured thorough Europe under conductors such as Ton Koopman and Lars Ulrik Mortensen.
As a soloist, she has performed several times Violin Concertos by Bach, Haydn, Benda, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, and in 2006 she was invited to play Bach's Violin Sonatas at the “Salzburger Bach Gesellschaft”.
Isabella played for 11 years, serving also as Principal Second Violin, with Il Complesso Barocco conducted by Alan Curtis, and in 2004 – 2008 she served as Concertmaster of La Divina Armonia performing extensively, also as a soloist, in Europe, America, Asia, and Middle East.
She has collaborated as Concertmaster with the Swiss ensemble Freitagsakademie, and she appears regularly with prominent European period-instrument ensembles, including Les Talens Lyriques, Europa Galante, Ensemble Zefro, AnimaEterna, Accademia Bizantina, L'Arte dell'Arco, Il Pomo d'Oro, Il Gardellino, I Barocchisti, Ensemble Matheus, Capella Gabetta.
She's also active with Canadian period-instrument ensembles: since 2015 she has started a collaboration with Montréal based group Arion, and she has been engaged by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra for the Season 2015/2016.
Isabella is in great demand as a chamber musician, and fellow eminent artists include Alfredo Bernardini, Francesco Cera, Gwendolyn Toth, Federico Guglielmo, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Alberto and Paolo Grazzi, to name a few.
Together with violist and Tafelmusik member Stefano Marcocchi she has formed “Stile Concertante”, a Duo specializing in underrated works for violin and viola composed by the great Italian virtuosi of the turn of 18th and 19th Century.
Isabella can be heard on over 35 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Virgin Classics, Naïve, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Passacaille, DiVox and Dynamic.

Stefano Marcocchi

Italian violist Stefano Marcocchi is the newest core member of Tafelmusik, moving to Toronto to join the orchestra in September 2014. A native of Parma, he studied at the Conservatorio A. Boito, graduating cum laude. There he developed an interest in early music and playing on historic instruments.
Stefano joined the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra when he was still a student in Italy, and by the age of only 22 he was the youngest ever principal violist of the Italian National Radio-Television (RAI) Symphony Orchestra.
From 1998–2004 he was a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, serving also as leader of the viola section under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, Christopher Hogwood, Kurt Masur, Mark Minkowski, Trevor Pinnock, Mihail Pletnjev and Andras Schiff. He was also invited by Claudio Abbado to join the Orchestra Mozart and the celebrated Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
Stefano has been a member and principal violist of Europa Galante since 2001, playing extensively also as a soloist in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia, and taking part in over twenty recording projects.
He has been invited regularly as principal violist by other prominent European period-instrument ensembles in Italy and Europe, including Les Talens Lyriques, Il Complesso Barocco, Zefiro, Ensemble Aurora, I Barocchisti, Accademia Bizantina, Ensemble Concerto and Il Pomo d'Oro.
Stefano is a founding member of AleaEnsemble, a period-instrument string quartet that specializes in the classical and early romantic repertoire. Their debut recording of the complete String Quartets, Op.2 of Luigi Boccherini was awarded the Diapason d’Or and the Choc du Monde de la Musique, and Diapason magazine has described them as “le quatuor bocchérinien de notre temps”.
Stefano is in great demand as a chamber musician, and fellow eminent artists include Stanley Ritchie, Fabio Biondi, Giuliano Carmignola, Stefano Montanari, Hélène Schmitt, Alfredo and Cecilia Bernardini, Alberto and Paolo Grazzi, Gaetano Nasillo, Patxi Montero, Marcello Gatti, and Maurice Steger, to name a few.
Together with violinist Isabella Bison he has formed “Stile Concertante”, a duo specializing in lesser known works composed by the great Italian virtuosi of the turn of 18th and 19th Century.
Stefano has featured as soloist in two recordings of Telemann's Viola Concerto: the first with Ensemble Cordia (Brilliant Classics), and the second with Europa Galante (Label Agogique) for which Diapason magazine praised his “jeu suave.”
In 2011 he was invited to play the 1774 “Berta-Salabue II” viola at the exhibition in Parma marking G.B.Guadagnini's 300th anniversary, and in 2014 he participated at the publication of the book "The Girolamo Amati Viola in the Galleria Estense," recording pieces by D.Gabrielli and A.Rolla on this rare instrument.
In spring 2015 he acted as concertmaster of Les Talens Lyriques under the direction of Christophe Rousset at the performance and world-première recording of E.N.Méhul's Uthal, an opera composed in 1806 in which the violas take the place of the violins as upper instruments in the strings section.
Since 2006 Stefano has taught baroque and classical viola at the Akademie für Alte Musik in Bruneck (Südtirol).

Our research

Until the mid-eighteenth century the violin was considered one of the leading solo instruments and was usually accompanied in Sonatas and chamber works by a violoncello and a harpsichord, while the viola had a simple function of "ripieno" in the orchestra.
Thanks to composers like Alessandro Rolla, Carl Stamitz, Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni, Giuseppe Cambini, who were “virtuosi” of both the violin and viola, this new instrumental ensemble become very popular during the second half of the eighteenth century, and developed a wide repertoire which reached its highest point with W.A.Mozart's magnificent duos KV 423-424.

The majority of these pieces were written in the new, highly virtuosic “Stile Concertante”, in which each instrument is considered “primus inter pares”, and the musical ideas are shared equally between the two, highlighting the expressive qualities and timbre of each instrument.
Historically informed practice based on primary sources (treatises, manuscripts, original editions), joined with the use of period instruments strung with gut strings and appropriate bows, lets us approach the Art and the musical world from the past.