Laurence Equilbey

Artistic Director, accentus choir and Insula orchestra



Laurence Equilbey’s Mozart Requiem earns rave reviews

Laurence Equilbey’s Mozart Requiem earns rave reviews

Directing her own Accentus choir and Insula orchestra, Laurence Equilbey’s performances of Mozart’s Requiem have earned superb reviews in Seen and Heard International and Concerti: “The Insula Orchestra was on top form, supplicatory phrases sculpted rather than conducted by Equilbey, but also capable of the greatest invocations of terror But the main protagonist, and the ...

Laurence Equilbey in Seen and Heard International

Laurence Equilbey in Seen and Heard International

Conductor Laurence Equilbey has earned a glowing review in Seen and Heard International for her performances of Weber’s Der Freischütz in Aix-en-Provence, France, last week  Colin Clark describes a powerful performance that is “played from the heart and cast from strength”, as Equilbey directed her own Insula Orchestra and accentus choir “A staging of incredible insight ...


Conductor and musical director of Insula orchestra and accentus, Laurence Equilbey is acknowledged for her demanding yet open-minded approach to her art.

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.

Laurence Equilbey has recently conducted Haydn’s Die Schöpfung staged by La Fura dels Baus (Grand Théâtre de Provence, La Seine Musicale, Theater an der Wien, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Elbphilharmonie), Britten’s Albert Herring (Opéra de Rouen Normandie and Opéra Comique), Sous apparence ballet by Marie-Agnès Gillot (Opéra de Paris), Reynaldo Hahn’s Ciboulette and Gounod’s Bloody Nun (Opéra Comique). This season, she prepares both innovative stage projects (the original fragments of Mozart’s Requiem with Yoann Bourgeois) and operas (Weber’s Der Freischütz with the Cie 14:20).  She is an associate artist of the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix-en-Provence and has a privileged relationship with the Paris Philharmonie.

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.


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.
- Bachtrack
 (Suzanne Lay-Canessa)
, 2018
[Laurence Equilbey] conducted the Gulbenkian Orchestra with energy, without being authoritarian, producing a very beautifully balanced sound.
- Olyrix
 (Violette Renié)
, 2018
Conductor Laurence Equilbey, with flowing elegance, gives a very spiritual and solemn interpretation of the work [Brahms German Requiem], with no hint of pomposity.
- Olyrix
 (Violette Renié)
, 2018
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'.
- Olyrix
 (Violette Renié)
, 2018
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.
- Süddeutsche Zeitung
 (Reinhard J. Brembeck)
, 2017
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.
- Süddeutsche Zeitung
 (Reinhard J. Brembeck)
, 2017
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 Arts Desk
 (David Nice)
, 2017
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.
- concerti.de
 (Peter Krause)
, 2017
[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.
- Gramophone
 (Tim Ashley)
, 2017
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.
- Badische Zeitung
 (Georg Rudiger)
, 2017
A passionate performance well-served by the orchestra’s unique sound.
- Destimed
 (Michel Egea)
, 2017
Laurence Equilbey…has at her disposal a very high level ensemble, which shows in Der Freischütz powerful and theatrical sound effects.
- Opéra Magazine
 (Richard Martet)
, 2017
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.
- Süddeutsche Zeitung
 (Reinhard Bembreck)
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.
- Le Monde
 (Marie-Aude Roux)
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.
- La Provence
 (Jean-Rémi Barland)
, 2017
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.
- ResMusica
 (Pierre Degott)
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.
- Financial Times
 (Hannah Nepil)
, 2015
Equilbey maintained light but effective control over all three pieces, encouraging her orchestra to display its range of colour with skill and confidence.
- Guardian
 (George Hall)
, 2015


Released February 2017

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
Insula orchestra
Laurence Equilbey, conductor

Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice
Version originale de Vienne (1762)
Libretto: Rainero de Calzabigi

including : 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.