The Divertimento Ensemble was founded in 1977 by a number of internationally-renowned soloists, and by some of the principals of the two most important orchestras of Milan, conducted by Sandro Gorli. The Ensemble quickly attained considerable success both in Italy and abroad, with over 1000 concerts and 16 CDs to its credit to date.
Over 100 composers have dedicated new compositions to the Ensemble: these, and many others, have helped consolidate one of the most representative repertoires of new music, both Italian and international.
In 1978 it was included in the prestigious programmes of Milan’s Società del Quartetto and the same city’s Festival, Musica nel Nostro Tempo. In 1981 it made its debut at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, with the opera Il Sosia by Flavio Testi and a concert dedicated entirely to music by Aldo Clementi. It featured in the Teatro alla Scala programme again, in 1996, 1997 and 1998, with a concert dedicated to Frank Zappa.
The Ensemble has taken part in the most important contemporary music festivals in Europe; it was invited by the Venice Biennale (thirteen times from 1979 to 2016) and it has held concerts in France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Poland, Latvia, Finland, Hungary, Mexico, Argentina, United States, Japan and Russia, as well as the most important cities of Italy.
Its recordings include: the opera Solo by S. Gorli (CD by Ricordi), three CDs dedicated to B. Maderna: Satyricon (Salabert-Harmonia Mundi), Don Perlimplin (Stradivarius), Venetian Journal, Juilliard Serenade, Vier Briefe, Konzert fur Oboe und Kammerensemble (Stradivarius), an anthology of music by young Italian composers (Fonit Cetra) and ten CDs featuring the work of G. Castagnoli, A. Solbiati, F. Donatoni, M. Franceschini, S. Gervasoni, F. Gardella, M. Momi, S. Bulfon, D. Ghisi and G. Bertelli respectively (Stradivarius).
For a number of years, as well as to its concert performances, the Ensemble has been strongly committed to areas of musical education and promotion of young people’s creativity: commissioning young composers with new pieces; taking an active part in the Orchestra Conducting Courses dedicated specifically to music of 20th and 21st centuries (XIV edition in 2018); organising the “Franco Donatoni” International Meeting for Young Composers, which includes an international composition competition, concerts, premieres and round tables (V edition in 2018/19); organising a Composition Competition for students of the Italian Conservatories (VII edition in 2017); realising the Call for Young Performers (instrumental masterclasses in contemporary music, VIII edition in 2018), the International Workshop for Young Composers (IV edition, Bobbio 2018), Giocare la Musica (musical workshop for children, V edition in 2017).
In 2010 Divertimento Ensemble has been awarded the mention to the “grandesignEtico International Award” for its activity in favour of young musicians.
The Ensemble is a member of the European Ulysses network (four-year projects: 2012-16 and 2016-20), which brings together 13 renowned institutions involved in the support and promotion of young artists. These institutions – academies, festivals, ensembles – play a fundamental role in the recognizing, accompanying, professionalizing and developing the carriers of young European composers and performers.
In 2015 Divertimento Ensemble has won the XXXIV Italian music critics’ Franco Abbiati Prize as “the 2014 best initiative”.
In 2017, on the occasion of the 40th year of activity, the IDEA – International Divertimento Ensemble Academy was born. IDEA groups and coordinates training activities already in place, specifically courses and competitions. Divertimento Ensemble has also created the Nuove Voci (New Voices) Choir, a non professional choir open to all those who are willing to perform art contemporary music.