The Accademia Bizantina was founded in 1983 in Ravenna and today is regarded as one of the most versatile and select ensembles using original instruments which are required for the Italian repertoire of the 17th and 18th century: stylistic accuracy, imaginative interpretation and technical perfection are the particular characteristics which are appreciated in the playing of the Accademia.
The Accademia Bizantina has participated at all the important Italian and international concert series and festivals and has performed concerts in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, England, Israel, Mexico, Holland, Switzerland, USA, Turkey and Hungary. Furthermore the ensemble has made numerous recordings for ARTS, Denon and RCA, as well as for radio and television broadcasting companies.
Since January 1996 the Accademia Bizantina has been directed by its harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone.
Ottavio Dantone studied organ and harpsichord at the Conservatorio "Giuseppe Verdi" in Milan where he also completed his final examination. Already during his studies he paid particular attention to early music. He had started his performing career whilst very young, continuously extending his knowledge of early music, and by this means succeeded in attracting attention as one of the most talented harpsichordists of his generation.
He was awarded prizes at two of the most important harpsichord competitions of the world: in 1985 in the field of thorough-bass at the competition in Paris, and in 1986 in Bruges. He was the first Italian to receive these international awards.
He has many performance commitments as soloist, harpsichordist or pianist and as conductor. Since 1996 he is the musical director of the Accademia Bizantina di Ravenna, with whom, however, he has been working since 1989. As a soloist or conductor he has performed at all the important festivals and concert halls in Europe, America, Japan and Israel, such as, for example, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, at the Scala in Milan, in Paris, New York, Rome, Milan, Turin and Ravenna.
Ottavio Dantone can be heard on a large number of recordings for radio, television and record companies. His recording of the Well-tempered Clavier by Johan Sebastian Bach has received the world's most distinguished awards.
Dantone teaches the harpsichord at the conservatories in Lugano (Switzerland) and Turin and on a regular basis gives master classes in harpsichord, chamber music, thorough-bass and improvisational technique throughout the whole of Europe.