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About Accentus

The Accentus Chamber Choir, known in French as Le Choeur de Chamber Accentus, or often simply as Accentus, is one of the world's leading small choirs. The group has a wide repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary music. The French chamber choir Accentus was founded in 1991 by Laurence Equilbey, who remains its director. The group has always had 32 members. Her initial intention was to explore a cappella choral music of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the choir has continued to perform and record music from this repertoire, but over time, the group's range has broadened through collaboration with outside groups. Accentus' financial situation stabilized in 1993 when it received a grant from the Fondation France Telecom. In 1998, the choir began a long residency at the Opéra de Rouen, and it performs concerts there independently of the opera at the city's Théâtre des Arts and Chapelle Corneille. Accentus has entered into collaborative relationships with ensembles of many kinds. The choir has sung with period instrument groups, including Concerto Köln and the Akademie für alte Musik. It has also joined traditional symphony orchestras, such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, and the Orchestre de Paris, under such conductors as Christoph Eschenbach and Pierre Boulez. With Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain, the group toured the U.S. in 2000, and it has mounted many other foreign tours. Accentus has often performed contemporary music, and Equilbey formed an offshoot, Axe 21, devoted to contemporary repertoire. Accentus is especially noted for its catalog of recordings, which comprised more than 35 releases as of 2020. The choir recorded for various labels at the beginning of its career and then moved to Naïve in 2003, remaining on that label for many years. In the late 2010s, the group made several albums for Erato, and in 2020, it joined the historical-instrument group Les Siècles for a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns' early opera Le Timbre d'Argent. Accentus' recordings have earned several Diapason d'Or awards as well as a Grammy nomination. ~ James Manheim


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