While Christina Pluhar established a highly successful career as a multi-faceted instrumentalist in early music and Baroque repertory, she has come to be identified in the 21st century as the founder and music director of the vocal/instrumental ensemble L'Arpeggiata. Not surprisingly, Pluhar leads this group in similar repertory, but with a focus on Italian fare and with the infusion of jazz and folk elements. Pluhar has mastered several different though similar instruments: Baroque guitar, Renaissance lute, archlute, theorbo, and Baroque harp. She has appeared in performance playing them, both as soloist and continuo player, throughout Europe, the U.K., and Australia and with many famous early music ensembles such as Concerto Köln and La Fenice. She has appeared both as soloist and with L'Arpeggiata on numerous recordings for such labels as Alpha Productions, EMI, and Naïve.
Christina Pluhar was born in Graz, Austria, in 1965. She studied lute at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, where her teachers included Toyohiko Satoh. She had further studies with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, and Mara Galassi at the Scuola Civica di Milano.
Pluhar moved to Paris in 1992 and began performing regularly with such ensembles as Les Musiciens du Louvre, La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and many others. From 1993, she conducted master classes at Graz University, and from 1999 has served as professor of Baroque harp at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
Throughout the 1990s Pluhar steadily built her performance career and in 2000 founded L'Arpeggiata. Based in Paris, the ensemble, consisting of about ten members, performs on original instruments, despite its jazz and folk additions.
Pluhar chose some of the finest artists in Europe as members, including Italian folk singer Lucilla Galeazzi, Baroque guitarist Marcello Vitale, and cornettist Doron David Sherwin. She led L'Arpeggiata virtually to overnight success with its first CD, La Villanella (a collection of Giovanni Kapsberger vocal works), issued to great acclaim the year it was founded.
From 2007, Pluhar has led L'Arpeggiata in joint concerts with such ensembles as the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Concerts in Sydney that year and a return appearance in 2010 were highly praised affairs. Among Pluhar's more acclaimed recordings is her 2011 Virgin Classics CD of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine, with L'Arpeggiata.