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William Christie (Conductor)

A harpsichordist, conductor and musicologist, worldwide famous, he was born in Buffalo (New York state, USA) and studied at Harvard and Yale before moving to France in 1971. William Christie acquired the French Nationality in 1995. His pioneering work has led to a renewed appreciation of Baroque music, notably of 17th- and 18th-century French repertoire, which he has introduced to a very wide audience.

He leads his instrumental and vocal ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, which he created in 1979, all over the world, when not invited as guest conductor by the most famous opera houses or international festivals.

Former professor at the Paris Conservatoire, William Christie's main goal is to form young artists and he has founded Le Jardin des Voix, an academy for young singers in Caen whose three first sessions generated a huge amount of interest all over Europe as well as in the United States. He also regularly gives masterclasses (Aix-en-Provence, Ambronay) and is, since 2007, Artist in Residency, with les Arts Florissants, at the Juilliard School, New York.

Many awards have celebrated the whole of his career. Among others: Prix Grand Siècle Laurent Perrier in 1997, the Harvard University Arts medal in 2002, the Royal Philarmonique Award in 2003, Prix de Chant Choral Liliane Bettencourt awarded by the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2004, the Prix Georges Pompidou in 2005, the BBC Music Magazine Award for the DVD of "Fairy Queen in Glyndebourne" in 2011. He also is Doctor Honoris Causa of the State University of New York in Buffalo and is a Member of The Royal Academy of Music (London).

William Christie, who is an Officier in l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, has been elected Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, in the seat previously occupied by Marcel Marceau, in November 2008. He was officially received "sous la Coupole" on 27th January 2010 and was given his Academic sword the evening of the same day, during the Great Performance celebrating the Arts Florissants' 30 years of existence at the Opéra Comique in Paris.

He has been elevated at the rank of Commandeur dans l'Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur in April 2010 and received his decoration from Mr François Fillon, the French Prime Minister, during a solemn but hearty ceremony at the Hôtel Matignon in Paris on 16th Febr. 2011

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