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Les Arts Florissants (Early Music Ensemble)

Les Arts Florissants was founded by William Christie in 1979, and takes its name from an opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier which the group recorded in 1982. They specialise primarily in French baroque repertoire, and their advocacy of operas by Lully, Rameau and Charpentier was a driving force in the revival of interest in this area from the late 1980s onwards; key recordings include Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie and Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and Purcell’s King Arthur (which all won Gramophone Awards in the 1990s), Mozart’s Die Entführung aus de Serail (a Building a Library First Choice in 2014), and a series of Monteverdi’s Madrigals on the ensemble’s own label.

LAF has close links with Christie’s Jardin des Voix academy for aspiring young baroque musicians, and its alumni include Christophe Rousset, Hervé Niquet, Marc Minkowski and Jonathan Cohen; Paul Agnew, a former tenor with the group, was appointed Assistant Conductor in 2007.

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