The Four Seasons, Violin Concerto No. 1 in E Major, RV 269 "La primavera": III. Danza pastorale. Allegro - Antonio Vivaldi, Fabio Biondi
Europa Galante was Italy's first dedicated period instrument Baroque ensemble and has earned a reputation as one of Europe's finest and most stylish such orchestras.
While its focus has been on Italian composers of the Baroque, the group has also performed and recorded the works of Baroque composers from throughout Europe.
Europa Galante was founded in 1990 by Italy's leading period violinist, Fabio Biondi, at the instigation of a record company executive, Yolanta Skura. Skura, a recording engineer who had trained as a pianist, began planning to go into business in the late 1980s with her own label, Opus 111. She decided to sign unknown but excellent musicians in whom she had confidence and could watch over the development of their careers, a process she says is in contrast to the approach of big companies. One of the most interesting young musicians of the time was Fabio Biondi, a violinist from Sicily, who had become interested in the Baroque violin while studying at the Rome Conservatory. Biondi had debuted as a Baroque violinist in the esteemed Musikverein of Vienna at 16 and through the 1980s worked with some of the leading international-rank period groups. Skura suggested that he found his own Baroque period ensemble in the interest of developing an Italian approach to authentic performances. Europa Galante derives its name from the galante style of music that developed after the height of Baroque music and was known for its simpler, direct technical means. The new ensemble was an immediate hit in Italy, where it was hailed as a symbol of the rebirth of Baroque music there. Stereo Review likened the effect of its fresh approach to Baroque music to seeing a well-restored painting by Caravaggio or Tiepolo.
Europa Galante was the top act on the Opus 111 label. Its recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons stood out among the several dozen versions of that work and became the label's top-selling album. It was named the best recording of the year by sources in at least five countries. Soon, the ensemble was a familiar guest at international music festivals, as well as great recital and concert halls. Biondi, who loves the human voice, eagerly accepted offers to lead the group in Baroque opera and oratorio performances. These included the modern premiere of Handel's Poro, Caldara's La Passione de Gesù Cristo, and Alessandro Scarlatti's La Maddalena and Humanità e Lucifero; these works were also recorded and later released.
Late in the 1990s, Europa Galante and Biondi accepted an offer to join EMI's Virgin label. Its first release was another highly successful Vivaldi project, L'estro armonico. It also released the Caldara Passion on the Virgin Veritas imprint. Further efforts included discs of Vivaldi's Les Quatre Saisons (2007), Boccherini (2009), and Ercole (2011). Since then, the group has recorded for the Glossa, Naïve, and Fryderyk Chopin Institute labels. On the latter, the group released a recording of the opera Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko in 2019.