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Jean-Claude Casadesus (Conductor)

Jean-Claude CASADESUS, conductor (France)

Jean-Claude Casadesus was born into a family of musicians and actors.

He studied percussion and conducting at the Paris Conservatory and began his musical career as a percussionist. He continued to conduct, studying with Pierre Dervaux in Paris and Pierre Boulez in Basel, and in 1968 was appointed resident conductor at the Opera de Paris and the Opera Comique. In 1971, he helped Pierre Dervaux set up the Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays de la Loire, where he was to remain Assistant Director until 1976.

That same year, Casadesus founded the National Orchestra of Lille and was appointed its Music Director; he has since devoted most of his talent, time and energy to this orchestra. Under his leadership, the orchestra has built a strong reputation as a dynamic group with a wide-ranging repertory, and is recognized as one of the leading orchestras in France. Casadesus inaugurated one of the most important series of subscription concerts in France and conducts over seventy concerts each year throughout the Nord/Pas-de-Calais Region as well as foreign tours which have lead them to 27 countries around the world (Europe, the United States, Canada, South America and Japan). In addition, there are regular appearances in Vienna, Salzburg, New York, Amsterdam-Concertgebouw, London-Barbican, Berlin-Schauspielhaus, Buenos Aires-Teatro Colon. When Lille was European Capital of Culture in 2004 the Orchestra played a leading role in the celebrations which included a major piano festival and a Beethoven Symphony cycle.

The repertory that Jean-Claude Casadesus and the Lille National Orchestra have explored together stretches from Mozart to the music of our time and includes such important works as: Berlioz (Te Deum, Requiem, Damnation of Faust, Symphonie Fantastique), Beethoven (the body of symphonies and concertos), Stravinsky (Rite of Spring, Firebird, Petrouchka), Poulenc (Gloria, Stabat Mater, Organ Concerto), Dutilleux (Metaboles, Symphonies 1 and 2), Messiaen (L’Ascension, Offrande Oubliees, Turangalia Symphony, Et Expecto Ressurrectionem Mortuorum), Verdi’s Requiem, all of the Mahler Symphonies and the complete works of Ravel and Debussy.

Jean-Claude Casadesus guest conducts orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Prague Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, MDR Leipzig, Madrid RTVE, Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra in Lisbon, Mozarteum Salzburg, Hungarian National Philharmonic, KBS Symphony in Seoul, Yomiuri National Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic. In North America he has worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Casadesus is passionately committed to music education and work with young people; he works regularly at the Manhattan School of Music and he has been recently been appointed Music Director of the Orchestre Francais des Jeunes and has conducted them on tour in August 2005.

Highlights of the current season include performances with the St. Petersburgh Philharmonic and the Konzerthausorchester, Berlin.

Jean-Claude Casadesus is also an active operatic conductor, from Lille, Paris, Brussels, Geneva, Barcelona and Antwerp through the major festivals, including Aix-en-Provence and Orange. Werther, Carmen, Tales of Hoffman, le Bal Masque, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Dido and Aeneas, Pelleas and Melisande are the operas he has most frequently conducted, in addition to lesser known works such as Dargomyjski‘s Le Convive de Pierre. Maestro Casadesus conducted Offenbach’s Les Contes d‘Hoffmann at the Flanders Opera and Massenet’s Werther at the Geneva Opera, both of which he recorded for Naxos. His most recent productions include La Traviata at Lille Opera, Les Contes d’Hoffmann with the Orchestre de Paris and last season he conducted Faust for Lille Opera, Trieste Opera and Monte Carlo Opera.

Jean-Claude Casadesus has made numerous recordings with the Lille National Orchestra for Harmonia Mundi, Forlane, Erato and EMI. Mahler symphonies 1, 2, 4 and 5, Bizet‘s Clovis et Clotilde with Montserrat Caballe and two Mahler / Wagner albums with Jose van Dam are just a few of their recordings which have won recognition and awards from the Academie du Disque Francais, the SACEM and the Nouvelle Academie du Disque. He now records for the NAXOS label which has released his recording of Massenet Werther, Debussy Pelleas et Melisande, St Saens Symphony n°3, Poulenc Organ Concerto and Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ, Berlioz Cantatas and most recently Canteloube Chants D’Auvergne, all of which have received outstanding praise from both the public and the press.

Jean-Claude’s autobiography Le plus court chemin d’un cur a un autre is published by Editions Stock. He holds the titles Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Merite, Commandeur des Arts et Lettres and in 2003 Jean-Claude was awarded the title Commandeur de la Legion d‘Honneur.



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