Bernard Labadie, an internationally recognized specialist in 17th-, 18th-, and early 19th-century repertoire, is the founding conductor of Les Violons du Roy. He was the ensemble’s music director from 1984 to 2014 and remains the music director of La Chapelle de Québec, which he founded in 1985.
As head of both ensembles, he has toured Europe and North America performing at some of the most illustrious concert halls and festivals: Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center (New York), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Kennedy Center (Washington), the Barbican (London), Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Paris), Brussels’ Centre for Fine Arts, and the Salzburg, Bergen, Rheingau, and Schleswig-Holstein festivals.
In 2017, Bernard Labadie was named principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York. He conducts the orchestra’s annual concert series at Carnegie Hall.
A much sought-after guest conductor in North America, he makes frequent appearances with major American and Canadian orchestras: Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Houston, New World Symphony, Montréal, Toronto and Ottawa. In Europe, he has conducted the orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux-Aquitaine and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. He has also headed several radio orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the radio orchestras in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hanover and Helsinki.
Bernard Labadie regularly collaborates with some of the most prestigious period-instrument early music ensembles: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Ensemble Arion.
At the opera, he served as artistic director of Opéra de Québec from 1994 to 2003 and as artistic director of Opéra de Montréal from 2002 to 2006. He has also appeared as guest conductor with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, and the Santa Fe and Cincinnati operas. In 2021, he made his debut appearance at the Glyndebourne Festival.
Both as a guest conductor and with Les Violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie has recorded some twenty albums for Virgin Classics (now Erato), EMI, Pentatone, Dorian, ATMA, Hyperion and Naïve.
A tireless ambassador for music in his hometown of Québec City, Bernard Labadie was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec, and Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec. He is also a recipient of the Medal of Honour of the National Assembly of Québec, the Banff Centre’s National Arts Award, the Samuel de Champlain Award, and honorary doctorates from Université Laval (Alma Mater) and the Manhattan School of Music.