Les Passions de l’Âme, Bern’s resident early music ensemble directed by violinist Meret Lüthi, has been seeking to create fresh sounds since 2008. Lively interpretations on historical instruments are the trademark of this international orchestra that “brings fresh air to the occasionally stuffy classical music business” (Berner Zeitung 2010).
In recent years, highlights of “the most famous baroque ensemble of Switzerland” (24 heures 2016) have included the performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin in cooperation with the Luzerner Theater (2017), as well as concerts at the London Festival of Baroque Music (2017), the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg (2016), the Lucerne Festival (2015), the London Handel Festival (2015), the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht (2014), as part of the celebrations of Europe’s Capital of Culture in Riga (2014), at the Concertgebouw Brugge (2015 and 2013) and collaborations with Simone Kermes, Carolyn Sampson, Dorothee Oberlinger and Hans-Christoph Rademann.
The musicians of Les Passions de l’Âme are internationally renowned specialists in early music and work as soloists, chamber and orchestral musicians with ensembles such as the Freiburger Barockorchester and the Belgian Baroque Orchestra Ghent B’Rock. They also teach at the Antwerp Conservatoire and the Bern University of the Arts.
This “top class baroque ensemble” (Schaffhauser Nachrichten 2012) aims to arouse curiosity for both known and unknown 17th- and 18th- century repertoire with its snappy and witty programmes, such as “Passion Attacks”, “The Seven Deadly Sins”, or “Delirio Amoroso” in its successful concert series in Bern and Lausanne, “Alte Musik? – Ganz neu!” (Ancient music? – Completely new!).
The orchestra’s name refers to an essay written by René Descartes in 1649, in which the philosopher speaks of the passion which mediates between body and soul. The ensemble perceives music as having precisely this mediative role and aims to transmit “les passions” with immediacy in concert.
Les Passions de l’Âme’s concerts are regularly broadcast by European radio stations (amongst others SRF 2 Kultur, Espace 2, Deutschland Radio Kultur, Espace 2, BBC, BR, WDR, SWR, Latvijas Radio, concertzender.nl). The three CDs “Spicy” (2013), awarded a Diapason d’or, “Bewitched” (2014), honoured with the Supersonic Award, and “Schabernack” (2017), also distinguished with a Diapason d’or, have been released by Sony Music Switzerland.