Buenos Aires-born classical musician Evangelina Mascardi is an absolute master of the lute, guitar, theorbo, and vihuela. I don’t know about you, but I needed to look up those last two things. F.Y.I., the theorbo is a version of lute with additional bass strings. This requires it to have a much longer neck which extends past the regular lute strings. (See the first video below.) A vihuela is an early Spanish stringed instrument. Though it looks like a guitar, it is tuned like a lute.
Mascardi’s treatment of Bach is particularly gorgeous, and I listened to her Gavotte en Rondeau of BWV 1006a on repeat while researching and writing this post. I ordered a CD of her album of Bach’s Complete Lute Works for my dad, and I think it’s going to bring both of us a lot of joy.
Mascardi’s repertoire is primarily solo, though she does occasionally play with the Ensemble Zefiro and the Monteverdi Choir. I think her solo lute performances are so nuanced and perfect, she doesn’t need other instruments! In addition to being a critically-acclaimed, world-class soloist, Mascardi is also one of the best known and beloved lute teachers in the classical world. She teaches lute at the Conservatorio A. Vivaldi in Alessandria, Italy.