Italian harpsichordist Sergio Vartolo began working in the 1970s throughout Europe as a continuo player, opera director, leader, and soloist; very early on he was even a countertenor working with René Clemencic and the Clemencic Consort. Despite his wide travels, Vartolo remained based in his hometown of Bologna, Italy, which is where he was educated, although he teaches at the University of Mantua. In 1996 Vartolo became maestro de capella at the Basilica de San Petronio in Bologna. Vartolo has an impressive catalog of recordings stretching back into the 1970s; his solo recordings of the music of Frescobaldi are frequently singled out for mention, as is his Harmonia Mundi disc Luzzaschi: Concerto delle Dame di Ferrara. Although he has recorded for Bongiovanni, Tactus, Fonit Cetra, and Stradivarius, the bulk of Vartolo's recorded work has been for the Naxos label.
For Naxos, Vartolo has recorded extensive surveys of works by Claudio Monteverdi, Palestrina, and Trabaci, in addition to acclaimed single discs devoted to Michelangelo Rossi and Perti, some with his Cappella Musicale di San Petronio di Bologna.