Conductors

Bernard Labadie

La Chapelle de Québec, Music Director
Principal Conductor, Orchestra of St. Luke’s

“Labadie’s devotion to the score became more and more essential. One felt we were hearing the score exactly as Mozart wanted us to hear it.”
The Globe and Mail, January 2017

Introduction

Bernard Labadie is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire. He founded Les Violons du Roy and was their Music Director for three decades. He continues to be Music Director of his extraordinary choir, La Chapelle de Québec, which he founded in 1985.

In September 2018 he began his tenure as Music Director of the Orchestra of St Luke’s, New York. He is a regular guest with all the major North American orchestras and in Europe this season he has conducted the Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Hessischer Rundfunk Orchestra in Frankfurt, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Other recent appearances include the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony and the period instrument ensembles, the Academy of Ancient Music and the English Concert.

His honours include “Officer of the Order of Canada” awarded by the Canadian Government and “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec”.


Contact



Discography

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    MOZART Opera and concert aria

    Label: ATMA Classique

    Release Date: 28 Apr 14

    Bernard Labadie

    Karina Gauvin

    Violons du Roy

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    C.P.E. BACH: Cello Concertos

    Label: Virgin Classics

    Release Date: 06 Feb 13

    Les Violons du Roy

    Truls Mork and Bernard Labadie

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    HAYDN: Piano Concerti

    Label: Hyperion

    Release Date: 10 Jan 13

    Les Violons du Roy

    Marc-André Hamelin and Bernard Labadie

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    HANDEL: Water Music

    Label: Atma Classique

    Release Date: 08 Jan 13

    Les Violons du Roy

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    Opera Arias by Mozart, Gluck, Graun & Haydn

    Label: Naive

    Release Date: 07 Feb 13

    Les Violons du Roy

    Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Bernard Labadie

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    J.S BACH: Art of the Fugue

    Label: Dorian

    Release Date: 05 Feb 13

    Les Violons du Roy

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    J.S BACH: Cantata No 82; Psalm 51

    Label: ATMA Classique

    Release Date: 21 Jan 13

    Les Violins du Roy

    Karina Gauvin, Daniel Taylor and Bernard Labadie

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    J.S BACH: Piano Concertos

    Label: Virgin Classics

    Release Date: 16 Jan 13

    BWV 1052, 1054, 1056, 1058, 1065

    Alexandre Tharaud and Bernard Labadie

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    The Three Baroque Tenors

    Label: EMI Classics

    Release Date: 08 Sep 10

    This recording features six world premier recordings of arias by Caldara, Conti, Gasparini, Handel, Scarlatti and Vivaldi.

    The English Concert

    Ian Bostridge and Bernard Labadie

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    PERGOLESI: Stabat Mater

    Label: Dorian

    Release Date: 11 Jan 10

    Les Violons du Roy

    Dorothea Röschmann, Catherine Robbin and Bernard Labadie

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    MOZART: Requiem

    Label: Dorian

    Release Date: 06 Jan 03

    Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Quebec

    Karina Gauvin, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, John Tessier, Nathan Berg and Bernard Labadie

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    HANDEL & HASSE: Arias

    Label: Virgin Classics

    Release Date: 04 Sep 06

    Les Violons du Roy

    Vivica Genaux and Bernard Labadie

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    HANDEL: Apollo e Dafne

    Label: Sono Luminus

    Release Date: 01 Jan 00

    Les Violons du Roy

    Karina Gauvin, Russel Braun and Bernard Labadie

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    15 Aug 19 Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice English Concert
    Edinburgh Festival

    “But it was the entire picture, created effortlessly by Labadie, that was so impressive here. His moulding of the textures was insightful, the velveteen softness of the cornets and sackbuts never a threat to the soft-spoken strings, the interplay of the echoing violins and centre stage tutti a telling amplification of the dramatic narrative.

    It moved like the wind, Labadie often treating the cadence of one number as a direct springboard to the next. But never in a way that rocked the music’s composure and stability. Pin-sharp detail counted as much as eloquent paragraphs. The dances danced.”
    Ken Walton, The Scotsman, 16 August 2019

    “Performing with sparkle and sway, the English Concert, under the baton of Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie, along with a stellar trio of soloists, gave a splendid concert performance of Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice. Opening with a crisp sound, Labadie began with quick, nimble movements, before settling into a smoother style. There was an excellent balance between choir and orchestra, with both producing a rich, honeyed timbre. The chorus, as the furies, were almost shouting at the start of Act Two, while accompanied by rough and ready, striking string chords. Moving on the scene two, tinkling harp playing – used to represent Orfeo’s lyre – was softly accompanied by pizzicato strings, and the oboe playing in Orfeo’s “Che puro ciel” was beautifully rounded. There was indeed – as per part of the aria’s translation -‘sweet, enchanting harmony’ displayed in the orchestra, with little bubbles and flourishes underpinned by a steady continuo.”
    Miranda Heggie, The Herald Scotland, 16 August 2019

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    12 Apr 19 Mozart Requiem Philadelphia Orchestra

    “The musical scholarship is all very much welcome. But if you’ve ever sung in a chorus, seen the movie Amadeus, or enjoyed a good fugue, you’ll probably find the Philadelphia Orchestra’s current all-Mozart program enormously satisfying.

    That’s not to minimize the revelatory nature of Bernard Labadie’s approach. The baroque and classical repertoire specialist led a slimmed-down ensemble Thursday night while sitting on a piano bench (as he does all the time now), and brought a generally early-music character to an ensemble widely admired for its fat, lustrous wall of sound.

    I very much liked Labadie’s subtle rubato and dynamics. He’s expressive in carefully judged doses, like the way he pushed the strings to victory in the ‘Sanctus.'”
    Peter Dobrin, The Inquirer, 12 April 2019

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    05 Feb 19 Mozart Cosi fan tutte
    Candian Opera Company

    “Leading the COC Orchestra, chorus and singers is Quebec Mozart maestro Bernard Labadie. He brought out every nuance in Mozart’s rich score. The sound was light, rhythmic and evocative.”
    John Terauds, The Star, 6 February 2019

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    25 May 18 Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin
    Konzerthaus Berlin

    “ In short, this evening was a delight.”
    “Kurz: Dieser Abend war einfach nur ein Genuss.“
    Andreas Göbel, kultur Radio, 28 May 2018

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    16 Mar 18 Mozart and Hayden St Louis Symphony Orchestra
    Powell Symphony Hall

    “Labadie and the orchestra gave it an irresistible reading”…“He no longer uses a baton. His capacity for superb music-making, however, is undiminished.”

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    15 Feb 18 Rigel, Mendelssohn, Mozart Cleveland Orchestra
    Severance Hall

    “Labadie’s performance of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 was full of contrast. Contrast in tempo. Contrast in dynamics. Contrast in balance. In short, a more varied or feistier performance would be hard to imagine.”
    “Under the hand of Labadie, the orchestra’s strings were as warm, responsive, and tight as ever, and in the Andante, the entire group played with a level of delicacy and nuance that was itself worthy of encore.”
    Zachary Lewis, Cleveland.com, 

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    09 Feb 18 Gabriel Faure Requiem
    Minneapolis

    “Labadie’s performance of the Requiem was exceptionally successful. Perched upon a double riser on a piano stool, he paced the music beautifully, distilling a soothing atmosphere of elegance and quiet intensity from the performers.”
    Terry Blain, Star Tribune, 10 February 2018

    “Labadie ensured the performance was an inspired one, with a moving, powerful interpretation of Faure’s soft setting of the mass for the dead, a work less about the pain of loss than the wish for peace and the warm solace of a well-deserved rest.”
    Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press, 10 February 2018

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    24 Nov 17 Telemann Miriways
    Laeiszhalle Hamburg

    “Labadie förderte die Unterhaltung dank seines musikalischen Gespürs und seiner abschaubaren Lust an diesem Werk zusätzlich mit anstachelnden Schüben und dynamischer Detailverliebtheit.”

    “Labadie heightened the drama thanks to his musical instinct and his apparent desire for the work to have spurring thrusts and well thought out dynamic details.”

    ★★★★★ Pan Jens Kiler, Bachtrack, 25 November 2017

    “Das Solistenensemble und die Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin unter der Leitung von Bernard Labadie schafften das Kunststück, das Bühnenstück “Miriways” so abwechslungsreich und spannungsvoll zu präsentieren, dass die Zeit wie im Flug verging.”

    “Under Bernard Labadie’s baton, the soloists and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin’s performance of the ‘Miriways’ was diverse and ecstatic that the time absolutely flown by.”

    Ulrike Henningsen, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, 25 November 2017

     

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    14 Oct 17 Rebel, Mozart & Haydn Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Les Gemeaux

    “Cela étant, sous la direction finement articulée mais aux gestes ronds et amples de Labadie, les musiciens du Philharmonique jouent parfaitement le jeu : cordes senza vibrato, archets précis, attaques incisives et justesse enviable… ”

    “Moreover, under the finely articulated direction with grand gestures of Labadie’s, the Philharmonic musicians play the game perfectly: senza vibrato strings, precise bowings, incisive attacks and enviable accuracy…”

    ★★★★★ Par Alain Lompech, Bachtrack, 15 October 2017

     

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    05 Oct 17 Bach and Mozart Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Frankfurt

    “Unter der Leitung des kanadischen Gastdirigenten Bernard Labadie hatten sich die Streicher zuvor souveräner in der Begegnung mit der reichen Gespreiztheit und den opulenten Verzierungen gezeigt … einen gewichtigen Schlusspunkt setzte die Aufführung der “Prager” Sinfonie D-Dur KV 504, die Labadie in ihrem weiten dynamischen Spektrum im Großen wie in den feinen Abstufungen im Detail ausreizte.”

    “Under the baton of the Canadian guest director Bernard Labadie, the music flourishes with the strings’ elegant embellishments … Labadie’s performance of the Prague Symphony: the wide dynamic spectrum and the fine gradations showing the versatility of the orchestra.”

    Axel Zibulski, Rhein Main Zeitung, 10 October 2017

     

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    20 Jan 17 Mozart 'The Magic Flute' Canadian Opera Company
    Toronto

    “Labadie led a highly disciplined COC Orchestra in an interesting reading of the score from the pit. Rooted in authentic performance practice, his tempi were on the quick side, his textures transparent, clear, unsentimental. Reverence for each Mozart note, each Mozart phrase, each Mozart texture were the hallmarks of the reading, and the overall effect became irresistible. As the emotional tempo of the piece accelerated in Act 2, Labadie’s devotion to the score became more and more essential. One felt we were hearing the score exactly as Mozart wanted us to hear it.”
    Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail, 20 January 2017 

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    09 Dec 16 Mozart Symphonies 31 & 39 New York Philharmonic
    Lincoln Centre

    “The New York Philharmonic, under Bernard Labadie’s direction, gave performances of that concerto and three other Mozart works that were about as aperto as you can get.’…’Labadie’s crisp, purposeful reading of the first movement was appropriately up-front, while not neglecting such Mozartean touches as the glow that winds imparted to light-footed strings, or the little sighs slipped into the festive coda.”
    David Wright, New York Classical Review, 2 December 2016 

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    26 Nov 16 Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
    Kansas

    “Labadie, seated to conduct and using small expressive gestures close to the body, directed a subtle interplay of inner voices (a touch of bassoon, firm voicing of second violins, balanced fugal entrances), leading to drastic dynamic shifts’…’Haydn’s Symphony No. 98 ended the concert with a celebratory mood, the audience clapping between each movement and standing at the conclusion. The ensemble reveled in the work’s playful nuance, Labadie pulling back the ends of phrases, the solo voices eager and sprightly, including the concluding flourish from harpsichord, Haydn’s final surprising touch in a symphony both ingenious and amusing.”

    Libby Hanssen, The Kansas City Star, 26 November 2016 

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    12 Nov 16 Handel and Mozart New World Symphony
    Miami Beach

    “Labadie really knows how to make Haydn’s music come alive. While he gave ample attention to the symphony’s sturm und drang elements, the performance was light on its feet. Despite playing without vibrato and the strings utilizing Baroque bows, this performance was more big-band Haydn than period-infused. The winds really sparkled in the reprise of the first movement’s secondary subject….’Labadie brought superb energy to the fugal sections of the Vivace finale. This was a Haydn performance to lift the spirit.”
    Lawrence Budmen, South Flordia Classical Review, 13 November 2016 

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    17 Apr 14 Vivaldi and Pergolesi The English Concert
    Barbican Centre

    “Bernard Labadie’s conception seemed perfectly thought-through, for this as well as each and every piece on the programme. A most memorable concert.”
    Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard, 19 April 2014 

    “The orchestra have a characteristic way of dancing on every note, and a freedom of movement (exploited here to great effect by Bernard Labadie’s conducting) that allowed them to pause mid-gesture, opening up a fleeting space in which to savour Pergolesi’s stabbing dissonances, whose blades were given a fresh edge by flawless period intonation.”
    Guy Dammann, The Guardian, 21 April 2014 

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    17 Feb 14 Gluck, Haydn and Mozart WDR Rundfunkorchester
    Cologne

    “The WDR Symphony Orchestra played with visible pleasure at the highest level, this was down to the energetic and demanding Bernard Labadie.”
    Christian Otterstein, ‘Iserlohner Kreisanzeiger’ / Westfälische Rundschau’ 17 February 2014

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    21 Feb 14 St Louis Symphony Orchestra
    St Louis

    “The always-welcome, always-effective Labadie … Labadie demonstrated the gift of providing just the right amount of information … Labadie is very much at home in that oeuvre, and led a well-balanced performance. This is a seriously joyful work, with Mozart at his best; with the SLSO in fine form, it provided the perfect ending to the performance.”
    Sarah Bryan Miller, St Louis Post-Dispatch, 21 February 2014