Scherzi Musicali

Sunday July 21st - 9 pm / Church of Valloire

This concert will be preceded by a libre-cours conference by Nicolas Achten, at 6:30 pm, in the church of Valloire.

Actéon by Charpentier

by Scherzi Musicali, direction Nicolas Achten

With Actéon, Charpentier has given us a wonderful example of a miniature opera which no doubt inspired English composers Blow and Purcell. Having surprised Diane while she was bathing, Actéon is turned into a stag and devoured by his own

hounds: a touching libretto served up by highly emotional music. The bucolic atmosphere of Actéon will be here set by Charpentier’s Sonate à huit, interspersed with some of his airs de cour.

Scherzi Musicali

For over fifteen years, Scherzi Musicali has been a leading ensemble in the world of Early music, renowned for its work on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The ensemble, which gathers from 3 to 40 musicians around Nicolas Achten, performs throughout Europe in the most prestigious concert halls and festivals.

Scherzi Musicali has recorded 13 albums, including 11 world premieres, all giving pride of place to Caccini, Mazzocchi, Bertali, Sances, Scarlatti, Colonna, Fiocco from Brussels or Hamal from Liège. Those recordings have been unanimously acclaimed by the public and the international press (Diapason d’or, Diapason découverte, Choc de Classica, Joker de Crescendo, La Clef de ResMusica, Prelude Classics Award, Muse d’Or, Ring de Classique Info, “Outstanding” in the International Record Review, Prix Cæcilia…).

Nicolas Achten – baritone, lute, harpsichord, Early harp, artistic direction

A baritone, harpsichordist, lutenist, harpist and ensemble conductor, Nicolas Achten made a name for himself in the world of Early music while still very young: prize winner of the 7th International Baroque Singing Competition in Chimay in 2006, he was voted “Classical Artist of the Year 2009” at the Octaves de la Musique and was awarded the “Young Musician of the Year 2009” prize by the Belgian Music Press Union.

Nicolas Achten studied singing, lute, harpsichord, Early harp and conducting at the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and The Hague. He completed his training at various masterclasses, notably at the Académie baroque d’Ambronay and the Centre de la Voix de Royaumont.

Since 2004, he has been a guest with prestigious Early music ensembles, among which, l’Arpeggiata, la Fenice, La Petite Bande, Ausonia, les Agrémens, Akadêmia, Les Talens Lyriques, Il Fondamento, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Il Seminario Musicale, le Poème Harmonique, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Ensemble Phoenix Munich.

He is one of the very few classical singers who resort to self-accompaniment, a historic practice seldom used today. Eager to explore and experiment this approach further, he founded the ensemble Scherzi Musicali.

Nicolas Achten is also keen on atypical encounters, whether in a duo with folk accordionist Didier Laloy, or in a trio with jazz saxophonist Manu Hermia or again pop/rock singer Kris Dane.

Nicolas Achten is a tenured professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels where he teaches Early music singing, lute, and also temperaments and chords.


Pieces by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.


Nicolas Achten, barytone, theorbo and direction
Pierre Derhet, Acteon
Morgane Heyse, Diane
Wei-Lian Huang, Aréthuse
Luciana Mancini, Hyale et Junon
Maxime Melnik, Hunter
2 flutes
2 treble viols
1 bass viol
1 bass violin
1 harpsichord and organ
1 theorbo and guitar
Sigrid T’Hooft, stage direction and baroque gesture

Scherzi Musicali is supported by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Direction générale de la Culture, Service de la Musique) and is “artist in residence” at the Koninklijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen.