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Her exploration of the symphonic repertory has seen her conducting the orchestras of BBC Wales, Hessischer Rundfunk, Lyon, Bucarest, Liège, Leipzig, Brussels Philharmonic, Copenhagen, Gulbenkian, Café Zimmermann, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Concerto Köln, Camerata Salzburg, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and many others.
In 2012, with support from the Département des Hauts-de-Seine, she founded Insula orchestra, an ensemble devoted to the Classical and pre-Romantic repertory who perform on period instruments. The orchestra is in residence in a new artistic venue, La Seine Musicale, designed by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines on Île Seguin, close to Paris, and is in charge of selecting part of the programme for the 1,150-seater Auditorium.
Under Laurence Equilbey’s Artistic Direction, accentus interprets great vocal music repertoire, ranging from a cappella works to stage productions and from Baroque to Contemporary periods. Laurence Equilbey supports contemporary creation. She is also Artistic Director and Director of Education at the Department for Young Singers at the Paris Conservatory.
The extensive recorded work of accentus has received wide critical acclaim. With Insula orchestra, Laurence Equilbey has recorded Mozart’s Requiem (naïve, 2014), Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (Deutsche Grammophon, 2015), Mozart’s Coronation Mass (Warner Classics – Erato, 2017), Schubert’s Lieder with orchestra (Warner Classics – Erato, 2017). In December 2017, Comala was released, recorded in Copenhagen with the Danish National Choir and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
This season, for Beethoven’s birthday, Laurence Equilbey and Insula orchestra dedicate two records to the composer (Warner Classics–Erato): the first one with Nicholas Angelich, the second with accentus, Bertrand Chamayou, Alexandra Conunova, Natalie Clein and David Kadouch.
Laurence Equilbey studied music in Paris, Vienna and London, and conducting notably with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Eric Ericson, Denise Ham, Colin Metters and Jorma Panula.
In celebration of International Women's Day, on 7 March 2020 French conductor Laurence Equilbey...
Laurence Equilbey conducts the Royal Northern Sinfonia in an all-Schubert programme at The Sage...
Following her critically acclaimed concert in 2018, Laurence Equilbey returns to the Barbican...
“Not only does the programme combine two works which are greatly appreciated by music-lovers [Dvořák Biblical Songs and Brahms German Requiem], it also shows real intelligence, with personal rather than simply national interpretations of their spirituality.”
“[Laurence Equilbey] conducted the Gulbenkian Orchestra with energy, without being authoritarian, producing a very beautifully balanced sound.”
“Conductor Laurence Equilbey, with flowing elegance, gives a very spiritual and solemn interpretation of the work [Brahms German Requiem], with no hint of pomposity.”
“The final movement was magnificent, with very beautiful nuanced singing from the choir, as they reach the particularly moving silence following the last note. The almost-full auditorium responded with fully-deserved enthusiastic applause and cries of ‘bravo’.”
“Equilbey likes brisk tempi, but always with room for nuances, atmosphere, variation and warmth. In addition, she structured this one-and-a-half-hour performance as a rounded narrative, with nothing lacking and nothing overpowered. Above all, she kept both instruments and voices in total balance.”
“Equilbey is tough and has vision. One can tell by listening to her recordings of the Brahms Requiem or the “Seven Last Words” by Haydn. With accentus, she favours a flexible and dark sound for the choir and holds all the voices perfectly in balance. The upper voices do not dominate and one can hear very clearly the middle voices and other details; this was also the case in Vienna. Equilbey’s trademark is a wonderful amalgam of French and German aesthetics, combining unsentimental clarity and profound feeling.”
“This was exactly the inaugural kick the opening needed, and I doubt if anyone in the hall didn’t rejoice at the encore of this early (1808) Ode to Joy.”
“The acoustics of the Seine Musicale are simply excellent […] Insula orchestra played with great vitality throughout. Rarely has Mozart been performed more accurately than by Laurence Equilbey and her splendid musicians.”
“[About Gluck’s Orfeo Ed Euridice CD] Equilbey and the Insula orchestra are painstaking in their re-creation of Gluck’s original sound world: period strings and brass underscore the harshness of Orfeo’s isolation where the warmer sound of conventional instruments tends to console. Speeds are brisk, but in veering away from Muti-like solemnity.”
“The sound is full-bodied and warm in the new hall. The equilibrium between accentus chorus, founded by Laurence Equilbey, the three soloists and the orchestra is well-balanced. Instrumental and vocal sounds are well blended. Also the sharpness drawn by the conductor is well carried by the acoustics; nothing is forced.”
“A passionate performance well-served by the orchestra’s unique sound.”
“Laurence Equilbey…has at her disposal a very high level ensemble, which shows in Der Freischütz powerful and theatrical sound effects.”
“She likes speedy tempi, but always leaves room for nuances, atmosphere, variation and warmth. In addition, she structures this one-and-a-half hour performance as a rounded narrative, which lacked nothing and nothing was overpowered. Above all, she holds the instruments and voices in an unrestrained balance, allowing neither the choir nor the singers to dominate.”
“The master of ceremonies is a mistress: the conductor Laurence Equilbey, founder of Insula orchestra. She promised a surprise programme. It is also a bold choice: long extracts from Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, in its German Singspiel version, Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe, with a brilliant cast of French soloists.”
“The musicians of Insula orchestra, led by conductor Laurence Equilbey, bring out all the nuances in the score with a formal lightness of touch that only serves to magnify the work. Equilbey, in a state of grace, conducts weightlessly, discernibly illustrating the influence of Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach on Haydn’s writing.”
“Insula Orchestra and Laurence Equilbey gave a very fine concert of music by Schubert, featuring a version of the Unfinished Symphony of a quality that one would like to hear more often.(…) Insula Orchestra, with its transparent timbres, the outstanding quality of its individual musicians, and myriad dynamic variations at its fingertips, literally enchanted the audience at the Metz Arsenal, accustomed to more heavyweight symphony orchestra formats. The size of the main auditorium at the Arsenal in no way impaired the legibility of the immensely subtle interpretation led by Laurence Equilbey, absolutely on top of her game. The quality of the treatment, creating the impression that one was hearing the premiere of a piece that one yet felt one knew by heart, seems to definitively inter the controversy about the need, or otherwise, to play the nineteenth century repertory on period instruments.”
“Laurence Equilbey’s ensemble, hailing from Paris, showcases the best in period-instrument performance: lithe playing that forces us to sit up and pay attention to long-neglected……works.”
“Equilbey maintained light but effective control over all three pieces, encouraging her orchestra to display its range of colour with skill and confidence.”
Released 2017 on Dacapo
Niels Gade (1817-1890), Comala
Danish national Choir
Danish national Symphony Orchestra
Laurence Equilbey, conductor
Orfeo ed Euridice
Franco Fagioli, Orfeo
Malin Hartelius, Euridice
Emmanuelle de Negri, Amore
Laurence Equilbey, conductor
Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice
Version originale de Vienne (1762)
Libretto: Rainero de Calzabigi
Orpheo, highlights of versions for Vienna and Paris (1774)
Deutsche Grammophon (Archiv Produktion)
CD 1: ORPHEO – Highlights of the versions for Vienna (1762) and Paris (1774)
CD 2 & CD 3: Orfeo ed Euridice – original version (vienna 1762)
French release September 18, 2015. International release September 11, 2015.