Bernard Labadie, an internationally recognized expert on 17th and 18th century repertoire, is the founding conductor of Les Violons du Roy, established in 1984, and the music director of La Chapelle de Québec, which he founded in 1985. He directs both ensembles during their regular seasons in Quebec City and Montreal, as well as on tour throughout the Americas and Europe. Together, they have performed on the world’s greatest stages, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, London’s Barbican, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and the festivals of Salzburg and Bergen.
His services as guest conductor are much sought after, and he regularly accepts engagements with major North American orchestras including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, the Chicago, Saint Louis, San Francisco, and Toronto symphonies, the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras, the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. In Europe, he has taken the podium with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Cologne, Hanover and Freiburg Radio Symphony orchestras, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Newcastle’s Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Norwegian and Swedish Chamber orchestras, and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. He is regularly invited to conduct the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia. And he will soon make his debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, New York’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt and Berlin Radio Symphony orchestras, the Lyon National Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Bernard Labadie has also been very involved in opera, serving as artistic director of the Opéra de Québec (1994–2003) and the Opéra de Montréal (2002–2006). As guest conductor he has directed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as the Santa Fe, Cincinnati and Glimmerglass operas. January 2017 saw him lead the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto for the first time.
Increasingly in demand among period-instrument orchestras, he regularly directs the Academy of Ancient Music and has worked with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the English Concert, Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, the Collegium Vocale Gent Orchestra, and the Arion Baroque Orchestra. Next season he is set to conduct Akamus, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
As director of Les Violons du Roy or as guest conductor, Bernard Labadie has made some twenty recordings for the Erato (formerly Virgin Classics), EMI, Dorian, ATMA, Hyperion and Naïve labels.
A leading ambassador for music in his native city of Quebec, 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 developing the arts in Canada, and also an honorary doctorate from Laval University. In 2016 Labadie received the Samuel de Champlain award in Paris, and was made a Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec in recognition of all he has done for the arts in Québec society. In 2017 he was appointed principal conductor of New York’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His four-year term begins with the 2018–2019 season.