Performance Monday, October 22, 2012 | 7:30 PM

Les Violons du Roy

Zankel Hall
Music fit for a king! It's a little-known fact that Frederick the Great of Prussia was an enthusiastic amateur flutist and composer. Emmanuel Pahud and the exhilarating Les Violons du Roy perform music by an 18th-century enlightened despot, as well as his more musically illustrious counterparts, including J. S. Bach and his son, Carl Philipp Emanuel.


  • Les Violons du Roy
    Bernard Labadie, Music Director and Conductor
  • Emmanuel Pahud


  • FRANZ BENDA Sinfonia No. 1 in C Major
  • FREDERICK II Concerto for Flute in C Major
  • QUANTZ Concerto for Flute in G Major
  • BACH Ricercar a 6 from A Musical Offering, BWV 1079
  • C. P. E. BACH String Symphony No. 5 in B Minor, Wq. 182
  • C. P. E. BACH Concerto for Flute in A Major, Wq. 168

  • Encore:
  • BACH "Badinerie" from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067


  • 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, which has a core membership of 15 players, was brought together in 1984 by Music Director Bernard Labadie and specializes in the vast repertoire of music for chamber orchestra. 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 performance practice in the 17th and 18th centuries, and Les Violons du Roy uses copies of period bows in this repertoire.

    Les Violons du Roy is at the heart of the music scene in Quebec City, where it has been in residence at the Palais Montcalm since 2007. Since 1997, it has also been an important part of Montreal's cultural scene. The orchestra is well known throughout Canada, thanks to the numerous concerts and recordings broadcast by Société Radio-Canada and CBC, and its regular presence at music festivals. Les Violons du Roy has given dozens of concerts in Europe and has extended its performance network in the United States, now making regular stops in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

    Les Violons du Roy has made 22 recordings. Dorian has released 12 CDs, including Handel's Apollo e Dafne and Mozart's Requiem, and ATMA has released six CDs, including Water Music and Piazzolla. With Virgin Classics, the orchestra recorded cantata arias by Handel and Hasse with Vivica Genaux, C. P. E. Bach's cello concertos with Truls Mørk, and Bach's keyboard concertos with Alexandre Tharaud. The most recent recording, with contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, was produced for the Naïve label.

    Bernard Labadie 

    Bernard Labadie is an internationally recognized expert on 17th- and 18th-century repertoire, and founded Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec in 1984 and 1985, respectively. He continues to direct their regular seasons in Quebec City and Montreal, as well as their tours throughout the Americas and Europe. He has made numerous recordings with the ensembles on the Virgin Classics, Dorian, ATMA, and Hyperion labels.

    Mr. Labadie's services as guest conductor are highly sought after, and he regularly accepts engagements with major North American orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; the Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Houston, and Toronto symphony orchestras; The Cleveland Orchestra, and The MET Orchestra. In Europe, he has taken the podium with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the orchestra of Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. He is also regularly invited to conduct the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

    Increasingly in demand among period-instrument orchestras, Mr. Labadie regularly directs the Academy of Ancient Music and has worked with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, and Collegium Vocale Gent Orchestra.

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  • Emmanuel Pahud

    Swiss and French flautist Emmanuel Pahud is one of today's most exciting and adventurous musicians. Born in Geneva, he began studying music at the age of six. He graduated in 1990 with the Premier Prix from the Conservatoire de Paris, after which he continued his studies with Aurèle Nicolet. At the age of 22, Mr. Pahud joined the Berliner Philharmoniker as principal flute under Claudio Abbado, a position that he still holds today. In addition to his engagements with that orchestra, Mr. Pahud enjoys an extensive international career as soloist and chamber musician.

    Mr. Pahud regularly appears at leading festivals throughout Europe, the US, and the Far East. He has appeared as soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has collaborated with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, David Zinman, Lorin Maazel, Pierre Boulez, Valery Gergiev, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Itzhak Perlman.

    During the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Pahud performs with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Kammerakademie Potsdam, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, and Gürzenich Orchester. He also tours with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra in Europe and South America.

    In 1996, Mr. Pahud signed an exclusive contract with EMI Classics, a collaboration that has proven to be one of the most significant contributions to recorded flute music. He has made more than 20 recordings, receiving unanimous critical acclaim and earning multiple awards, including several Victoires de la Musique, Diapason d'Or, Radio France's Recording of the Year, Fono-Forum and Echo Klassik awards in Germany, and Record Geijutsu and Ongaku no Tomo awards in Japan. His most recent recording, dedicated to flute music from Frederick the Great's court, with Trevor Pinnock, was released at the end of 2011.

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At a Glance

In the days of kings and courts, it was not unusual for a monarch to be a well-versed musician and composer, and much musical advancement came through composers who were employed by the court. This evening's concert pays homage to a great patron of the arts, Frederick the Great of Prussia. In addition to his activities on the throne, he was an accomplished composer and flute player (the latter of which fundamentally colored the scope of his patronage, as evidenced by tonight's program). He surrounded himself with an impressive musical entourage, including many prominent composers of the time, and, as a result, dictated a large part of the musical life of Berlin and the surrounding area. This program features a work by the king himself alongside works of three of his court composers—Franz Benda, Johann Joachim Quantz, and C. P. E. Bach—rounded out by a complex fugue from Bach's A Musical Offering,  based on a melody written by Frederick II himself, and presented to the king as a gift by the composer. 
Program Notes
This performance is part of Baroque Unlimited.