The Maîtrise de Toulouse was founded in 2006 within the Toulouse Conservatoire, becoming the first choir school structure in South-West France. The Maîtrise provides a specialised musical education giving life to an acclaimed vocal ensemble.
In 2017 the Maîtrise de Toulouse was awarded the Bettencourt Prize for choral music by the Académie des Beaux-Arts at the Institut de France.
The choir’s numerous recordings (covering repertoire from the Renaissance to new commissions and sung in ten languages) have received unanimous praise in the international musical press, including 5 Diapasons in France (twice), ”essential releases” in the Sunday Times, 4 stars in the BBC Music Magazine, ”coup de cœur” for France Musique and the Critic’s Choice for the American Record Guide, whose reviewer stated that “there is probably nothing this choir couldn’t sing, and spectacularly well”. The choir’s CD with the Ensemble Binchois received a Diapason Découverte and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (early music category).
The Maîtrise gives around ten concerts a year in Toulouse (principally at the Auditorium Saint Pierre des Cuisines, Basilique Saint Sernin and the Temple du Salin) as well as for festivals around the region. It gives concerts throughout France, including venues such as the Chapelle Royale at Versailles, the Opéra-Comique in Paris and also abroad (Spain, Germany, Italy, UK).
The choir’s repertoire is extremely rich and varied, both sacred and secular from all periods as well as first performances of new works. Particular attention is paid to French repertoire. The Maîtrise regularly collaborates with other ensembles and institutions (Ensemble Gilles Binchois, les Sacqueboutiers, l’Orchestre du Capitole, Centre de musique baroque de Versailles…). Choristers have also performed solo roles in operatic productions at the Théâtre du Capitole of Toulouse.
The choir is made up of choristers (collégiens) who are educated in specialist classes at the Collège Michelet, of older girl choristers (lycéennes) who mainly attend the Lycée Saint Sernin, and of men’s voices (lycéens and students including ex-choristers), with additional professional support.
The Maîtrise is directed by its founder, the anglo-French conductor Mark Opstad.