Scherzi Musicali & Nicolas Achten


Biography Scherzi Musicali & Nicolas Achten


Scherzi Musicali
is considered one of the most notable young ensembles in the world of early music. It was founded and is directed by Nicolas Achten, one of the few modern classical singers to accompany himself, variously, on the lute, the harp, and the harpsichord, reviving this old practice. Adapting its size and instrumentarium to the needs of the performance situation, Scherzi Musicali brings together young singers and instrumentalists willing to rethink the approach to early music and seeking to serve it with a genuine concern for musicological relevance. While aiming to rediscover lost gems of a forgotten musical heritage, Scherzi Musicali nevertheless do not neglect the key works of the repertoire, be they secular, sacred or operatic.

Since 2006, Scherzi Musicali has performed in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, England and Germany, at the Festival van Vlaanderen, De Bijloke (including a concert with Emma Kirkby), Concertgebouw Brugge, De Singel, Bozar, Festival de Wallonie, Automne Musical de Spa, Operadagen Rotterdam, Amia Strasbourg, the Venetian Festival of Baroque Music, Tage Alter Musiek Herne, Musiekfestspiele Potsdam, etc

Conscious of its pedagogical role, Scherzi Musicali collaborates with "Jeunesses Musicales" and "Jeugd en Muziek", to put scholarly understanding of early music at the heart of educational establishments.

Scherzi Musicali has recorded five CD's, published by Outhere (Ricercar and Alpha) and Musique en Wallonie. After four recordings of works previously never released on CD — "l’Euridice" by Giulio Caccini, the album "Dulcis Amor Iesu" (motets of Giovanni Felice Sances), the album "Petits Motets" dedicated to the Brussels composer Joseph-Hector Fiocco, and Domenico Mazzocchi's "La Catena d’Adone" —, their latest recording "How pleasant 'tis to Love" is devoted to Purcell's songs.

Each of Scherzi Musicali’s records have generated genuine enthusiasm from the international press, garnering awards such as the Diapason d’or découverte, Joker (Crescendo magazine), Octaves de la Musique Classique, La clé (ResMusica), Prelude Classics Award, 4-star (Monde de la musique), Muse d'Or & Muse du mois (Muse baroque), Golden Ring (Classic Info), Outstanding (International Record Review).

Scherzi Musicali is supported by the French Community of Belgium (General Directorate for Culture, Department of Music).

Nicolas Achten
Baritone, harpsichordist, lutenist, harpist and artistic director, Nicolas Achten is a rising figure in the world of early music. Prizewinner at the VIIth International Baroque Singing Competition of Chimay in 2006, he was voted Classical Artist of 2009 at the Octaves of Music Prize, and Young Musician of the Year 2009 by the Union of the Belgian Musical Press.

Born in Brussels in 1985, he studied singing, lute, harpsichord and triple harp at the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and the Hague, and completed his training at various masterclasses, including the Académie baroque d’Ambronay and the Centre de la Voix de Royaumont.

Since 2004, Nicolas has performed with some of the most prestigious early music ensembles including l’Arpeggiata, La Fenice, La Petite Bande, Ausonia, Les Agrémens, Akadêmia, Les Talens Lyriques, il Fondamento, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Il Seminario Musicale, Le Poeme Harmonique, and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and under the direction of conductors such as Jean Tubéry, Sigiswald Kuijken, Marc Minkowski, Christophe Rousset and René Jacobs.

He is one of the few classical singers to accompany himself on various instruments, reviving this historical practice. With the intention of furthering this practice and research, he founded the ensemble Scherzi Musicali, whose concerts and recordings have been received with unanimous enthusiasm from the public and the international press. Scherzi Musicali have been awarded Diapason d’or découverte, Joker (Crescendo magazine), La clé (ResMusica), Prelude Classics Award, 4-star of (Monde de la musique), Muse d'Or, Golden Ring (Classic Info), "Outstanding" (International Record Review), etc.

Nicolas Achten is professor of Lute at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and professor of baroque Harp and baroque singing at the Académie de Woluwé-Saint-Lambert. He is musical director for Muziektheater Transparant’s summer courses, and is a regular guest professor at the University of East Anglia, at the Operastudio Vlaanderen, and the Yorke Trust (Norfolk).

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