He first came to widespread recognition when he led Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec in a performance of Mozart's Requiem at the funeral of René Levesque in 1987. They began touring in 1988 and have since performed in Belgium, Spain, Germany, France, England, Austria, Denmark, Holland, Morocco, Ecuador, Mexico, the US, and across Canada. Notably, he kept an engagement with Les Violons for concerts in New York City in late September 2001 despite the recent terrorist attacks, giving performances of Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart's Requiem. In 1992, Labadie signed a recording contract for Les Violons with the American label Dorian, which has released 12 albums since their 1993 debut, Simphonies des noëls.
In 1987-8 Labadie was apprentice conductor with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec (OSQ), and he conducted the OSQ chorus 1989-95. He was music director for the Opéra de Québec 1994-2003 where, along with artistic director Grégoire Legendre, he led that company to a renewal.
Labadie increasingly gained a reputation for excellence throughout the 1990s, conducting every major symphony orchestra in Canada as well as winning praise at home for his interpretation of Handel's Messiah with Les Violons, while getting his first international accolades for his Messiah performance with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999. He has maintained a busy schedule as guest conductor, performing with the symphony orchestras of Los Angeles, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, Utah, and Atlanta, as well as the New World Symphony and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed with Chicago Baroque, the Philharmonia Baroque, and the Handel and Haydn Society, as well as the New York City Ballet. Labadie was music director at the Opéra de Montréal 2003-6, conducting Handel's Agrippina and Bizet's Carmen to great acclaim in the 2004-5 season. Public interest was fervent; 30,000 people reportedly saw Carmen.
Simphonies des noels. Les Violons du Roy. 1993. Dorian DOR-90180
Cantates profanes de J.S. Bach, vol. 1. Les Violons du Roy. 1994. Dorian DOR-90199
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater / Vivaldi: Stabat Mater, Motet in furore giustissimae irae. Les Violons du Roy. 1994. Dorian DOR-90196
Cantates profanes de J.S. Bach, vol. 2. Les Violons du Roy. 1995. Dorian DOR-90207
Music of Bach's Sons. Les Violons du Roy. 1996. Dorian DOR-90239
Christmas Gift - A Dorian Holiday Celebration. Les Violons du Roy et al. 1997. Dorian 90008
Encore! Les Violons du Roy. 1998. Dorian DOR-90012
Vivaldi Concerti for Strings. Les Violons du Roy. 1999. Dorian xCD-90255
Handel: Apollo e Dafne. Karina Gauvin soprano, Russell Braun baritone, Les Violons du Roy. 2000. Dorian xCD-90288
Bach: Goldberg Variations. Les Violons du Roy. 2000. Dorian xCD-90281
Visions Of Bach - Transcriptions And Arrangements. Les Violons du Roy et al. 2000. Dorian 90016
J.S. Bach: Art of the Fugue. Les Violons du Roy. 2001. Dorian xCD-90297
Exsultate Jubilate - Mozart, Schubert, Haydn/Gauvin. CBC Radio Orchestra, et al. 2001. CBC 5211
Commuter Classics - Drive Time A.M. Les Violons du Roy et al. 2001. Dorian 90018
Commuter Classics - Drive Time P.M. Les Violons du Roy et al. 2001. Dorian 90020
Requiem de Mozart. Les Violons du Roy. 2002. Dorian DOR-90310
Mozart Edition Vol 1 - Violin Concertos, Concertos For Winds. 2003. Brilliant Classics 99713
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, Flute & Harp Concerto. Les Violons du Roy et al. 2003. Classic Collection 99823
Psaume 51 et Cantate 82 de J.S. Bach. Les Violons du Roy. 2004. ATMA ACD2 2343
Celebration. Les Violons du Roy. 2004. Dorian DOR-90024
Essential Mozart/Davis, Ter Linden, Freeman. Les Violons du Roy et al. 2005. Brilliant Classics 92702
Mozart: Violin Concertos, Wind Concertos. Les Violons du Roy et al. 2005. Brilliant Classics 92265
Author Evan Ware
Bordeleau, France. "Bernard Labadie: de 'l'entrepreneurship' en musique," Aria, winter 1987
Chan, Wah Keung. "Bernard Labadie: Fresh air at L'Opera de Montréal," La Scena Musicale, Oct 2003
Kaptainis, Arthur. "Quiet revolution," Opera Canada, Fall 2003
Links to Other Sites
Les Violons du Roy
The website for the renowned chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy. Features musiciansï¿½ biographies, performance schedule, discography, and more. Peruse the discography to find online audio clips from their recordings.
Interview with Bernard Labadie
This 2003 interview with Bernard Labadie focuses on his life-long passion for music and his role in the development of the acclaimed chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy. From the “G.F. Handel” website.
Quebec conductor Bernard Labadie wins National Arts Award
A CBC article about acclaimed conductor Bernard Labadie.
Arts and Culture Awards
The Arts and Culture Awards honour professional artists whose works have exceptionally contributed to the cultural development of the Quebec District. Click on the links on the left side of the page to access brief profiles of individual award winners. From the Conseil de la culture des régions de Québec et de Chaudière-Appalaches.
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