dir. Philippe Herreweghe

Information

Please note: MGMM is Collegium Vocale Gent’s representative only in Spain

Collegium Vocale Gent

In 2010, Collegium Vocale Gent celebrated its founding forty years before, by a group of friends studying at the University of Ghent, on Philippe Herreweghe’s initiative. They were one of the first ensembles to use new ideas about baroque performance practice in vocal music. Their authentic, text-oriented and rhetorical approach gave the ensemble the transparent sound with which it would acquire world fame and perform at the major concert venues and music festivals of Europe, Israel, the United States, Russia, South America, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

In recent years, Collegium Vocale Gent has grown organically into an extremely flexible ensemble whose wide repertoire encompasses a range of different stylistic periods. Its greatest strength is its ability to assemble the ideal performing forces for any project. Music from the Renaissance, for example, is performed by an ensemble of six to twelve singers. German Baroque music, particularly J.S. Bach’s vocal works, quickly became a speciality of the group and is still the jewel in its crown. Today Collegium Vocale performs this music with a small ensemble in which the singers take both the chorus and solo parts. Collegium Vocale is also specializing more and more in the Romantic, modern and contemporary oratorio repertoires. To this end, Collegium Vocale Gent entered into a partnership with the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (Italy) in 2009. The result is a shared symphonic choir recruiting singers from all of Europe, in which experienced singers stand alongside young talent. Moreover, Collegium Vocale Gent fulfils an important educational position. Besides using its own baroque orchestra, Collegium Vocale Gent works with several historically informed instrumental ensembles to perform these projects, including the Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Freiburger Barockorchester and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. It also works with prominent symphony orchestras such as deFilharmonie (Royal Flemish Philharmonic), the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The ensemble has worked with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sigiswald Kuijken, René Jacobs, Paul Van Nevel, Iván Fischer, Marcus Creed, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and many others leading conductors. Under Philippe Herreweghe’s direction, Collegium Vocale Gent has built up an impressive discography with more than 75 recordings, most of them with the Harmonia Mundi France and Virgin Classics labels. In 2010, Philippe Herreweghe started his own label φ (phi) in order to give himself full artistic freedom to build up a rich and varied catalogue. The first CD, of motets by J.S.Bach (PHI-002) will be released in 2011, followed by a new recording of Bach’s Mass in B minor and a recording of works by Johannes Brahms. Collegium Vocale Gent enjoys the financial support of the Flemish Community, the Province of East Flanders and the city of Ghent. In 2011 the ensemble became Ambassador of the European Union.

Philippe Herreweghe

Philippe Herreweghe was born in Ghent and studied at both the university and music conservatory there, studying piano with Marcel Gazelle. He also started to conduct during this period, and founded Collegium Vocale Gent in 1970. He was invited by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt, who had noticed his innovative work, to participate in their recordings of the complete cantatas of J.S. Bach.

Herreweghe’s energetic, authentic and rhetorical approach to baroque music was soon drawing praise. In 1977 he founded the ensemble La Chapelle Royale in Paris, with whom he performed music of the French Golden Age. From 1982 to 2002 he was artistic director of the Académies Musicales de Saintes. During this period, he founded several new ensembles with whom he made historically appropriate and well-thought-out interpretations of repertoire stretching from the Renaissance to contemporary music. They include the Ensemble Vocal Européen, specialised in Renaissance polyphony, and the Orchestre des Champs Élysées, founded in 1991 with the aim of playing Romantic and pre-Romantic repertoire on original instruments. Since 2009, Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent have been actively working on the development of a large European-level symphonic choir, at the invitation of the prestigious Accademia Chigiana in Siena. Philippe Herreweghe continually seeks out new musical challenges, and for some time has been very active performing the great symphonic works, from Beethoven to Gustav Mahler. Since 1997 he is principal conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. He was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Netherlands’ Radio Chamber Philharmonic since 2008. He is also in great demand as a guest conductor with orchestras such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig and the Berlin-based Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Over the years, Philippe Herreweghe has built up an extensive discography of more than 100 recordings with all these different ensembles, on such labels as Harmonia Mundi France, Virgin Classics and Pentatone. Highlights include the Lagrime di San Pietro of Lassus, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Schumann, Mahler’s song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5, Pierrot Lunaire by Schönberg and the Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky. In 2010 he founded his own label φ (PHI), in order to give himself full artistic freedom to build up a rich and varied catalogue. The first recording, of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.4 (PHI-001) has been released, and the second CD, of J.S.Bach motets (PHI-002), is anticipated in 2011, followed by a new recording of Bach’s Mass in B minor and a recording of works by Johannes Brahms. Philippe Herreweghe has received numerous European awards for his consistent artistic imagination and commitment. In 1990 the European music press named him “Musical Personality of the Year”. Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent were appointed “Cultural Ambassadors of Flanders” in 1993. A year later he was awarded the Belgian order of Officier des Arts et Lettres, and in 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven. In 2003 he received the French title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. Lastly, in 2010 the city of Leipzig awarded him its Bach-Medaille for his great service as a performer of Bach.

More info at :  www.collegiumvocalegent.com / www.orchestredeschampselysées.com / www.defilharmonie.com

© collegium vocale ghent/jens van durme (January 2010)

Programmes available in Spain

April 2012 St Matthew Passion, J.S. Bach

June 2012 Tenebrae Responsories, Gesualdo Da Venosa

December 2012 Christmas Oratorio, J.S. Bach