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Sébastien d'Hérin

The French musician Sébastien d'Hérin has established himself as a leading figure on the French early music scene through his varied activities as harpsichordist, fortepianist, conductor, and co-leader of his own ensemble, Les Nouveaux Caractères. Hérin began his career as a keyboardist, studying at the Paris Conservatoire. At graduation he earned three top prizes, all of them in the keyboard field (harpsichord, piano, and continuo playing). The school's faculty, however, also introduced him to Baroque opera, which fascinated him and led to a new direction in his career. He went on for graduate studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Hérin's teachers have included A-listers of the Baroque scene at the end of the 20th century: Christophe Rousset, Kenneth Gilbert, Bob van Asperen, Gustav Leonhardt, and Pierre Hantaï, and he established his career by playing continuo in ensembles led by some of these, and by such figures as Jean-Claude Malgoire, Hervé Niquet, and Emmanuel Krivine. In the mid-2000s, Hérin began to find guest conducting slots opening up at the opera houses of Rouen, Rennes, and Besançon, and the Orchestre d'Auvergne, among other venues, and he honed his conducting skills as an assistant to Niquet and to choral conductor Laurence Equilbey. In 2006 Hérin and soprano Caroline Mutel founded Les Nouveaux Caractères, devoted to the exploration of unusual vocal repertory and music of theatrical inspiration. At Rennes, he had led that group in two operas by Henry Purcell, generally the province of English ensembles, and he has unearthed unusual operas like Rameau's Les Surprises de l'Amour and Leclair's Scylla et Glaucus, recording those works for the Glossa and Alpha labels, respectively. Hérin has been heard on best-selling recordings like Cecilia Bartoli's Opera Proibita (2005). In 2017, he and Les Nouveaux Caractères issued their recording of Purcell's The Fairy Queen on Glossa.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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