ARPARLA, Davide Monti on violin and Maria Christina Cleary on harp, take their inspiration from a desire to communicate through music - parla in Italian means ‘speak’ - using the soft and refined sonorities of the harp and the expressive range of colours of the violin. Their repertoire focuses on the Baroque period and the transition period between classicism and romanticism (17th-19th centuries), a repertoire that their instruments perfectly express the synthesis of the aesthetic of these epochs.
Davide began learning the violin at seven years old. His father, an amateur accordionist, played along with him during his practise, improvising exercises, improvising harmony and melodies, and invariably playing by ear. Alongside his formal Classical training, Davide has always played traditional music, jazz, pop and folk dances.
Maria comes from a musical family and received a Classical music training, playing piano, recorder, harp and singing. Until university age, she was part of an inter-disciplinary group based on the Renaissance epoch, where everyone played several instruments, sung and danced (Capriol Consort). When she began third-level studies, her mind was opened to various new forms of music: Contemporary, Electronics, Jazz and Early music, experimenting with non-tonal tuning systems including micro-tuning systems.
Partners for nearly fifteen years, Davide & Maria have joined forces to discuss and research the meaning of music, transcending any particular musical styles. They have formalised their thoughts on all aspects of music by founding the Helicona Method in 2013. This method of making music is based on the assumption that all music includes improvisatory elements. Helicona incorporates strategies taken from other disciplines including dancing, theatre (Commedia dell’Arte), fencing and horse-riding, aimed to facilitate the opening of the mind and to understand the physical implications of musical gestures.
With this inter-disciplinary approach to making music, Arparla’s performances are unique experiences, playing music from earlier epochs yet being firmly founded in today’s society and audiences. The ensemble’s aesthetic ethos while teaching and performances are all based on this method.
Arparla's first tour was to Japan and since then the Monti and Cleary duo have performed across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia and also Africa with energy and enthusiasm, receiving excellent reviews. In 2009 they premiered Spohr's Double Concerto No.1 WoO 13 on original instruments. Their tours in 2011 in Austrailia and in 2019 to Montreal were funded by Culture Ireland.
Besides performing, Arparla is dedicated to education, teaching and lecturing together at Hochschule München, Conservatoire Royale de Liège, NUS Singapore, RMIT Melbourne, Early Music Studio Melbourne, Makerere University Uganda, The International University of Kampala, and the Africa Institute of Music. They have sustained the ONG COOPI and also have collaborated with the Menuhin Foundation MUS-E project. They hold and have held positions at the conservatories in Brescia, Verona and Vicenza and Geneva.
Arparla has released five duo CDs under the Stradivarius label. Two CDs consist of the chamber works and harp solos by 19th century composer Louis Spohr, being premiere recordings of this composer using original instruments. Their second CD in 2010, Le Grazie del Violino, is a collection of Italian instrumental music of the 17th century, the only full CD that features the harp as a single continuo instrument and soloist. Two other CDs (Op. 5) and fifth CD (Op. 4, 2020) contain works by the 17th century composer Don Marco Uccellini and solo Toccatas by Michelangelo Rossi performed on the arpa doppia.