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In the press

Der Freischütz by Weber


“Laurence Equilbey (at the projects’ origin) is conducting her ensemble Insula orchestra. From the beginning, the sonority of the period instruments reminds us of how important is the orchestra as a full character of an opera. The winds’ low register that Weber was particularly fond off are neat, as well as the different timbres alliances.”
Véronique Boudier, Olyrix, 4 March 2019


« The Insula orchestra is not lacking any colours or contrasts. The orchestra is surpassing itself under the brilliant conducting of its musical director Laurence Equilbey. Her Freischütz is full of density, vitality.”
Christophe Candoni, Sceneweb, 5 March 2019


“The orchestra itself was responsive to each and every subtlety thanks to the direction of Equilbey. The standard of performance on period instruments was astonishing, especially the horns.”
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 12 March 2019


« Musically speaking, one should be delighted by the warm sonorities of the orchestra and the quality of the chorus.”
N.B., La Libre Belgique, 14 March 2019


CD Beethoven, Piano Concertos No. 4 and 5


“Thanks in part to Laurence Equilbey’s light and flexible touch, piano and orchestra sometimes seem like a single entity; […] the Concerto as a whole exudes charm.”
Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine, January 2019


“Equilbey keeps things lean and flowing, underpinned by characterful timpani.
Equilbey coaxes plenty of energy from the orchestra, achieving a real one-in-a-bar feel.”
Harriet Smith, Gramophone, December 2018


“The Beethoven – the Fourth Piano Concerto – is well worth hearing for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s played by the estimable Nicholas Angelich and second, it’s played on a Pleyel instrument of the day and partnered by Laurence Equilbey’s lively Insula orchestra.”
James Jolly’s Listening Room, Gramophone, October 2018


“The instrument [a Pleyel piano] has soft sonorities but it doesn’t lack power either. Its refined and crystal-clear timbre matches very well with Insula orchestra’s a bit more acidulous sounds. It paves the way for a homogeneous and original interpretation.”
Jérôme Bastianelli, Diapason, November 2018


“The orchestra and its conductor show that the research for historic fact is not incompatible with the research for a rich colour palette.”
“Laurence Equilbey forges this kind of intensity.”
Melissa Khong, Classica, November 2018


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, The 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, The 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 ☆☆☆☆


“That sound, rough and subtle at once, was a boon in Farrenc’s big G minor symphony of 1847, which we heard later in the main concert alongside Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.
[…] The romanticism of Berlioz seems to have passed her by. But it was full of engaging inventions, like the urgent irregular rhythms of the first movement, and the scurrying helter-skelter of the Scherzo. Most impressive was the finale, which negotiated a complex but persuasive path between minor key grandeur and major key radiance. It’s clearly a fine piece; all it needs now is to be heard, many times. ”
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 9 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 und 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’oeuvres


“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


“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


“The scenography [is] organised around a crane-aquarium […], big panels serving as movable screens for projections, tablet computers used sometimes as scores and sometimes as fragments of an animated set, costumes with integrated LEDs, and a collection of big white helium balloons. The use of these balloons as a surface for screening gives moments of pure enchantment, as well as the spatialisation of the choir singers, who come twice close to the audience.”

Sophie Bourdais, Télérama, 13 May 2017


“The sound is full embodied and warm in the new hall. The equilibrium between the founded by Laurence Equilbey accentus chorus, the three soloists and the orchestra is well-balanced. Instrumental and vocal sounds blend in well with each other. Also the sharpness drawn by the conductor is well carried by the acoustics, nothing is forced.”

Georg Rudiger, Badische Zeitung, 17 May 2017


“It is a real Creation that the Catalan group La Fura dels Baus has staged. Carlus Padrissa’s design is rich in images, both political and philosophical.”

Peter Jarolin, Kurier, 17 May 2017


“Everything was presented with an astonishing technical precision, but also with a taste for effects and poetry. This magical theatre delights the audience in spinning images, in which the singers and their illuminated costumes look like angels and spirits. The audience was enthusiastic.”

Von Karlheinz Roschitz, Kronen Zeitung Gesamt, 17 May 2017


“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


Web-series Mozart Matrix


” At the end, we feel the potential of this kind of web-series in order to seduce a new public. And, above all, the videos encourage the public to listen to the music, or even to come to a concert. (…) Insula orchestra appears as a pioneer in the world of classical music, but the ensemble has been rejoined by numerous actors of the sector.”
Victor Tribot Laspière, France Musique, 12 December 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.(…) Insula Orchestra, with its transparent timbres, the outstanding quality of its individual musicians, and the 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.”
Pierre Degott, ResMusica, 7 November 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 October 2016

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