Bernard Labadie, an internationally recognized specialist in 17th-, 18th-, and early 19th century repertoire, is the founding conductor of Les Violons du Roy. He was the ensemble’s music director from 1984 to 2014 and remains the music director of La Chapelle de Québec choir, which he founded in 1985. He has toured Europe and the Americas as the head of both ensembles, performing with them at some of the world’s greatest concert halls and festivals: Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Barbican in London, the Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and the Salzburg, Bergen, Rheingau, and Schleswig Holstein festivals. In the spring of 2018 he leads Les Violons du Roy on a U.S., Mexico, and Colombia tour featuring violinist Isabelle Faust and soprano Julia Lezhneva.
In 2017 Bernard Labadie was named principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York, beginning with the 2018–2019 season. As such, he will conduct the orchestra’s annual concert series at Carnegie Hall. In great demand as a guest conductor, Maestro Labadie makes frequent appearances with major North American and European orchestras. In the 2017–2018 season alone, his engagements include the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras; the Pittsburgh, Saint-Louis, Baltimore, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the radio orchestras of Frankfurt, Finland (Helsinki), and Berlin; the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Lyon National Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Since the start of his international career in the late 1990s, he has also made appearances with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta orchestras, the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami Beach, and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
Bernard Labadie is very active in the world of period orchestras. He made his conducting début with Berlin’s Akademie für alte Musik in November 2017 and has also led the Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra in Boston, and Montreal’s Ensemble Arion.
At the opera, Bernard Labadie served as artistic director of Opéra de Québec from 1994 to 2003 and as artistic director of Opéra de Montréal from 2002 to 2006. He has also appeared as guest conductor with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and at Glimmerglass.
Bernard Labadie has recorded some twenty albums for Virgin Classics (Erato), EMI, Dorian, ATMA, Hyperion, and Naïve, both as a guest conductor and with Les Violons du Roy. Two new releases, with the SWR Freiburg Symphony Orchestra and with Berlin’s Akademie für Alte Musik, are due out in 2018.
A tireless ambassador for music in his hometown of Québec City, Bernard Labadie was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005 and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec in 2006. In 2008 he received the Banff Centre’s National Arts Award for his contribution to the development of the arts in Canada and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Université Laval. In 2016 Bernard Labadie received the Samuel de Champlain award in Paris and was made a Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec for his contribution to the arts in Quebec society. He received an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and the Medal of the National Assembly of Quebec in 2018.