Instruments of Then, Spirit of Today
Founded in 2012 by Laurence Equilbey with support from the Département des Hauts-de-Seine, the Insula Orchestra is in residence at La Seine Musicale on Ile Seguin--an island in La Seine just a few miles downstream from Paris. The orchestra is in charge of part of the 1,150-seater auditorium’s programming and invites numerous ensembles and artists. The Insula Orchestra shines both in France and abroad, in major venues and prestigious festivals: Philharmonie de Paris, Essen, Warsaw, Salzburg's Mozart Week, Theater an der Wien, Basel Stadtcasino, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Barbican Centre, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Lincoln Center.
Performed on period instruments, the Insula Orchestra’s artistic project is built around a repertoire ranging mainly from the Baroque to the Romantic eras. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Weber form naturally the core of this repertoire with symphonic programmes as well as programmes with choir and soloists. Its historically-rigorous approach and the artistic innovation it develops make it a major ensemble of our time.
The orchestra has developed a comprehensive, innovative programme of cultural and educational initiatives across its home base in the Hauts-de-Seine department. It revisits and reconsiders the formats and codes of classical music with the aim of drawing in new audiences, creating an ongoing dialogue between symphonic music, the spatial dimension of the venue and the stage. The orchestra associates each programme with a constellation of new digital, artistic and educational forms, featuring clips and web series that resonate with our times and expand the artistic content of the project. 2021 will see the creation of a resource centre to share the orchestra's musical and scientific research, with a vast number of pedagogical and digital resources.
The Insula Orchestra regularly concertizes staged productions, notably Weber's Der Freischütz with the Cie of new magic 14:20, Mozart's Requiem with Yoann Bourgeois, Schumann's La nuit des rois with Antonin Baudry, and Haydn's Creation, among many others… Insula Orchestra pays particular attention to vocal soloists as well, with artists such as Sandrine Piau, Werner Güra, Franco Fagioli and Ann Hallenberg. The orchestra also performs with prestigious soloists on period instruments such as violinist Antoine Tamestit and pianists Abdel Rahman El Bacha and Kristian Bezuidenhout.
The first recordings of the Insula Orchestra - Mozart’s Requiem (naïve, 2014), Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (Deutsche Grammophon, 2015), Mozart’s Coronation Mass (Warner Classics – Erato, 2017) and Schubert’s Lieder with orchestra (Warner Classics – Erato, 2017) – were all highly successful. To celebrate Beethoven’s anniversary, the Insula Orchestra and Laurence Equilbey release two albums dedicated to the composer: Piano Concertos N° 4 & 5 with Nicholas Angelich as well as Triple Concerto and Choral Fantasy with Bertrand Chamayou, Alexandra Conunova, Natalie Clein, David Kadouch and Accentus Choir.
Laurence Equilbey, Artistic & Music Director
Founded more than 20 years ago by current Artistic Director Laurence Equilbey, the Accentus Choir is dedicated to the performance of major a cappella repertoire as well as contemporary creations, oratorios, and operas.
The choir appears at leading French and international festivals and regularly collaborates with prestigious conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Anders Nilsson, Eric Ericson, Christoph Eschenbach; and orchestras Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Les Siècles, Concerto Köln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Insula Orchestra, etc. It has participated in a variety of operatic productions ranging from world premieres - Pascal Dusapin’s Perelà, uomo di fumo and Matthias Pintscher’s L’Espace dernier at the Paris Opera - to standard repertoire such as Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Léo Delibes’ Lakmé, Reynaldo Hahn’s Ciboulette at Opéra Comique, among many others.
The Accentus Choir enjoys an important residence at Opéra de Rouen Normandie where it regularly performs in concert as well as in opera productions as the chorus. The ensemble is also privileged to be a partner with the Philharmonie de Paris. Since 2009, accentus has an ongoing collaboration with Orchestre de chambre de Paris. Christophe Grapperon is Associate Conductor of the choir since 2013.
Accentus records for Naïve; all of its recordings have received wide critical acclaim. The CD “Transcriptions” - with sales of over 130,000 - was a 2004 Grammy Award nominee in addition to receiving a Disque d’Or in 2008. Other notable releases include: Mozart’s Requiem with the Insula Orchestra in 2014, followed by Félicien David’s Le Désert and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with Orchestre de chambre de Paris in January 2015; Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice with Franco Fagioli (Deutsche Grammophon – Archiv Produktion 2015); Haydn's Creation on DVD (Naxos 2018); Beethoven: Canons & Musical Jokes (Warner Classics - Erato 2019); and Saint-Saëns's Le Timbre d'argent with Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth (2020).
Accentus was voted Ensemble of the Year in the Victoires de la Musique Classique in 2002, 2005, and 2008.