The Vinaccesi Ensemble was formed in 2008 by Bruce Wetmore, Kindra Scharich, and Nanette McGuinness and first performed as part of the 2008 Berkeley Early Music Fringe Fest.
The Ensemble focuses on music for voice and continuo, especially that of eighteenth century Italy and the Veneto, and of course, Italian composer Benedetto Vinaccesi (1666-1719)—for whom the ensemble is named.
Benedetto Vinaccesi began his career in his native city of Brescia. There he studied music with Pietro Pelli, wrote oratorios, sonatas, cantatas, and pastorals, and—by 1692—had been granted the title “cavaliere” by person or persons unknown. The bulk of Vinaccesi's career, however, was spent in Venice, first as maestro di coro at the Ospedaletto (from 1698 to 1715) and then as the principal organist for S. Marco's second organ (from 1704 to 1719). A prolific composer, he is said to have written more than 450 pieces while at the Ospedaletto alone. Sadly enough, though, few of his works have survived—only a handful of motets, secular cantatas, and sonatas, his oratorio Susanna, a pastoral, and an aria from his opera L'innocenza giustificata. His extant solo cantatas show him to be a stylish, inventive composer.
The Ensemble's recording of all eight,"Benedetto Vinaccesi: the Solo Cantatas," was released on Centaur in April, 2013, made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and supported by the Heller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and San Francisco Grants for the Arts.
In 2013, the Ensemble became a fiscally sponsored affiliate of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.