William Christie © Denis Rouvre
Harpsichordist, conductor, and musicologist William Christie was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1944 and studied music at Harvard and Yale Universities. He settled in France in 1971 and began giving concerts throughout Europe. His career took a decisive upswing with the founding of the ensemble Les Arts Florissants in 1979, with which Christie has devoted himself primarily to the French Baroque repertoire from Charpentier to Rameau. Since their performance of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1987, staged productions have also been on the program, whether in Paris or at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, where Christie has presented operas from Monteverdi to Mozart. He has performed works by Handel and Rameau at the Glyndebourne Festival; has conducted Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, Charpentier’s Médée, and, most recently, Handel’s Semele, among others, at Zurich Opera; and has devoted himself to Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, to Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Vienna Festival, and to Monteverdi’s Poppea at the Salzburg Festival. In 2021, he conducted a new production of Mondonville’s Titon et l’Aurore in Paris. Christie has also worked with the Berlin Philharmonic on several occasions. Commitment to education is of great importance to him: in 1982, he became the first American to receive a professorship at the Paris Conservatoire, where he led the early music class until 1995. In Caen, he founded Le Jardin des Voix, an academy for young singers, in 2002. And he has been conducting master classes twice a year since 2007 at New York’s Juilliard School of Music. William Christie has recorded more than 100 CDs, many of which have garnered awards. He took French citizenship in 1995. He is a Commander of the Legion of Honor and in the Order of Arts and Letters and has been named a Grand Officier dans l’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.