La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy is a period-instrument ensemble devoted largely to the performance of Baroque and early Classical works. Thus, one finds its programs and recordings dominated by such names as Handel, Vivaldi, Charpentier, Lully, Monteverdi, Albinoni, and Mozart. And while the ensemble performs much instrumental music, it is nearly as likely to perform choral, operatic, and other primarily vocal works. In particular, it has performed in numerous operas by Handel and Mozart, and sacred works by Handel, Vivaldi, André Campra, and others. It occasionally plays music from later periods. The orchestra is chamber-sized, but expands to more than 40 for such works as Mozart's Così fan tutte, but contracts considerably for most Baroque instrumental compositions. La Grande Écurie has toured throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and made well over 100 recordings, many available from Sony, Naïve, and EMI.
La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy was founded in France in 1966 by Jean-Claude Malgoire, then an oboist with the Orchestre de Paris and freelance conductor. The ensemble was the first period-instrument orchestra in France.
La Grande Écurie played regular concerts from its early years and by the mid-'70s was drawing international notice. Among its first recordings were a 1974 two-LP set of Handel's Water Music and other works, and a 1975 three-LP set of Lully's opera Alceste, both on the Columbia label. The latter effort was hailed as a landmark recording, both for its artistic merit and role in the rediscovery of this Lully masterpiece.
In the mid-'70s La Grande Écurie turned its attention to Handel's operas, which resulted in recordings of Rinaldo, Serse, and Tamerlano in the period 1977-1983. Throughout the 1980s La Grande Écurie's reputation grew and its concerts and recordings generally drew high praise. The 1993 recording of Vivaldi's Vêpres pour la Nativité de la Vierge was given the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque by l' Académie Charles Cros.
In 1995 La Grande Écurie, under Malgoire, presented highly praised versions of the Mozart/da Ponte operas (Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte) at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. These performances led to acclaimed recordings of the three operas in 1996 on the Naïve label. In the new century La Grande Écurie has remained active on all fronts. In 2008-2010 it recorded new versions of Rinaldo, Serse, and Tamerlano, as well as Orlando, for the Sony label.