“As an ensemble, Les Timbres oozes technical virtuosity, musical intimacy and poetic truth. What more could you possibly ask for?” (Classiquenews). Since their first recording of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin en Concerts in 2014, which was awarded a Diapason d’Or and described by the magazine Diapason as “a sensitively and brilliantly intelligently crafted masterpiece”, Les Timbres have become one of the most sought-after ensembles for seventeenth and eighteenth-century chamber music.
More recently, the ensemble’s recording of François Couperin’s Concerts Royaux won them their second Diapason d’Or. The magazine Deux Mondes highlights the “beauty of the timbres emerging from their instruments [which] create truly magical moments and undoubtably one of the finest and most poetic readings of this musical manuscript, which marked the end of the Grand Siècle [the reign of Louis XIV]”. The release, in 2020, of their complete recording of Buxtehude’s Trio Sonatas represents a further milestone in their oeuvre.
The musicians of Les Timbres always strive to develop a personal vision of the repertoire composed for their instrumentation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as extensively explore new ways to perfect their chamber music-making skills (timbres, trust, improvisation…).
Laureates of the First Prize at the International Competition for Chamber Music of Bruges (Belgium) and the Special Prize for the best contemporary piece (2009), Les Timbres is composed of the Japanese violinist Yoko Kawakubo, the French viol player Myriam Rignol and the Belgian harpsichordist Julien Wolfs – all three graduates of the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse. Together, they make up a singular trio whose musical intimacy and human harmony contribute to creating this unique sound.
Whilst trios make up the core of their musical repertoire, they also frequently collaborate with other artists (singers, notably Marc Mauillon, instrumentalists, dancers and actors) with whom they develop artistic projects combining scholarship, creation, performance and education (Lully’s Proserpine, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, English consort music, première of Philippe Hersant’s cantata Nun Komm…).
Les Timbres has been invited to some of the most prestigious European concert halls (in France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Netherlands) and maintains strong ties to Japan where the ensemble tours every other year. Whilst maintaining the highest standards of performance, they also place a strong focus on outreach and education activities and all teach at local and regional music colleges. Their six-year residency (2013–2019) at the festival Musique et Mémoire (France) has enabled them to develop numerous arts and culture education programmes such as “Snow White and the Seven Notes” and the “Musical Tournament”. They are currently beginning a new residency at the Combrailles Bach Festival with an artistic project that will explore German music before Bach.
Translator: Elen Le Foll