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Hervé Niquet

Hervé Niquet is a rare musician: while some composer/performers are also conductors, few have also managed a successful career as a singer, as has Niquet. Moreover, he has not only conducted instrumental ensembles but choral groups as well. As a composer, he has received prestigious commissions, including one from Princess Caroline of Monaco. As a conductor, Niquet is generally associated with French Baroque music -- particularly the works of Boismortier, Charpentier, and Rameau -- but it would be unfair to typecast him as a specialist in that vein. He has not only performed and recorded much Handel and Purcell but has developed a repertory reaching into the 19th and 20th centuries, taking on works by Chabrier, Gounod, Poulenc, and many others. Niquet is the founder and director of Le Concert Spirituel, which he led on a recording of Mozart's La Flûte Enchantée on the Château de Versailles label in 2021. Niquet was born on October 28, 1957, and grew up in Abbeville, France. Following extensive studies of harpsichord, organ, composition, conducting, and singing, Niquet was appointed choir master of the Paris Opéra in 1980. 1985 was a pivotal year for the young musician: he received a commission from Princess Caroline to write a ballet (24 Hours in the Life of a Woman), and he joined Les Arts Florissant as a tenor. Meanwhile, he continued branching out as a conductor, leading major ensembles across Europe, mostly in Baroque fare. In 1987, Niquet founded the orchestra he has been most closely associated with, Le Concert Spirituel. He derived the name from the ensemble founded in Paris in 1725 that disbanded in 1790. Consisting of about 50 players, the group has come to be regarded as one of the foremost Baroque orchestras in Europe, and Niquet has been closely identified with Le Concert Spirituel since its founding. Niquet founded another ensemble in 2002, the Montreal-based La Nouvele Sinfonie. This orchestra is made up of about 40 musicians and, like Le Concert Spirituel, mainly focuses on French Baroque repertory. Niquet has been instrumental in the performances of lesser-known operas through his work with the Palazzetto Bru Zane - Centre de Musique Romantique Française foundation. Rediscovered works include Félicien David's Herculanum and Fromental Halévy's La Reine de Chypre. Niquet served as the music director of the Vlaams Radiokoor from 2011 until 2019, and the artistic director of the Festival de l’Abbaye de Saint-Riquier Baie de Somme from 2013 until 2017. In concert and on tape, Niquet often performs both as conductor and harpsichordist or organist. He has appeared on countless recordings in various roles since the 1980s, often as a headlining performer. His albums are available on a variety of labels, including EMI, Naïve, and Naxos. The Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra and Vlaams Radiokoor, with Niquet leading, earned an ECHO Klassik award in 2016 for a recording of David's Herculanum. In 2021, Niquet led Le Concert Spirituel on a Château de Versailles recording of Mozart's La Flûte Enchantée.
© Robert Cummings & Keith Finke /TiVo
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Discography

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