artistic director

Chief Conductor of Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, “Artist in Residence” of the Ensemble Resonanz at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and regular guest of the Orchestra La Scintilla at the Opernhaus Zürich, Riccardo Minasi has recently received invitations as guest conductor from orchestras such as Staatskapelle Dresden, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Orchestra of the Age of Enlinghtenment, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Orchestre National de Belgique.

In the recent years he conducted Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Academy of Ancient Music, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Zürcher Philarmonia, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, London Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Basel Kammerorchester, Concerto Köln, Philharmonische Staatsorchester Hamburg, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, Casa da Música Porto, Stavanger Symfoniorkester, Portland Baroque Orchestra, L’Arpa Festante, Attersee-Akademie Orchestra, Il Complesso Barocco, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz, Potsdam Kammerakademie and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra with whom he was the associate music director from 2008 to 2011.

Most recent operatic engagements include Les Pêcheurs de perles at the Salzburg Festival, Don Giovanni, Entführung, Orlando Paladino, Matrimonio Segreto, Il Pirata, Viaggio a Reims, Turco in Italia and the ballets by Christian Spuck on music by Schnittke, Schumann and Monteverdi at Zürich Opera, Iphigénie en Tauride, Alcina, Nozze di Figaro, Agrippina at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Carmen at the Opera in Lyon, Rinaldo at the Theater an der Wien, Rodelinda, Nozze di Figaro at the Dutch National Opera.

As soloist and concertmaster he performed with Le Concert des Nations of Jordi Savall, Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, Il Giardino Armonico, Al Ayre Español, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di S.Cecilia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, Accademia Bizantina, Concerto Italiano and invited by Kent Nagano at the Knowlton Belcanto Festival (Canada). He also collaborated with Concerto Vocale, Ensemble 415 and with such artists as Joyce Di Donato, Plácido Domingo, Gianluca Cascioli, Juan Diego Flórez, Bryn Terfel, Veronika Eberle, Jean-Guhien Queyras, Ramón Vargas, Javier Camarena, Antoine Tamestit, Antje Weithaas, Mahan Esfahani, Albrecht Mayer, Reinhard Goebel, Alina Pogostkina, Nils Mönkemeyer, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Cecilia Bartoli, Viktoria Mullova, Jan Lisiecki, Edgar Moreau, Robert Levin, Rafał Blechacz, Gautier Capuçon, Iveta Apkalna, Christophe Coin and Philippe Jarrousky.

In collaboration with Maurizio Biondi he published the critical edition of Norma for Bärenreiter in 2016. Co-founder and director of the ensemble il Pomo d’oro from 2012 to 2015, he was professor at the conservatory Vincenzo Bellini of Palermo between 2004 and 2010. He has held seminars, master classes and historical performance practice lessons at the Juilliard School of Music of New York, Longy School of Music of Cambridge (USA), Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Hochschule für Musik of Hannover, Antwerp conservatory, Chinese culture university of Taipei (Taiwan), Zürich Opernhaus, Kùks residence (Czech Republic), Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, Sydney conservatory (Australia), at the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) and as historical advisor for the Montréal Symphony Orchestra (Canada).

Among the numerous prizes received, notably are the albums “Rosenkranz Sonaten” by Biber (finalist at the Midem Classical Award Cannes as album of the year 2009),“Stella di Napoli” with Joyce Di Donato (Diapason d’Or of the year 2015, BBC Music magazine Award, Grammophone Choice, Grammy Award nominee 2015), “Agrippina” with Ann Hallenberg (International Opera Award 2016), “Partenope” with Philippe Jaroussky and Karina Gauvin (Grammophone Magazine – recording of the month), “Catone in Utica”, “Giovincello” and “Haydn concertos” (Echo-Klassik Award 2016), “The Seven Last Words of Christ” by Haydn with Ensemble Resonanz (Diapason d’Or of the year 2018) and the C.P.E.Bach cello concertos with Jean- Guhien Queyras (Diapason d’Or of the year 2019). 

see also:


Interview with Riccardo Minasi

(german only) from "MAG 88", January 2022, © Opernhaus Zürich


The cultivation of historical performance practice has been a tradition at Zurich Opera House for many decades. In the 1970s Nikolaus Harnoncourt first caused a national sensation in the field of early music with his Monteverdi cycle; in the 1980s he continued his work at Zurich Opera House together with the director Jean Pierre Ponnelle with Mozart (including Idomeneo, Lucio Silla, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro). Harnoncourt did further pioneering work and the musicians of the Zurich Opera Orchestra adapted their playing technique to the latest findings of historical performance practice. From this continuum, the orchestra of the Opera, now the Philharmonia Zurich, evolved into an independent ensemble of first-class specialised musicians, which was able to establish an excellent reputation. The spark that ignited the enthusiasm for new early music gave the ensemble its name: Officially founded in 1998, the ensemble gave itself the name La Scintilla - The Spark. In the years that followed, performances with luminaries of the field such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, William Christie, Mark Minkowski, Reinhard Goebel, Giuliano Carmignola, Giovanni Antonini and Ottavio Dantone were so successful that the Zurich Opera House has all Baroque operas and, increasingly, works from the Classical period performed by this ensemble. Outside the opera house, La Scintilla regularly performs in the major concert halls and gives concerts with renowned soloists, instrumentalists and singers such as Cecilia Bartoli, Rolando Villazon, Andreas Scholl and others. In 2014, the orchestra received the Echo Klassik Music Prize in the category "Opera Recording of the Year" (19th century) for its recording of Norma with Giovanni Antonini and Cecilia Bartoli. Among the works released on CD and DVD are Mozart arias with Juan Diego Florez, Norma and La sonnambula with Cecilia Bartoli, Orlando and Iphigénie en Tauride with William Christie, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Since the 2018/19 season, La Scintilla has been working closely with violinist and conductor Riccardo Minasi on a concert series at Zurich Opera House. The musical arc spans from the early symphonic beginnings in Italy to the great masters of the Baroque, George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach, to the sounds of the early Giuseppe Verdi.

Together with the Zürcher Singakademie, La Scintilla also organises the series "Les Concerts", whose main focus is on the sacred repertoire with choir.

see also: Zürcher Singakademie


Concert masters

Ada Pesch has been principal concertmaster of the Zurich Opera House Orchestra since 1990. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she began playing the violin at age six and subsequently went on to study with world-reknowned pedagog Josef Gingold at the University of Indiana. During this time she also performed in masterclasses with Arthur Grumiaux and Gyorgy Sebök. In 1984 Ada Pesch moved to Europe to become concertmaster with the Hof Symphony Orchestra, and in 1990 was named first concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Zürich Opera House, working with conductors such as Ricardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnanyi, John Eliot Gardiner and Franz Welser-Möst.
She is founding member and concertmaster of "Orchestra La Scintilla," the period-instrument ensemble of the Zürich Opera House with whom she regularly performs and records with early music pioneers including Nikolaus Harnoncourt, William Christie and Marc Minkowski. In fall of 2005 she led the "Orchestra La Scintilla of Zürich Opera" on a highly successful North American and european tour with Cecilia Bartoli.
Ada Pesch has appeared as guest concertmaster with "Les Arts Florissants" (William Christie) and "Les Musiciens du Louvre" (Marc Minkowski) for concerts, live radio broadcasts and CD recordings. Her chamber music collaborations are many and varied, including projects with Cecilia Bartoli in Luzern and Salzburg Festivals. She is also director of the Baroque Music Festival in Ernen, Switzerland, which she founded in 2004.

Hanna Weinmeister was born in Salzburg. She studied violin with Prof. Bruno Steinschaden in Salzburg, with Prof. Gerhard Schulz in Vienna, with Prof. Zachar Bron in Lübeck and is a prize winner of several international competitions (1994 International Mozart Competition Salzburg, 1995 Jaques Thibeaud Competition and 1995 Parkhouse Award in London). After her studies she was assistant leader of the English Chamber Orchestra in London and since 1998 she is first concertmaster at the Zurich Opera House. In addition to her work with the orchestra, she is also in demand as a soloist and chamber musician, performing in Europe, Asia and the USA. She is a member of the Tetzlaff Quartet, the Konzerthaus Octet, the Krenek Ensemble and the Trio Weinmeister and has been a guest at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Salzburg Festival, the Ittinger Whitsun Concerts, the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Festival Spannungen in Heimbach and the Kunstfest Weimar. The 1st violin concerto, by E. Krenek, the double concerto by J. Brahms and quartets by J,.Sibelius, A. Berg, A. Schönberg and F. Mendelssohn have been released on CD. Currently she is intensively engaged in baroque violin and historical performance practice, inspired by her work with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Giovanni Antonini at the Zurich Opera House. Since 2014 she is a member of the orchestra "La Scintilla".

Monika Baer studied with Robert Zimansky at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva, from which she graduated with a soloist diploma. Her interest in the baroque violin already began in her student years, and she went on to pursue postgraduate study with John Holloway at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden. During years spent as an interim member of the first violin section in Zurich Opera Orchestra, she became familiar with the working practices of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, John Eliot Gardiner, William Christie and Marc Minkowski.
From 1999-2005 Monika was concertmaster of Kammerorchester Basel. There she worked regularly with musical personalities like Christopher Hogwood, Giovanni Antonini and Giuliano Carmignola, and made numerous CD recordings.
Alongside her active chamber music career, she performs in festivals including the Ludwigsburger Festspielen, the Erner Barockmusikwochen and Boswiler Sommer.
As a founder member of Orchestra La Scintilla, she accompanies Cecilia Bartoli in Europe and America's most prestigious concert halls.
Monika lives in Zurich where she is a professor of baroque violin and chamber music at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. She is also in demand as a chamber music partner and concertmaster by various ensembles. Furthermore, she spent 12 years on the Stadt Zurich Music Commission, was a committee member of the Forum Alte Musik Zürich, and appeared regularly as an expert on the radio programme Diskothek im 2 on SRF2.

Violinist Bartek Niziol was born in Stettin, Poland, in 1974 and studied under the supervision of Jadwiga Kliszewska in Poznan and Pierre Amoyal in Lausanne. He attended Master Class courses led by Zachar Bron, Ruggiero Ricci, Mauricio Fuks and Michael Frischenschlager. Whilst still studying in Poznań in 1991 he won first prize at the International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, as well as first prize at the International Violin Competition in Adelaide. In the following year he also won first prize at the International Violin Competition in Pretoria, Eurovision in Brussels, and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris. These awards enabled him to debut as soloist with orchestras such as English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NDR Hamburg, New Japan Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Conductors with whom he has worked as soloist include Yehudi Menuhin, David Zinman, Marek Janowski, Heinrich Schiff and Krzysztof Penderecki. Concert tours have taken Bartek Niziol to Asia, Africa, South America and throughout Europe. The New York Times has described his playing as having masterful control and a beautifully singing tone. As a passionate chamber musician he has appeared alongside such Musicians as Pinchas Zuckermann, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Sol Gabetta, and in August 2011 he was invited to perform with Martha Argerich at the famous “Chopin and his Europe” festival in Warsaw. Bartek Niziol is the leader of the Valentin Berlinsky Quartet (founded in Zürich in 2010) Bartek Niziolʼs CD recordings of Wieniawski, Bacewicz and the 6 Ysaye Solo Sonatas have won him the prestigious “Fryderyk Prize” at Polandʼs recording industry awards. Since September 2008 Bartek Niziol has been a professor of violin at the Bern Hochschule der Künste. He also sits on the Jury for the International Henryk Wieniawski Competition in Poznan as well the Instrumental Competition of Migros Culture in Zürich. He has a special interest in the development of young talent, and to this effect in 2009 he founded the “International Master Class” festival in Piła, Poland, whose artistic director he has been ever since . Bartek Niziol plays a 1727 violin by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu.


Jonathan Allen
Yuko Arakaki
Susanne von Bausznern
Cornelia Brandis
Franziska Eichenberger
Juliana Georgieva
Lisa Gustafson
Janet van Hasselt
Ulrike Jacoby
Maya Kadosh
Daniel Kagerer
Anahit Kurtikyan
Anne-Frédérique Léchaire
Wen-chun Lin
Sibylle Matzinger
Ursula Meienberg
Seraina Pfenninger
Regula Schär
Olivia Schenkel
Mikolai Tomaszewski
Fanny Tschanz
Marina Yakovleva-Häfliger


Nada Anderwert
Maria Clément
Karen Forster
Stella Mahrenholz
Florian Mohr
Rumjana Schamlieva
Mirjam Töws


Alexander Gropper
Claudius Herrmann
Barbara Oehm
Xavier Pignat
Andreas Plattner
Seiji Yokota

Double Bass:

Dieter Lange
Ruslan Lutsyk
Dariusz Mizera


Rebekka Brunner
Rute Fernandes
Claire Genewein
Andrea Kollé


Maria Alba Carmona
Astrid Knöchlein
Philipp Mahrenholz


Rita Meier
Heinrich Mätzener
Robert Pickup
Filipa Sagramento


Urs Dengler
Anne Gerstenberger
Elisabeth Göring
Artan Hürsever


Glen Borling
Tomas Gallart
Andrea Siri


Sergio Zordan

Timpani/ Percussion:

Hans Peter Achberger