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The harpsichordist, conductor, and musicologist William Christie is a native of Buffalo, New York, and studied music at Harvard and Yale Universities. In 1971 he settled in France and began performing throughout Europe. The turning point in his career came in 1979, when he founded his own ensemble, Les Arts Florissants: with them Christie focuses in particular on the French Baroque repertoire from Charpentier to Rameau. Since his performance of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris, he has frequently led staged productions, whether in Paris or at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, where Christie has conducted operas by composers from Monteverdi to Mozart. Among his credits are various works by Handel and Rameau at the Glyndebourne Festival; Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, and Handel’s Orlando at Zurich Opera; Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Vienna Festwochen. Christie has also collaborated numerous times with the Berlin Philharmonic. An important commitment for him is his educational work. In 1982 he became the first American to be named a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, where until 1995 he led the course in early music. In 2002 he created an academy for young singers called Le Jardin des Voix. And since 2007 he has given master classes twice a year as artist-in-residence at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. William Christie has recorded some 100 CDs, many of which have won awards. In 1995 he became a French citizen; he is a Commandeur in both the Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has also been named a Grand Officier in the Ordre National du Mérite.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 27 August 1996 with Les Arts Florissants in works by Sigismondo d’India and Claudio Monteverdi.