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 mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux.
Another collaboration with Virgin Classics, featuring the Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, was
recorded in November 2008.
October 2009 marked Bernard Labadie's 25th year at the head of Les Violons du Roy. To
celebrate this anniversary, Mr. Labadie conducted the chamber orchestra and La Chapelle de
Québec in Handel's Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio at Carnegie Hall
in New York and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in December of that year.
Mr. Labadie has become one of the most sought-after guest conductors in North America. In
September 2009, he made his debut appearance with the Metropolitan Opera in New York in
Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In 2009-2010, he appeared for the first time with The
Cleveland Orchestra and returned to conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chicago,
Houston, and Colorado symphony orchestras, and during coming seasons he will complete guest
engagements with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco
Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony.
Mr. Labadie's reputation has travelled well beyond North America. In March 2010, he
conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam for the first time in Bach's
St. Matthew Passion. In coming seasons, he will debut with the Iceland Symphony
Orchestra and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra (Finland), and will return to lead the
Northern Sinfonia (England), NDR Symphony Orchestra (Germany), and the Musikkollegium
Winterthur (Switzerland). He led the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2009 and
will lead the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and 2012.
As a leading ambassador for music in his native city of Québec, Bernard Labadie was made
an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005 and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec in
2006. In 2008, he received The Banff Centre's National Arts Award for his contribution to
the development of the arts in Canada, as well as an honorary doctorate from Université