quatuor et orgue

Department of early music


The department of early music was set up in 1988 with a view to developing the teaching of the music of the middle ages and the Renaissance. Since then repertoire from other periods has been added so that the period of reference now extends to the beginning of the 19th century and overlaps with the classical period.

In parallel with high level instrument tuition, ensemble work is a central element of each class, to such an extent that all the teachers of instruments and singing also teach music for ensembles. Furthermore, the department offers a range of subjects that allows students to develop in-depth understanding of musical styles of the past by means of theoretical and practical study: Ars Musica (notation, solmisation, counterpoint, improvisation and writing), musical discourse  (musical rhetoric), basso continuo (underlying harmony), ornamentation, singing, etc.

The department also carries out a great deal of research in many widely different areas of performance: French music, improvised Renaissance counterpoint, continuo groups, instrument-making, musical rhetoric, links with oral traditions of music, etc.

Students give concerts regularly, either at the conservatory or in partnership operations with the many partner institutions.


Ever since it was set up the department of early music has implemented a policy of purchasing instruments from widely differing stylistic spheres, ranging from the recreation of a medieval organ from a painting by Van Eck to the purchase of a pianoforte built by Fritz in Vienna in 1828.

Harpsichordists have at their disposal Italian harpsichords built by Emile Jobin (16th, 17th and 18th centuries), French style harpsichords (David Ley’s  Dumont model and Yoshida’s copy of an unnamed harpsichord dating from 1679) and German and Flemish harpsichords (17th and 18th centuries). These, together with other instruments (by Dowd and Chevallier), mean that there are sufficient harpsichords to have a keyboard available in every teaching or practice room. This group of instruments also includes a copy of clavichord by Hass and a copy by Christopher Clarke of a pianoforte built by Lengerer in Vienna in 1787.

There are several organs, including a three-register “organo di legno” by B.Fleig, which is used for accompanying.

Students have the use of the following instruments, which belong to the CNSMD: a quartet of Renaissance instruments, a baroque septet, a violone and a seven-string baroque viol, a lirone. There are also four vielles, which are used mainly in Pierre Hamon’s ensemble sessions  and on specific occasions for master-classes.

In the strings family there are medieval vielles, different violins, violas and baroque cellos, with a wide variety of bows for the different schools of violin-making and violin-playing.

The lute family includes a wide variety of lutes from the 15th to the 17th century, theorbos, a vihuela, Renaissance and baroque guitars, a cistre or pandora and gothic and baroque harps.

Two consorts of recorders are at the disposal of students, as well as medieval flutes and a bass recorder by Hotteterre.

Among the woodwind instruments available, students can learn to play 17th century instruments (notably the dulciane) and baroque or classical instruments tuned to 430Hz.


Head of Department: Anne Delafosse

These workshops have been set up at the initiative of the teaching staff and are held throughout the academic year.

1rst cycle harpsichord/basso continuo: Jean-Marc Aymes, Yves Rechsteiner, Dirk Börner
2nd cycle harpsichord: Jean-Marc Aymes
2nd cycle basso continuo/singing leader: Yves Rechsteiner
2nd cycle improvisation at the harpsichord: Dirk Börner

Lute and plucked strings: Rolf Lislevand
Early Harps: Angélique Mauillon

Viola gamba: Marianne Muller
Baroque violin: Odile Edouard
Baroque cello: Emmanuel Balssa

Cornetto: Jean Tubéry
Baroque Trumpet: Jean-François Madeuf
Sackbut: Daniel Lassalle

Recorder: Pierre Hamon
Baroque Oboe: Patrick Beaugiraud
Baroque bassoon: Laurent Le Chenadec
Baroque flute: Amélie Michel

Early music singing
Baroque singing: Robert Expert
Singing conductor at harpsichord : Anne-Catherine Vinay
Interpretation of medieval repertoires: Anne Delafosse
Training in polyphonic art: Anne Delafossse

Thematic workshops
Barnabé Janin (Renaissance polyphony), Jean Tubéry (16th and 17th century ornamentation), Rolf Lislevand (improvisation), external guest (training as a vocalist)

Further information

Main subjects

Subsidiary subjects


Additional details

One-year professional residency in string quartet

Get a one-year professional residency in string quartet, classical, contemporary, pop, jazz & world music !

The National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Lyon offers a professional training residency in string quartet allowing to deepen its practice and to perform for a year, in collaboration with the Opéra de Lyon and cellist Vincent Ségal for the 2021-2022 season.



Training Course | strengthen, open and enrich your repertoire
  • Chamber music lessons supervised by the team of teachers from the CNSMD Lyon
  • Artistic accompaniment in current music by cellist Vincent Ségal (world repertoires, polyrhythms, improvisation, arrangement)
  • Cultural mediation, participation in Master Classes
  • Additional courses may be chosen among the CNSMD Lyon offer (subject to availability)
Stage | give your future a boost

The selected quartet will be associated with several concerts produced by the CNSMD de Lyon and the Opéra de Lyon, as a quartet or with Opera Underground guest artists of the season.
Along with various professional partnerships (Belle Saison, Pro Quartet, etc.)

Application | timetable and conditions

• October 14th, 2021

Deadline for submitting applications : send your quartet CV and the copy of the highest diploma of each member of the Quartet on concours.cnsmd-lyon.fr/

• October 22nd, 2021

Hearing in Lyon after selection on file
15 minutes free program
it may include a contemporary piece

• November,  2021

Start of residency in Lyon, France


Admission fees (for information purposes only)

general fee to be paid by the Quatuor : 178 €
individual schooling fees to be paid by each Quatuor’s member : 529 € + 91 €

Certain concerts may be subject to pay. This training is qualifying but not leading to qualification. It could be if the quartet or one of its members wishes to enroll in a longer course within the CNSMD (after a competitive entrance examination).

Sophie Leleu
sophie.leleu @ cnsmd-lyon.fr
+33 (0) 4 72 19 26 91
+33 (0) 6 83 82 57 15