Conductor and choirmaster, Nicole Corti is also a passionate and accomplished teacher. This dual vocation has permeated her entire career, which has been largely focused on the voice through the contemporary repertoire and the great works of the sacred repertoire.
As the first woman to be selected to attend the conducting class at the Lyon Conservatory, Nicole Corti made several encounters that were to become the foundation of her musical career: conductors Sergiu Celibidache and Pierre Devaux, ethnomusicologist Yvette Grimaud, and composer and organist Raffi Ourgandjian, among others.
In 1981, she founded the Britten Choir and with this ensemble achieved international fame through numerous concerts in Europe and the United States. Each of these concerts was an opportunity for Nicole Corti to disseminate her proposals, particularly in terms of sound colour.
It is this very particular research that has encouraged a number of composers to write for the ensemble and to nourish its original and audacious programmes.
In 1993, Nicole Corti was appointed head of the choir at Notre-Dame de Paris. She increased the concert programme there by favouring 20th and 21st century music while conducting the great works of the Romantic and oratorio repertoire (Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, etc.).
In 2008, she became the head of the only choral conducting class at the national conservatories in Lyon, where she is committed to training the next generation of professional choral conductors. In the context of collaborations with various renowned orchestras, she is responsible for the preparation of choirs: the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, conducted by John Nelson (Bach’s Passions and Mass in B, Berlioz’s Enfance du Christ, etc.), the Orchestre National de Lyon for Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé conducted by Emmanuel Krivine, and more recently, alongside Leonard Slatkin, for the Orchestre National de Lyon’s complete Ravel programme for a concert at the Salle Pleyel and a recording to be released by Naxos.
Convinced of the need to perform the major works of the choral repertoire and strengthened by the experience acquired with the Britten Choir in contact with complex and demanding music, Nicole Corti has undertaken work on the great sacred works of Bach and conducts, in particular, Bach’s Mass in B, the St John Passion, the St Matthew Passion and the Magnificat.
Her discography includes recordings that have received critical acclaim, notably Duruflé’s Requiem with the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris (Choc du Monde de la Musique), André Caplet’s Miroir de Jésus with the Britten Choir (5 Diapasons) and a selection of works by Jean-Louis Florentz (Diapason d’or). She has also recorded Ohana, Procaccioli, Pascal, Ourgandjian (E.V.B.B.), Jean-Pierre Leguay’s Missa Deo gratias, En l’honneur de sainte Anne (works by Joseph-Guy Ropartz) and Édith Canat de Chizy’s Livre d’heures, all three for the Hortus label. Nicole Corti has twice been awarded the Liliane Bettencourt Prize of the Académie des Beaux-Arts (in 2002 with the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris and in 2010 with the Britten Choir).
In 2002 she was made a Knight of the National Order of Merit.