LES VIOLONS DU ROY
The chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy borrows its name from the renowned string
orchestra of the court of the French kings. The group was founded in 1984 by Music Director
Bernard Labadie and specializes in the vast repertoire of music for chamber orchestra,
performed in the stylistic manner most appropriate to each era. Although the ensemble plays
on modern instruments, its approach to the works of the Baroque and Classical periods has
been strongly influenced by current research into 17th- and early 18th-century performance
practices, and in this repertoire, Les Violons du Roy uses copies of period bows. In recent
seasons, under the leadership of guest conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni, the orchestra has
begun to explore 19th- and 20th-century repertoire in more depth.
Les Violons du Roy has been in residence at the Palais Montcalm de Québec since 2007. It
performed in Europe in 1988 and has since given dozens of concerts in France, Germany,
England, Spain, and the Netherlands, with internationally renowned soloists. It also has
been invited to perform twice at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The next European tour is
scheduled for 2011. Since its first performance in Washington, DC, in 1995, Les Violons du
Roy has extended its performance network in the United States and now makes regular trips
to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Recordings made by Les Violons du Roy have been acclaimed by critics and earned various
distinctions and awards at the national and international levels. Since 2004, the
ensemble's association with the Québec label ATMA has led to four CDs, including the
critically acclaimed Water Music, winner of a Félix Award in 2008;
Piazzolla, conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni and winner of a Juno Award in 2006;
and Bartók, also directed by Mr. Zeitouni and released in fall 2008. The group's
first collaboration with the multinational Virgin Classics label led to the release in fall
2006 of cantata arias by Handel and Hasse with American mezzosoprano Vivica Genaux. Another
collaboration with Virgin Classics, featuring the Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, was
recorded in November 2008.
Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the leading conductors of the
Baroqueand Classical repertoire, a reputation that is closely tied with Les Violons du Roy
and La Chapelle de Québec, which he founded and continues to lead as Music Director. With
these two ensembles, he regularlytours Canada, the United States, and Europe, in major
venues such as CarnegieHall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center,
Barbican, and the Concertgebouw, among others.
Passionate about opera, Mr. Labadie also has been artistic director of l'Opéra de Québec
and l'Opéra de Montréal. As a guest, he conducted Handel's Orlando with
Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and
Mozart's Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera. This past September marked his debut
with the Metropolitan Opera in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.
Ever since his triumphant debut with theMinnesota Orchestra in 1999,Mr. Labadie has become
a sought after guest conductor with major North American orchestras, including the New York
and Los Angeles philharmonics, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of
Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Montreal, Toronto,
and Vancouver-many on a regular basis. His debut with The Cleveland Orchestra is scheduled
for later this season.
Increasingly active outside North America-reflected by recent guest appearances with the
Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Ghent, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the
Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle, the NDR Orchestra in Hannover, and the Melbourne
Symphony-Mr. Labadie's upcoming seasons will feature debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw
Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Academy of Ancient Music,
Mr. Labadie's extensive discography includes many critically acclaimed recordings on the
Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel's Apollo e Dafne and
Mozart's Requiem in collaboration with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both
winning Canada's Juno Award. A complete recording of C. P. E. Bach's cello concertos with
Truls Mørk andLes Violons du Roy is slated for release this year, as well as a recording
with Ian Bostridge and The English Concert, both for Virgin Classics.
For his achievements, the Canadian government honored Mr. Labadie with an appointment as
Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, and Quebec made him a Chevalier de l'Ordre National
du Québec in 2006.