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Philippe Herreweghe, who was born in 1947, attended the Jesuit College of his native Ghent and studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent while also earning a degree in medicine and psychiatry in 1975. During his university years, he also took lessons in harpsichord, organ, and choral conducting. In 1970 he founded the Collegium Vocale Gent, and following a performance of Bach’s St. John Passion in Amsterdam, Herreweghe was invited by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt to participate with his ensemble in their recordings of the complete Bach cantatas. In 1977 Herreweghe founded La Chapelle Royale, with which he has specialized in the performance of French music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He expanded his historical range by founding the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées in 1991 to perform works from the classical era to early modernism. For 20 years, from 1982 to 2002, Herreweghe led the Académies Musicales de Saintes; since 1997 he has also served as Music Director of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. In addition to his work with his own ensembles, Herreweghe regularly appears with traditional symphony orchestras and has conducted such ensembles as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Philippe Herreweghe has made more than 100 recordings and in 2010 launched his own label, φ (phi). He has won numerous awards: he was chosen as European Musician of the Year in 1991, named to the order Officier des Arts et des Lettres in 1994, and given a noble title by the King of Belgium in 2003; in the same year he received the title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and in 2010 he won the Bach Medal in Leipzig.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 16 April 1992 in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, leading La Chapelle Royale and the Collegium Vocale Gent.