Founder of the period instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset is an inspirational musician and conductor specialising in music of the Baroque, Classical and pre-Romantic periods.

 

He studied harpsichord with Huguette Dreyfus at the Schola Cantorum in Paris and with Bob van Asperen at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, before winning the prestigious First Prize in the 7th Bruges Harpsichord Competition in 1983.

 

Since then he has made his mark as a conductor, receiving invitations to perform with Les Talens Lyriques all over the world : at the Paris Opera, the Dutch National Opera, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris Philharmonie, Lausanne Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, Versailles Royal Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Aix-en-Provence Festival… and so on.

 

Christophe Rousset is particularly inspired by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European music and he has rediscovered forgotten operas such as Antigona (Traetta), La Capricciosa Corretta (Martin y Soler), Armida Abbandonata (Jommelli), La Grotta di Trofonio  (Salieri) and Temistocle (Johann Christian Bach).

 

He continues to pursue an active career as a harpsichordist, performing on some of the finest period instruments. His many recordings include the complete harpsichord works of d’Anglebert, Forqueray François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau. His interpretations of works by J. S. Bach (Partitas, Goldberg Variations, Harpsichord Concertos, English Suites, French Suites, Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann, Well-tempered Clavier) are regarded as references.

 

With his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, his great successes on disc include the original soundtrack of the film Farinelli, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Mitridate, operas including Rameau’s Zais and Salieri’s Les Danaïdes, as well as the critically acclaimed recordings of Lully’s Persée, Roland, Bellérophon, Phaéton, Amadis, Armide

 

Christophe Rousset values teaching ; he gives master classes at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, the Paris Conservatoire CNSMD, the Académie d’Ambronay, OFJ Baroque (with the Orchestre Français des Jeunes), the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and the Britten-Pears Orchestra. Introducing young people to the world of music is another activity that he enjoys and to which, together with members of Les Talens Lyriques, he devotes much time and energy, working with secondary schools in Paris.

 

He is also active as a guest conductor (Liceu Barcelona, San Carlo Naples, La Scala Milan, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, London’s Royal Opera House, Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment, Orquesta Nacional de España, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels …) and in the field of research: production of critical editions, the publication of studies of Rameau and François Couperin (Actes Sud, 2007 and 2016 respectively). 2017 sees the publication of “L’impression que l’instrument chante”, a series of interviews by Camille de Rijck in which Christophe Rousset’s shares his thoughts on music (La Rue Musicale, Éditions de la Cité de la Musique). His latest solo recording hightlights the composer Claude-Bénigne Balbastre (november 2017, Aparté).

 

He has been awarded the French honours of Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite.

 

December 2017. Picture: Ignacio Barrios Martinez.