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Accentus, Laurence Equilbey

Laurence Equilbey is best known as the music director and conductor of the popular chamber choir Accentus. She has led this Paris-based, 32-member group in both a cappella repertory and orchestral/choral fare, but Equilbey has also branched out, especially in the new century, regularly leading operatic performances and also conducting such well-known orchestras as the Orchestre de Paris, Lyon National Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France. In addition, she has expanded the repertory of Accentus to include transcriptions, offering such disparate fare as Wagner and Mahler lieder, Debussy's Les Angélus, Prokofiev's "Field of the Dead" from Alexander Nevsky, and many others. In 2012, Equilbey founded the period-instrument Insula Orchestra. Her recordings are available from Erato, Naïve, and Naxos, among others. In 2021, she led the Insula Orchestra in a recording of Louise Farrenc's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3. Equilbey was born in Paris on March 6, 1962. She studied choral conducting with Eric Ericson at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and also studied at conservatories in Paris and Vienna. Among her later teachers was famed conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Active mainly as a choral conductor throughout the '80s, Equilbey founded the chamber choir Accentus in 1991. Almost from the beginning, the ensemble drew critical acclaim, and its first a cappella recording, a Virgin Classics release of works by Brahms and Schumann, appeared in 1995. That year, Equilbey founded a second ensemble, the Jeune Chœur de Paris. In 2000, Equilbey was named Music Personality of the Year by the Syndicat Professionnel de la Critique. In November of that year, she took Accentus on an acclaimed 11-city debut tour of the U.S. In the new century, Equilbey has been especially active with Accentus on records, often turning out music to great critical acclaim, as with the 2001 recording of Figure Humaine and other works by Poulenc and 2007's Liszt's Via Crucis, both issued on the Naïve label. At the 2010 St. Denis Festival (near Paris), Equilbey led Accentus in an acclaimed performance of Fauré's Requiem, recorded live by Medici. In the orchestral/choral realm, Equilbey has led performances of works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and scores of others. In opera, she has conducted Mozart as well as rarely encountered fare like Britten's Albert Herring. Equilbey has also conducted many other well-known choirs, including the Berlin RIAS Kammerchor, Chapelle Royale, and the Collegium Vocale Ghent. In 2012, she founded the Insula Orchestra, a period instrument orchestra focusing on presenting orchestral and choral music from the Baroque through Romantic periods. To that end, Equilbey led Accentus and the Insula Orchestra in a 2014 recording of Mozart's Requiem on Naïve, the orchestra's debut release. On the Erato label, Equilbey and the Insula Orchestra issued Magic Mozart in 2020 and followed with a recording of Louise Farrenc's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 in 2021.
© Robert Cummings & Keith Finke /TiVo
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