The academies of the Early Modern Age were the natural environment of Renaissance humanism. Medieval universities, attached to scholasticism and focused on professional disciplines (law, medicine, theology) were unable to adapt to the humanistic trends. The studia humanitatis, renewed liberal arts (grammar, rethoric, literature, history and philosophy) based on the direct study of sources (greek and latin classics) and relatively independent of the authority of scholastic orthodoxy engendered thus the academy as alternative forum for the interchange of ideas.
The XVIth and XVIIth centuries saw how the academies turned also into centres of the arts, overcoming the guild learning system. Often, the more literarily inclined academies adopted fantastic and extravagant names, such as in Italy the Accademia degli Svegliati (“of the awakened ones”), Accademia degli Intronati (“of the stupefied ones”), Accademia degli Eterei (“of the ethereal ones”), Accademia degli Invaghiti (“of the ones in love”), Accademia degli Infiammati (“of the inflamed ones”)… Many academies exerted strong influence in the music of their times, becoming cradle of genres like the madrigal or baroque opera. This is the case of the Invaghiti, who in 1607 sponsored the Orfeo of Claudio Monteverdi.
Today our ensemble takes name from one of the most famous literary academies of the Spanish Golden Age, the Academia de los Nocturnos, briefly active in the end of the XVIth century in the city of Valencia (more about it in the Spanish Wikipedia), as we strive for reviving both the direct approach to the sources and the independence from orthodoxy of those humanists, doubtlessly the best way to discover (and uncover) the beauties of the past.