the founder of the Les Talens Lyriques and an internationally renowned harpsichordist, is a musician and an orchestral conductor inspired by a passion for opera and the rediscovery of the European musical heritage.
After harpsichord studies at La Schola Cantorum in Paris with Huguette Dreyfus, followed by the Conservatoire Royal in The Hague with Bob van Asperen (winning, at the age of 22, the prestigious First Prize in the 7th Bruges Harpsichord Competition), and followed in turn by the creation of his own ensemble, Les Talens Lyriques, in 1991, Christophe Rousset has a perfect grasp of the richness and diversity of the Baroque, Classical and Preromantic repertoires.
After initially attracting attention for his extraordinary talent as a harpsichordist, he soon made his mark as a conductor, with invitations from around the world to perform with his ensemble (Opéra de Paris, De Nederlandse Opera, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salle Pleyel, Opéra de Lausanne, Teatro Real, Theater an der Wien, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Aix-en-Provence and Beaune Festivals, to name but a few venues).
Alongside this, he has continued to pursue an active career as harpsichordist and chamber musician, performing and recording on the most beautiful period instruments. His complete performances of the works for harpsichord of F. Couperin, Rameau, d’Anglebert and Forqueray and various recordings of pieces by J. S. Bach (Partitas, Variations Goldberg, Concertos for harpsichord, English Suites, French Suites, Klavierbüchlein) are considered landmarks. His most recent recording of another musical monument by the German Cantor, the 2nd book of the Well-tempered Clavier (Aparté) – a recording made in the Château of Versailles on a Joannes Ruckers harpsichord (1628) – has been awarded a number of honours, including a “Choc” from Classica magazine and CD of the week from Britain’s Radio 3. The instruments of the Paris Museum of Music have also been entrusted to him for the recording of three CDs of music by Royer, Rameau and Froberger.
Teaching is also an aspect with major importance for Christophe Rousset, who conducts and organises master classes and academies for young people (Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, CNSMDs Paris, Académie d’Ambronay, Orchestre Français des Jeunes Baroques, Jeune Orchestre Atlantique, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Britten-Pears Orchestra) and he devotes himself with great energy, alongside the musicians of Les Talens Lyriques, to introducing young secondary school pupils in Paris and the surrounding region to the world of music.
Christophe also has a career as guest conductor (Liceu Barcelona, San Carlo Naples, La Scala Milan, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Orquesta Nacional de España and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestre du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, among other orchestras) as well as the active pursuit of musical research, with the production of critical editions and the publication by Actes Sud of a study on Rameau in 2007.
Christophe Rousset 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.