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Press review

The Creation in New York (Lincoln Center)

“Ms. Equilbey drew lithe, impressively natural playing from the excellent orchestra. And the great final chorus of praise, a stirring fugue, could not have been better.”
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 20 July 2018

“The production is proof of Ms. Equilbey’s stubbornly individual approach to leading her orchestra, the resident ensemble at La Seine Musicale, the egg-shaped wood-and-glass performance center that opened last year on the Île Seguin, an island on the Seine just west of Paris. She has made a name for herself by tenaciously embarking on unusual projects like “The Creation”, embracing technology, and programming neglected repertoire, particularly the work of female composers.”
Roslyn Sulcas, New York Times, 18 July 2018

“The period-instrument Insula orchestra, led by Laurence Equilbey, brought clarity and rhythmic definition to sections of the score […]; the featured solos, particularly the flute representing the nightingale’s song, were delightful. The fine choir, accentus, did its best work when it was allowed to stand still onstage.”
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal, 23 July 2018

“Laurence Equilbey, an intellectually powerful conductor with probing insight into the psychological nature of music, clearly knows how to rehearse and mold a performance. She is the founder of period instrument Insula Orchestra and the chamber chorus accentus. She excels at bringing out the spirit of the Haydn’s music.”
“This is what historically informed performance practice is really about: learning where the expression, and contrast, lives in the music.”
“Equilbey’s Insula Orchestra plays beautifully, with a rich sound, and lacking the mannerism and stiffness that can sometimes weigh down period instrument ensembles.”
Brian Taylor, ZealNyc, 23 July 2018

 

La Nonne sanglante

“In the pit, Laurence Equilbey knows exactly how to combine flexibility and energy to obtain an exemplary commitment from Insula orchestra.”
Pierre Gervasoni, Le Monde, 4 June 2018 

“Choir accentus very well prepared, vigorous Insula orchestra [...], hard-headed conducting by Laurence Equilbey: that is all you need to awake the dead!”
Philippe Venturini, Les Echos, 6 June 2018

“[La Nonne sanglante] has a surprising force and it packed a punch in this production at the Opéra Comique. An outstanding cast was led with dazzling eloquence by the American bel canto tenor Michael Spyres. [...] And the conductor Laurence Equilbey was equally impressive, with her period band Insula being a warm, responsive presence in the pit.”
Michael White, Catholic Herald, 15 June 2018

“Equilbey and Insula offered depth and richness, painting sonic slashes of red through Bobee’s monochromes, and balancing the heady brilliance and agility of Spyres’ tenor with meaty instrumental weight.”
Alexandra Coghan, The Arts Desk, 24 June 2018 

“In the pit, Insula orchestra and its conductor Laurence Equilbey give life to the score with sharpness and energy, maintaining tension and emotion from the first to the last bar. The very rich color palette benefits from a somptuous finish given by the period instruments.”
Jean-Marc Piriou, Bachtrack, 09 June 2018

“At the Opéra Comique, David Bobée and Laurence Equilbey give an exquisite version [of La Nonne sanglante], fresh and invigorating.”
Sylvain Merle, Le Parisien, 10 June 2018

 

Beethoven | Farrenc

“The Insula orchestra is a very chic Parisian period-instrument band whose founder-conductor Laurence Equilbey is developing a reputation for smart programming.”
“Equilbey set cracking speeds, especially for the scampering scherzo, and let the timpanist off the leash to thunderous effect in the finale.”
Richard Morrison, The Times, 12 March 2018 ☆☆☆☆

“..the score is so well written that it deserves a prominent place in the history of the early Romantic symphony. Equilbey and the Insula orchestra gave it a fleet, fiery performance. Their crusading spirit lived up to the day’s billing.”
Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, 10 March 2018 ☆☆☆☆

“Equilbey’s grip on balance was crucial in bringing out the dynamics between woodwinds and the rest of the orchestra, the strings never in danger of dominating and producing a more nuanced sound as result. Equilbey trimmed any fat with tight pacing and forceful contributions from the timpani gave the performance an added kick.
(…) Equilbey has made a valid case for this symphony and it is likely that we will be hearing Farrenc’s name a little more often in London.”
Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack, 10 March 2018 ☆☆☆☆

 

CD Schubert – Nacht & Träume

“ The recorded sound is mellow and detailed, giving an excellent sense of both the voices and the vivid playing of the Insula orchestra. Very warmly recommended.”
Hugo Shirley, Gramophone, December 2017

“ The Insula orchestra sounds warm and colourful in this intriguing, beautifully conceived recording.”
Natacha Loges, BBC Music Magazine, November 2017

“They broaden the colour and theatricality, while at the same time respecting the intimacy of the originals.”
“Intelligently organised sequence, it works really well.”
Andrew McGregor, “Record Review”, BBC Radio 3, December 2017

 

Last chefs-d’œuvre

“ Insula orchestra shows its infallible and agile strings, its shiny and supple woodwinds.”
Patrick de Maria, La Marseillaise, 2 December 2017

“ A passionate performance well served by the orchestra’s unique sound.”
Michel Egea, Destimed, 2 décembre 2017

 

La Seine Musicale’s inaugural concerts

“ This concert is designed after (Laurence Equilbey’s) project. Modern, unexpected, elegant.”
Thierry Hillériteau, Le Figaro, 24 April 2017

“In any case, Equilbey’s programming and presentation ideas are anything but insular. The orchestra is a period-instrument ensemble, but she compensates for its limitations in repertoire by spanning the art forms, with cinema, theatre and dance elements integrated into the concerts.”
Richard Morrison, The Times, 24 April 2017

“ The true ceremony master is a mistress : the conductor Laurence Equilbey, founder of Insula orchestra. She promised a suprise programme. It is also a bold choice : long extracts from Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, in its German Sigspiel version, Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe, with a brilliant cast of French soloists.”
Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde, 27 April 2017

“Laurence Equilbey, whose conducting is getting more and more supple, has at her disposal a very high level ensemble, which shows in Der Freischütz powerful and theatrical sound effects. “
Richard Martet, Opéra Magazine, May 2017

 

The Creation

“With her direction, Equilbey never gets to the foreground in Vienna. Her gestures might seem scarce, but very distinctive. 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 didn’t lack anything and nothing got overpowered. Above all, she keeps instruments and voices in an unrestrained balance, taking neither the choir nor the singers.”
Reinhard Bembreck, Suddeutsche Zeitung, 18 May 2017

“And what a musical delight! Conducted in a lively and precise way by Laurence Equilbey, Insula orchestra shows with prodigality the rich and evocative nature of Haydn’s music. We find ourselves shivering when the light begins, with a skilful crescendo effect, in the middle of the floating Chaos”.
Sophie Bourdais, Télérama, 13 May 2017

“Insula Orchestra shows that it has come of age with a spring in its step. This symphonic genesis, far more than just seven days’ work, owes much to the leadership of Laurence Equilbey, whose intelligence serves music that is at once intimate and grandiose. With suppleness, sense of colour, dramaturgical sensibility, and precision, her conducting is more relaxed, and has gained in magnitude.”
Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde, 16 March 2017

“The musicians of Insula orchestra, led by conductor Laurence Equilbey, underscore 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.”
Jean-Rémi Barland, La Provence, 16 March 2017

 

Boxset accentus – the a cappella Recordings, Naïve

“We probably owe to Laurence Equilbey, the founder of the accentus choir in 1991, the act of (re)birth of the a cappella choral music in France. In a few decades, the undertaking choir master has not only filled a void but also created an increasing interest in the discography and especially revealed to the audience whole sections of Poulenc, Richard Strauss and Rachmaninov repertoire.”
Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde, 09/12/2016

 

Night and dreams

“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.(…) 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.”
Pierre Degott, ResMusica, 07/11/2016

 

Travel and love

“Since a few years, Insula orchestra imposed itself as one of the best ensembles playing on period instruments. (…) The strings are playing in one voice, almost as the signature of Insula orchestra, since it is a constant in the playing of the ensemble. The conducting of Laurence Equilbey seems inhabited and allows a creativity in the instant”.
Florence Michel, ResMusica, 18/10/2016

 

Lucio Silla

” Not for nothing Laurence Equilbey refers to her proximity to Nikolaus Harnoncourt ( ” he was an alchemist ” ). She managed to unfold a wide array of colours from the historic instruments of the excellent Insula Orchestra and she demonstrates a true passion for music. The evening ends in a thunder of applause. This ” Lucio Silla ” could flourish in Vienna.”
Ernst Strobl, Salzburger Nachrichten

“Insula orchestra played Mozart’s intricate score with élan and sensitivity. The many sforzando and fortepiano markings were meticulously observed and there was admirable attention to orchestral detail. Period brass were excitingly raspy and the strings had a bright sonority which the excellent acoustics of the house displayed to the utmost.”
Jonathan Sutherland, Bachtrack

” The Insula orchestra under Laurence Equilbey also makes a stand. From the first bars, the brass grabs you, as do modeled accents in the higher strings.”
The Writing is on the Wall: “Lucio Silla” at Theater an der Wien by Anik LaChev

 

Barock +

“With a constant informed historical approach , the french conductor Laurence Equilbey conducts the excellent choir and the soloists in a high quality performance ”
Harald Budweg, FAZ Rhein-Main-Zeitung; 29/12/2015

“A french choir that celebrates a German victory : it is a symbol of friendship and understanding between people. Presentation of rare works.”
“Men from accentus choir in particular [...] give real pleasure with their vigorous voices and a perfect German pronunciation”
“The HR-Sinfonieorchester was inspired by a fine sound, under the direction of the guest conductor”
Michael Dellith, Frankfurter Neue Presse, 19/12/2015