Bernard Labadie Named Principal Conductor of Orchestra of St. Luke’s

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Debuts with the Ensemble at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts on July 2, 2017 

Pablo Heras-Casado to Become St. Luke’s First Conductor Laureate

New York, NY, May 3, 2017 — Orchestra of St. Luke’s today announced the appointment of renowned French Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie as its next Principal Conductor, beginning a four-year term in the 2018-19 season. Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading conductors of Baroque, Classical, and Early-Romantic repertoire, Labadie will make his debut with the Orchestra at Caramoor on July 2, 2017 and then appear with the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on December 7, 2017. As Principal Conductor, Labadie will lead Orchestra of St. Luke’s in its annual subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall, and at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. He succeeds Pablo Heras-Casado, who takes the role of Conductor Laureate starting in the 2017-18 season, a new position St. Luke’s created for him.

Orchestra of St. Luke’s President and Executive Director James Roe stated, “I am thrilled to welcome Bernard Labadie, a galvanizing artist of international stature, as Orchestra of St. Luke’s fifth Principal Conductor. Already well-known to New York audiences, he is ideally suited to serve as both artistic partner and visionary leader of our dynamic organization. On behalf of the musicians, board, and staff at St. Luke’s, we look forward to working with Bernard at this important moment for the Orchestra, as we continue to fulfill our mission through performance, education, and at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music.”

Norman Benzaquen, Chairman of Orchestra of St. Luke’s Board of Directors added, “St. Luke’s continually strives to achieve new artistic heights. Bernard’s impeccable artistry and history of building organizations make him the perfect fit for our next chapter.”

Bernard Labadie said, “I have always admired Orchestra of St. Luke’s because this celebrated ensemble was founded by musicians who remain at the heart of the organization’s culture to this day. With an orchestra of this caliber and its history of great conductors, my vision for St. Luke’s is to deepen the Orchestra’s existing affinity with the musical language of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, and further develop a sound unique to the Ensemble that the audiences will recognize immediately. I am eager to embark on this musical journey with an orchestra so integral to the musical life of New York City.”

Labadie founded the celebrated chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy in 1984 and built it to international renown. He stepped down in 2014 from his 30-year tenure as Music Director to pursue wider interests. He now joins Orchestra of St. Luke’s in its fifth decade, continuing the Orchestra’s lineage of principal conductors with strong associations to the world of historically informed performance. Labadie plans to regularly incorporate his chamber choir, La Chapelle de Québec, into his annual work with St. Luke’s, bringing together these two celebrated ensembles.

“The Orchestra of St. Luke’s appointment of Bernard Labadie is great for the Orchestra, for Carnegie Hall, and for music in New York City,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “Over the years, Bernard has become a wonderful musical friend to the team at Carnegie Hall, and his great artistry is much admired by our audiences. With his special expertise in the Baroque and Classical repertoire, he is sure to build on St. Luke’s strengths, exploring this music in even greater depth and developing a distinct artistic profile for the Orchestra’s programs at Carnegie Hall. It will be exciting to welcome him in this new role.”

“For nearly 40 years, Caramoor has been pleased to have Orchestra of St. Luke’s in residence each summer and to have hosted the first moment for many of its Principal Conductors to perform with the orchestra,” noted Caramoor CEO Jeffrey Haydon. “This summer, we are thrilled to welcome Bernard Labadie to Caramoor to conduct Orchestra of St. Luke’s in an all-Mozart program and to bring his acclaimed expertise in this repertoire to our audiences.”

Bernard Labadie is a regular guest conductor with all the major North American orchestras, and has appeared locally with the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and Les Violons du Roy presented by Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. His notable European engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Hanover. Reviewing Labadie’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Tribune wrote that his “exhilarating” reading gave the audience a “Beethoven tailored for the early 21st century.”

About Bernard Labadie

Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as a leading conductor of Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work as Founding Conductor of Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec. With these two ensembles, he regularly tours Canada, the US, and Europe in such major venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Barbican, The Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival, among others.

Labadie has become a regular presence on the podiums of leading North American orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the Symphony Orchestras of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Montreal, Toronto, and Miami’s New World Symphony.

Increasingly in demand among period-instrument orchestras as well, he frequently leads the Academy of Ancient Music and has worked with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, and Collegium Vocale Gent Orchestra, and soon with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. His 2017 conducting engagements feature debuts with the Norwegian and Vienna Chamber Orchestras, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Orchestre National de Lyon, and appearances with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne.

An eminent opera conductor, Maestro Labadie has served as Artistic Director of Opéra de Québec and Opéra de Montréal. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2009-2010 season with Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, a work he also led at the Cincinnati Opera in 2011 and with which he made his 2017 debut at the Canadian Opera Company. Other highlights include Handel’s Orlando with Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Mozart’s Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera.

Bernard Labadie’s extensive discography comprises many critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including a collaborative recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which received Canada’s Juno Award. Additional recordings include C.P.E. Bach’s complete cello concertos with Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy, and Haydn’s piano concertos with Marc-André Hamelin.

In 2016, Bernard Labadie received the Samuel de Champlain award in Paris. He was honored with a 2005 appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada and his home province named him a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec in 2006.

Labadie is OSL’s fifth titled conductor, joining the distinguished roster of Pablo Heras-Casado (2011-2017), Roger Norrington (1990-1994), Charles Mackerras (1998-2001), and Donald Runnicles (2001-2007).

Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Now in its 42nd season, Orchestra of St. Luke’s grew out of a versatile chamber ensemble that began performing concerts at New York’s Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village in 1974. Today, OSL performs approximately 80 concerts each year, including its Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series, Chamber Music Series at The Morgan Library & Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Caramoor Summer Season. A champion of new music, OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works, and given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres, including the New York premiere of John Adams’s Nixon in China and the world premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, Steve Reich’s Duet, and William Bolcom’s The Hawthorne Tree. The Orchestra has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including four Grammy Award winners and seven releases on its own label. OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, which provides rehearsal, recording, and performance space for more than 30,000 musicians annually, hosts free concerts and events for more than 10,000 New York City students and families, and provides after-school instrumental instruction for the 125+ members of the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s. For more information, visit OSLmusic.org.

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

Opened in 2011, the 20,000+ square foot DiMenna Center for Classical Music, located at 450 West 37th Street, is OSL’s permanent home and the first New York City space acoustically optimized for classical music rehearsal, recording, and education. The DiMenna Center offers local and touring musicians access to affordable, state-of-the-art facilities at its midtown Manhattan space. The Center has hosted such celebrated artists as Iván Fischer, Renée Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Christian Tetzlaff, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Itzhak Perlman, the New York Philharmonic, Sting, James Taylor, International Contemporary Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Opera, Teatro alla Scala, and many others. Committed to serving the musical community and its Hell’s Kitchen community, The DiMenna Center also hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and school children each year, in addition to other free community events. The DiMenna Center’s building is also home to Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC). For more information, visit DiMennaCenter.org.

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