Al Ayre Español was founded in 1988 by Eduardo López Banzo with the objective of avoiding the mistaken clichés that often surrounded the performance of Spanish baroque music. The spirit of the ensemble made this possible thanks to musicological rigor, performance excellence and with the main purpose of giving new breath to music from the past, making them appear as recent compositions, and then offering them to the contemporary audience.
The name of the ensemble was inspired by the title for a guitar Fugue of the Calanda (Aragón) composer, Gaspar Sanz. In this Fugue he indicated the musician to play with "ayre español" (in the Spanish way). Unfortunately, precisely what that meant has remained in the 17th Century.
With the passing of the time, Al Ayre Español has become not only a prestigious ensemble, but moreover a performance philosophy, finally giving meaning to the Gaspar Sanz's indication. This has been achieved through lot of reflection, performance and mastery. Al Ayre Español is now a way of performing and enjoying music that Eduardo López Banzo has being creating as a work-in-progress, recognisable, requested and acclaimed all over the world, and for all these reasons was awarded the 2004 Spanish National Music Prize. The fact that Al Ayre Español is more than a specialised early music ensemble, that represents the musical philosophy "al ayre español", has allowed the project to be flexible. This has made it possible to adapt itself to different formats, as a orchestra -acknowledged by its performances of Handel and Bach- and lately as a classical-romantic orchestra -with opera and concert performances of Haydn and Mozart.
Al Ayre Español has performed on the most prestigious stages: Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Düsseldorf's Tonhalle, Berlin's Konzerthaus, Paris' Théatre des Champs Elysées and Cite de la Musique de París, Madrid's Teatro Real and Auditorio Nacional, Barelona's Palau de la Musica Catalana and Gran Teatre del Liceu ,Valencia's Palau de la Música, Hamburg's Leiszhalle, Washington's Library of Congress, Brussels' Palais des Beaux Arts, Metz's Arsenal, Lisbon's Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Bilbao's Palacio Euskalduna, Rome's Teatro Olimpico, etc.
Al Ayre Español has also been invited to some of the most important festivals: Baden Baden Easter Festival, Bachstpiele Leipzig, Oude Muziek Utrecht, Internationale Festtage Alter Musik Stuttgart, Scheleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Dresdner Musikfestpiele, Toulouse les Orgues, Festival de Música Religiosa de Cuenca, Festival de Música Antigua de Aranjuez, Festival d'Ambronay, Handel Festspiele Halle, Festival Internationa d'Opera Baroque de Beaune, Festival de Saintes, Festival Internacional Cervantino (México), Festival Monteverdi de Cremona, Israel's Authentical, Festival Via Stellae de Santiago de Compostela, Moscow's Antiquarium Festival, etc.
Al Ayre Español has recorded for the labels Almaviva, Fidelio, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Harmonia Mundi, Naïve-Ambroisie and Challenge. Al Ayre Español's recordings have been awarded the Choq anual de Le Monde de la Musique, Diapason d'Or, 10 Répertoire and Telerama (France); Editor's Choice (Gramophone, London), CD Compact (Barcelona) and Fono Forum (Germany).
Upcoming events of Al Ayre Español are its debut in Asia (Singapore and Hong-Kong) in 2011, its debut in the Berlin Philarmonie, Ibermusica Season (Madrid's Auditorio Nacional) and Krakow's Mistheria Paschalia Festival (Poland).