The name "UnderStories" is inspired by the botanical term "Understory", thus referring to the layer of plants that grow in the shade of the canopy of a forest. UnderStories is an innovative, bass-favoring period ensemble with a focus on proliferating the repertoire of its dark and unusual instrumentation, planting the seeds of a new sonic forest.
Founded in 2018, UnderStories focuses on exploring the rise of the cello as a solo instrument, and especially the repertoire for two concertante cellos in the 18th century. The ensemble, initially consisting of two cellos and a harpsichord, decided to add an arpa doppia and a violone to enrich the sound of the group.
Another big part of the ensemble’s activity is to treat Baroque music as liberally as it was done within the period itself, where arranging, changing instrumentations in order to shed a different light on seemingly familiar repertoire was the order of the day.
Therefore, the use of two piccolo cellos appeared as an evidence. The sound and tuning of the instrument make the transcription of violin music especially idiomatic and hopefully bring the public to discover a repertoire that they might have not known in another context.
Born from the encounter of Clara Pouvreau and Bartolomeo Dandolo Marchesi at the Hochschule fur Musik in Frankfurt, the five members of UnderStories have studied at the most prestigious schools in Europe: the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, the Basel Schola Cantorum, the Mozarteum Salzburg and the Civica Scuola di musica Claudio Abbado di Milano.
Laureates of numerous international competitions such as the Bach competition Leipzig, the Förderpreis Alte Musik Saarland in Saarbrücken or the Göttingen Handel competition to name a few, they have had the chance to work individually with artists such as Ton Koopman, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Kristin von der Goltz, Petra Mullejeans, Paolo Pandolfo, Catherine Jones, Mara Galassi and Amandine Beyer among others.
They have appeared in festivals such as the Utrecht Oude Musiek Festival, The Ambronay Festival, MA Bruges Festival and collaborated with ensembles like the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the Freiburger Barockorchester.
In June 2019, they were awarded with the Audience Prize at the Early Music Competition Val de Loire in France.
They were part of the IYAP 2021 presentation for young talented ensembles and performed at the AMUZ festival.
In July 2022 they win the EUBO Development Trust Prize for the most promising ensemble specializing in baroque repertoire in the York Early Music Competition. In the same year Rai Radio 3 broadcasts a segment entirely dedicated to the group on the program "La Stanza della Musica."