Ensemble Matheus

English Biography
Crédit: Edouard Brane

Crédit: Edouard Brane

Matheus in english

ENSEMBLE MATHEUS – English biography

For over twenty years, the Ensemble Matheus has been one of the most renowned ensembles in the world of classical music, thanks to their bold and accessible artistic approach.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi founded the Matheus Quartet in 1991 out of his desire for innovation and constant research, and they soon became the Ensemble Matheus.

Playing in variable formation from ‘chamber ensemble’ to ‘symphonic orchestra’, the Ensemble Matheus has since their inception endeavoured to bring together different musical genres.  They perform repertoire ranging from the 17th to 21st century on period instruments (baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary).

Their passion and pioneering enthusiasm for original repertoire led them to investigate works which had to date never been recorded, and to tackle Vivaldi’s lesser-known treasures with a contagious pleasure, recording a series of albums with Naïve which quickly became legendary.  In 2005, their recording of the opera Orlando Furioso caused a sensation, winning a number of international awards.

Over the course of various concerts and recordings, they have embarked on musical collaborations with renowned soloists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Natalie Dessay, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Sandrine Piau, and many others.

Since 2007, the Ensemble Matheus have had a yearly residency at the Théâtre du Châtelet performing a new opera production each year: Rossini’s La Pietra del Paragone, Messager’s Véronique, Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bellini’s Norma, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and in March 2012, Haydn’s Orlando Paladino.

Other appearances in Paris include productions at the Opéra National de Paris (Handel’s Alcina) and at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso), where the public recently gave their performances of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte standing ovations.

Proud of their Breton origins, the Ensemble Matheus are equally active in their home region of Brittany, with a residency at the Quartz in Brest as associate ensemble since 1996.  These strong local roots lead to many regional tours, performing in Vannes, Saint-Brieuc, Morlaix and at the Opéra de Rennes, as well as in the neighbouring communities.  

The Ensemble Matheus have performed all around the world, including New York (Carnegie Hall), Vienna (Konzerthaus, Theater an der Wien), Zurich (Tonhalle), London (BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, Wigmore Hall), Rome (Accademia Santa Cecilia) and Bilbao (Sociedad Filarmonica, Bilbao Opera).   They recently toured Europe with Cecilia Bartoli, performing in Munich, Prague, Baden-Baden and the Château de Versailles.

In 2011/2012, they performed concerts dedicated to Dvorak, Shostakovich, Fauré, Beethoven, Rossini and Vivaldi, and a greatly anticipated new production of Haydn’s Orlando Paladino at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, directed by Kamel Ouali.

With their concern for making classical music more accessible to all, the Ensemble Matheus will continue their series of educational programmes for young people. They also put on an ‘Opéra en Région’ for the third year running; a project they initiated which takes a full opera production on tour throughout Brittany.

In 2013, the Ensemble Matheus joined Cecilia Bartoli at the Theater an der Wien for Rossini’s Comte Ory in a successful production. This season also includes a number of re-invitations: Carnegie Hall in New York, the Grand Théâtre de Québec, the Konzerthaus in Dortmund…

They started the 2013-2014 season with fifteen performances of the new Handel’s Orlando production (Brittany, Toulouse and Opéra Royal de Versailles) and Pietra del Paragone revival at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Then they will continue the collaboration with Cecilia Bartoli in an incredible Rossini serie: Otello in Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées), La Cenerentola and Otello in Salzburg Festival (both Whitsun and Summer courses), and then Italiana in Algeri in Konzerthaus Dortmund.

Next seasons highlights: 33 performances of Handel Xerxes in Stockholm and Versailles, a European Beethoven Missa solemnis tour, Il re pastore in Châtelet, etc…


The Ensemble Matheus is subsidized by the Conseil régional de Bretagne, the Conseil général du Finistère, the town of Brest, and the Ministère de la culture et de la communication – DRAC de Bretagne. The Ensemble is associated to the Quartz in Brest since 1996. Its performances are kindly supported by its sponsors, BNP Paribas – Banque de Bretagne and Altarea Cogedim.



For some, he is the ‘enfant terrible’ of classical music.  For others, he is a true musician-choreographer endowed with an extraordinary sense of rhythm and physical elation. 

Originally a violinist, his passion for all kinds of musical expression led him to study conducting at a young age. From his very first concerts, he sought to decompartmentalise the different types of music: he became a “period instrumentalist to the modernists, and a modernist to the period instrumentalists”.  Passionate about chamber music and ensemble music, he founded the Matheus Quartet in 1991.

For this Corsican musician adopted into Brittany, his regional presence is of the greatest importance.  It was at the Quartz in Brest that the Matheus Quartet became the Matheus Ensemble. 

In 2005, his passionate research into period music led him to make a series of recordings with the Ensemble Matheus of Vivaldi’s previously unrecorded works.  They released a number of albums and four opera recordings which quickly became legendary, receiving great critical acclaim around the world.

Over the course of a variety of engagements, Jean-Christophe Spinosi has embarked on musical collaborations with like-minded artists who also wanted to breathe new life and passion into classical music; artists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Natalie Dessay and Philippe Jaroussky, with whom he recorded the Double Gold-selling album ‘Heroes’ for EMI-Virgin Classics.

In founding the Ensemble Matheus, Jean-Christophe Spinosi created the only specialised ensemble of international standing to be born in the region of Brittany, and the ensemble is in residence at the Quartz in Brest, its ‘town of birth’.  Since 2007 Spinosi has conducted his ensemble in a new production each year at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Spinosi has worked with some of the most imaginative directors on the international scene, such as Pierrick Sorin (Rossini’s La pietra del Paragone in 2007), Oleg Kulik (Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 2009) and Claus Guth (Handel’s Messiah at the Theater an der Wien in 2009).  For his production of Orlando Paladino, Jean-Christophe is once again reaching out to new audiences by teaming up with Director Kamel Ouali.

His productions at the Opéra de Paris and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées have been met with similar critical acclaim, the most recent being his well-researched performances of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte

Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli invited Jean-Christophe Spinosi and the Ensemble Matheus to perform a series of concerts with her in June 2011. Their fruitful collaboration grew into a European tour of concerts in Munich, Prague, Baden-Baden and at the Château de Versailles.

Jean-Christophe Spinosi works regularly with many orchestras, among them the Wiener Staatsoper, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, the Orquesta de Castilla y Leon, the Wiener Symphoniker or Spain’s Orquesta Nacional, and collaborates with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris.

The 2013-2014 season will see his continued association with Cecilia Bartoli in the Rossini cycle, with Otello at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, La Cenerentola in Salzburg –Whitsun and summer– and Italiana in Algeri in Dortmund. In addition, he has given a new performance of La Pietra del Paragone at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in January 2014, following the fifteen exceptional French performances of Handel’s Orlando scheduled for this autumn (in Lorient, Brest, Rennes, Toulouse and Versailles).

He will appear next season at the Theater an der Wien for Bizet’s Pêcheurs de Perles, or at the Châtelet for Mozart’s Il re pastore.

His last recording by Deutsche Grammophon “Miroirs” has been acclaimed by Diapason and with a “Choc” from Classica. 


Galerie photo