Concerto Armonico, the name of the early keyboard specialist Miklós Spányi and the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach are·generally connected around the world. Indeed, Spányi and Concerto Armonico began their ground breaking complete recording of C. P. E. Bach's Keyboard Concertos for the innovative Swedish label BIS Records in 1994 which reached its completion (20 cd's) by 2014, the anniversary year of C. P. E. Bach, born 300 years ago.
Concerto Armonico Budapest was originally founded in 1983 by young musicians, at that time studying together at the Budapest Franz Liszt Music Academy. The ensemble soon became rapidly popular under the artistic direction of harpsichordist Miklós Spányi and violinist Péter Szűts. After initial successes in its home country, the ensemble was soon invited to play concerts around Europe and featuring at outstanding festivals and concert halls as Festival Estival de Paris, Baroque en Avignon, Festival de La Roque d'Anteron, Festival de La Chaise Dieu, Festival van Vlaanderen, Holland Festival Oude Muziek, Tage der Alten Musik Regensburg, Kuhmo Chamber Music, Styriarte Graz, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, De Singel Antwerpen, etc. Recordings on the label Hungaroton followed. Concerto Armonico, becoming gradually reknown internationally, was often invited to perform with the most outstanding singers and instrumentalists of the European baroque scene as James Bowman, Jill Feldman, Michael Chance, Anneke Boeke, Jan Boeke, Jos van Immerseel, Malcolm Bilson, Barthold Kuijken, Alfredo Bernardini and others, also under conductors like Max Pommer, Hans-Martin Linde, Jacques Grimbert, Barthold Kuijken and Pierre Cao.
In the 1990's and 2000's Concerto Armonico repeatedly toured around Europe mainly performing C. P. E. Bach's music.·Until about 1999 leader of the orchestra was Péter Szűts. This formation can be called as Generation 1 of Concerto Armonico.
In Generation 2 (until 2011) leadership was taken over by Erika Petőfi. The somewhat different formation also toured in Europe and ·recorded ·in 2011 four flute concertos by Johann Joachim Quantz for NAXOS with Mary Oleskiewicz, regarded· worldwide as the most important Quantz specialist.
Generation 3 (2011-January 2015) was marked by the leadership of Márta Ábrahám’s. During this period the ensemble recorded the last three volumes of C. P. E. Bach's keyboard concertos and received the Hungarian Gramofon prize for the series.
February 2015 brought again some renewal in the membership of the orchestra, resulting in the present Generation 4.
Following its established traditions, Concerto Armonico focuses on C. P. E. Bach's music and on other composers of the Berlin school around Frederick the Great: Quantz, Franz Benda, the Graun brothers, Schale, Kirnberger etc.· An important part of the ensembles’s repertoire are the numerous Concerti grossi of Italian of Italian-influenced composers of the 18th century as well as Suites of the first half of the century (Telemann, Graupner). A real rarity in its repertoire is Miklós Spányi’s music, specially composed for the orchestra both in baroque and contemporary style.
The ensemble works as a small string group similar to the small court orchestras of the 18th century, occasionally completed with some wind instruments according to the requirements of the works. Concerto Armonico also functions in a minimal formation of 3-5 string players performing· chamber music as well as violin and keyboard concertos in single scoring.