Founded in 2005 by Raphaël Pichon at the Europa Bach Festival, Ensemble Pygmalion was born of a desire to bring together a choir and an orchestra on early instruments, made up of young professional musicians from European institutions. Coming from varied cultural backgrounds, they work together with the ambition to develop their own sound and colour.
The original project of Ensemble Pygmalion lies in its willingness to build its identity by moving with a permanent team and drawing in the directory covering all the music for choir and orchestra, on early instruments, covering three centuries of music. And because the "old" instruments must now also find their place as such for their "timbre" of singularity, Ensemble Pygmalion launches a series of commissions to young composers, independently or next to early works. This project becomes reality in May 2009 with the commissioning of a cantata (Wolkengesang) by the composer Vincent Manac'h, against two cantatas of J.S. Bach. The establishment is scheduled May 17, 2009 under the residence of Ensemble Pygmalion at Ivry-sur-Seine.
The Missae Brevis BWV 234 and BWV 235 by J.S. Bach, in April 2006, accompanied the ensemble since its birth. Presented during the tour of summer 2007, especially at a first invitation to the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, these Missae Brevis completed the magnificent Motet Der Gerechte kömmt um by Johann Kuhnau, and were the object of the recording debut of Ensemble Pygmalion for the Alpha label (Released in September 2008).
In 2008, Ensemble Pygmalion continues its work to interpret the work of J.S. Bach by proposing a new and original programme program and unreported around his students (from Bach to Bach), combining two of his cantatas with sacred works by Johann Kirnberger and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. This programme will be performed, inter alia, at the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, the Académie Bach d'Arques la Bataille, and during the season Philippe Maillard, in Paris. In 2009, the recording of the last two Missae Brevis by Bach will be released by Alpha.
Around this major project, Ensemble Pygmalion explores other masters from the generation of the Leipzig Kantor, through funeral cantatas of Dietrich Buxtehude, Nicolaus Bruhns and Matthias Weckmann (Klag-Lied). Their repertoire also includes a programme of Vespers reconstruction performed at Saint-Marc de Venice (Salmi Festivi) and created in residence at the Festival Les Nuits du Mont Rome in July 2006.
Ensemble Pygmalion is supported by the Orange Foundation and the Ministry of Culture.