The ensemble LA GIOIA ARMONICA was founded by Margit Übellacker and Jürgen Banholzer. A main focus of the ensemble’s work is the exploration of the baroque repertoire for the dulcimer, and in particular for the italian salterio and for the legendary pantaleon. The size of the ensemble ranges from the salterio-harpsichord duo to larger formations, in which musicians specialising in early music performance practice join forces to produce lively and fresh performances of unknown or rarely performed works of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Since the release of its first recording (Antonio Caldara: Cantate, Sonate ed Arie on the Ramée label), which won several prizes, the ensemble has been invited to give concerts at home and abroad, including appearances at Ton Koopman’s Festival Itinéraire Baroque, the Handel Festival in Halle, the Bach Festival Dordrecht, the Bach Festival Tallinn, the Festival de Musique Ancienne in Leytron, the Early Music Festival in Timisoara, Bagnacavallo Classica, the Mitteldeutsche Heinrich Schütz Tage, the Fugato Organ Festival in Bad Homburg, OrgelPlus in Bottrop, the concert series of the Staatliches Musikinstrumentenmuseum in Berlin and the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Mainz. Music by the ensemble was used in prominent place for the acclaimed French film "Mademoiselle de Joncquières" (Eng: "Lady J", based on an episode from Diderot's "Jacques le fataliste"), which was released in 2018.
Critics not only praise the musicality, virtuosity and delightful range of instrumental colours in the ensemble's performances, they also repeatedly highlight the quality of the compositions, which the ensemble has presented in several world premiere recordings. The 2013 CD Portus felicitatis, dedicated to the Viennese court composer Johann Georg Reutter, was called "wonderfully revelatory" by BBC Music Magazine. The 2017 CD Conserva me Domine (with countertenor Terry Wey) was said to cast a new and extremely favourable light on composers such as Benedetto Marcello and Padre Martini. The two duo CDs Per il Salterio (2021) and Hebenstreit's Bach (2022) were described as "fascinating", "thrilling", "magical", "enchanting" and "beguiling".