Gérard Lesne

conductor, countertenor
Born July 15, 1956 in Montmorency (France).

Blessed with a voice whose bright top register and powerful low register blend with a miraculous smoothness which many singers only achieve after years of hard work, Gerard Lesne began travelling across Europe with the Clemencic Consort. It was only in 1991 that he moved on from the medieval repertory, having taken part in the rediscovery of Gregorian chant with Ensemble Organum, got a taste of French Baroque music with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants (from 1984 to 1990) and J.S. Bach with Philippe Herreweghe (from 1988 to 1992).

Gérard Lesne perfected a stylistic versatility and technical mastery eminently suited to Italian music. The richness of timbre and agility of his voice, his mastery of colour and the full gamut of Baroque affetti, the very lifeblood of Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi and Stradella, prompted him to found Il Seminario Musicale in 1985, an ensemble with which he began to explore this most challenging of repertoires.

Particularly noteworthy are Gérard Lesne’s interpretations of cantatas by Bononcini, Antonio Caldara and Georg Frideric Handel, motets by Monteverdi and Scarlatti, his collection of Portuguese songs entitled O Lusitano, and an album of sacred works by A. Vivaldi. Of outstanding merit are the Charpentier Leçons de Ténèbres, which won the coveted Victoires de la musique award in France in 1993 for the Good Friday CD, which was followed by those devoted to the Wednesday and Thursday of Holy Week, all of them winning the distinguished Diapason d’Or award; his Byrd disc with Ensemble Orlando Gibbons and recently Hasse’s I Pellegrini al Sepolcro di Nostro Signore. These recordings were released by Virgin Classics, for which he is an exclusive artist.

Every year since 1993, Gérard Lesne has been giving courses in vocal interpretation at Royaumont Abbey in France, the very place where his career was launched amid enthusiastic applause for a concert in which he stood in at the last minute for a soloist in the Clemencic Consort. It is a telling sign of his consistently successful development ever since that he should have returned to Royaumont as a fully recognised master of his art.

He has made a speciality of the Italian Baroque repertoire, with the odd foray into such as François Couperin.

Upper right picture : © DR. Central picture : © DR.