Ronald Martin Alonso is with no question one of the current generation’s most exciting performers of baroque music. His biography reads like a novel. Born into a relatively poor family in Havana he was drawn to music from the earliest age. Noticing her son’s precocious talent, his mother enrolled him in the local music school where he studied guitar and double bass. But it was only after graduating in both instruments that, at the age of 20, his life was to change irrevocably.
It was at the French film festival in Havana that he saw the pivotal film "Tous les matins du Monde" (All the Mornings of the World) and he was immediately captivated by the music he had heard and the instrument on which it was played: the viola da gamba. Some historical context is important here: this was the end of the 1990’s and Cuba was only beginning to come out of the ‘Período especial’ the severe economic crisis that had put the country on its knees. The country had one baroque ensemble, but there were no scores and still less no method on how to learn to play the viola da gamba. Ronald would watch the film over and over whenever he could so as to memorize the score in his mind. Nothing would stop him doing what was needed to learn this instrument!
Later, he joined the Ars Longa ensemble (Teresa Paz) where he began to play the instrument and with whom he has since made several recordings of Latin-American baroque music for K617 label, which all of them have been lauded by critics, (Diapason d’Or, Choc from the Monde de la Musique, ffff from Télérama, 10 from Répertoire) . The ensemble has played for conductors such as Claudio Abbado and Gabriel Garrido and performs regularly throughout Europe organised by Alain Pacquier and Les Chemins du Baroque.
In 2003 his love of music brought Ronald to France, a country – and in particular its capital Paris – which since his youngest days has represented for him the summit of art, refinement and beauty. Graduating in viola da gamba with the highest distinction from the conservatoires of Paris and Strasbourg, he studied with Ariane Maurette as well as taking courses with Rebeca Ruso, Martin Gester and Jean Tubéry. He has had the benefit of masterclasses from Gabriel Garrido, Christophe Coin, Marianne Müller and Jordi Savall.
With the Stravaganza ensemble he has won several international chamber music competitions: Audience and media prize and 3rd prize at Premio Bonporti (Roveretto, Italy 2011) The De Graaf Unico Special Prize, Van Wassnaer Competition (Amsterdam, 2011), The Franz Josef Aumann prize at the HIF Biber International Competition (Austria 2012)
Ronald Martin Alonso is a regular guest with leading ensemble such as Cappella Mediterranea (Leonardo García-Alarcón), Le Poème Harmonique (Vincent Dumestre) Les Traversées Baroques (Etienne Meyer), Il Festino (Manuel de Grange), Fuoco e Cenere (Jay Bernfeld), Stravaganza (Thomas Soltani), La Chapelle Rhénane (Benoît Haller), Il Caravaggio (Camille Delaforge) as well as playing at many of the world’s leading concert halls and festivals like the Opéra de Paris, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Teatro Colon, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, to mention just a few oh them. He has recorded for several labels including Paraty, Alpha classics, K617, Accent, Ambronay éditions, Musica ficta, Glossa, Ricercar, Muso, Aparté, Hortus and Brilliant Classics.
Since 2014 Ronald has been artistic director of the Ensemble Vedado with which he produces his personal musical projects ranging from baroque to contemporary music performed on viola da gamba. He regularly plays in recital in Europe and Cuba in programmes designed to show the bridges between the past and the present, between the old world and the new.
Fascinated with the possibilities of his instrument and its sound, Ronald Martin Alonso regularly collaborates with contemporary composers. His second recording, Dialogues, was released in September 2020 on Paraty Records and balances work for solo viol by Sainte-Colombe with contemporary pieces by Philippe Hersant, including a new work, Pascolas, dedicated to him by the composer.
"Jeu fin, filé, mais aussi impulsif et pointu… L’interprétation arbore un portrait fier, volontariste et singulièrement moderne, où l’élan domine la vocalité. La fermeté des traits dessine des appuis sans pesanteur, des tournures sans insistance, privilégiant la ligne de fuite et la légèreté."
Martin Alonso se déplace avec sa viole modèle Bertrand avec un son tout à fait convaincant, magnifique, avec beaucoup de force et d'intensité, et transite avec fermeté à travers toutes les émotions que la musique nous propose. Un excellent enregistrement...
CD Dialogues, Scherzo / feb. 2021
Les coups d’archet rapides, posés, coulés, soutenus…, tous intimement liés aux tempi choisis, aux intonations affirmées ou douces, à la résonance qui amplifie et enrichit le discours, ou encore à la virtuosité au service de l’expression...
Le violiste Ronald Martin Alonso exprime toute la noblesse grave et légère de Sainte-Colombe. Le jeu libre et intime apporte la détente heureuse à des pièces d’une riche vie intérieure. Le geste du violiste en exprime l’urgence et la noblesse pudique.
Ronald Martín Alonso dejó bien claro que es de los mejores violagambistas con que uno puede toparse hoy día en una sala de conciertos...
Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Scherzo / oct. 2020
La densité musicale est rendue avec brio, ponctuée notamment par un solo de basse de viole du virtuose Ronald Martin Alonso...
Chapelle Royale de Versailles - Cappella Mediterranea - Leonardo García Alarcón.
Arts et Lettres / apr. 2018
Quant à la viole de Ronald Martin Alonso, elle exprime toute sa richesse dans le Prélude La Soligni (Marin Marais)… Il nous tient également en haleine sur une pièce de Tobias Hume… Sa virtuosité est indubitable…
Festival de Froville, Baroquiades / jul. 2018