The Organum Ensemble was founded in 1982 by Marcel Pérès at Sénanque Abbay (France) and has been supported since 1984 by the Fondation Royaumont. The Ensemble develops programmes which combine the source material, in the form of musical scores, and the aesthetics of chanting preserved through oral traditions.
This approach has succeeded in infusing new life into medieval and early music. Of the long forgotten repertoires of the past only the written signs remain to indicate how the sound is produced. Yet this music now resounds with new inspiration.
Initially the ensemble was an instrument for the diffusion of the activities of ARIMM – Atelier pour la Recherche sur l’Interprétation des Musiques Médiévales – founded in 1984 by Marcel Pérès with the support of the Fondation Royaumont. In 1994 this group became CERIMM, Centre Européen pour la Recherche sur l’Interprétation des Musiques Médiévales.
In 2001, in response to the growing interest of researchers and the public in medieval music, Marcel Pérès transferred the offices of Organum to the Abbaye de Moissac, and created a new structure, the CIRMA – Centre Itinérant de Recherche sur les Musiques Anciennes – which aims to develop the same research, teaching, diffusion and publishing activities that were already underway with CERIMM in a context better adapted to the new cultural interests that are emerging at the dawn of the new millenium.
The Organum Ensemble invites you to consider a new approach to the past. In this approach historical facts are perceived as events emerging in a continuous flux. The centuries are no longer frontiers; each new event becomes the expression of a privileged moment in which traditions meet, mingle, fade, disappear or endure, remaining distinct and perennial.
The ensemble has studied and developed most of the influential European repertoires since the VIth century. The field of investigation stretches to the three last centuries of the second millenium, highlighting the existence of enduring medieval aesthetics in certain circles until the last decades of the XXth century.
The flexible structure of the ensemble makes it possible to call upon singers from a wide range of countries and backgrounds for each different repertoire.
The ensembles’s discography presents works that span a period from the dawn of christianity to the XVIIIth century, with occasional incursions into the XXth century in the form of vocal or instrumental expertise that is still alive in certain countries today.
The research programmes are organised in a transdisciplinary perspective. This broadens the fields of investigation and, apart from the acoustic pleasure alone, the music becomes the privilged tool for a reflection on the history of human mentality. The research sessions are given living expression in the form of concerts.