New York, NY, May 3, 2017 – Orchestra of St. Luke’s today announced the appointment of renowned French Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie as its next Principal Conductor, beginning a four-year term in the 2018-19 season. Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading conductors of Baroque, Classical, and Early-Romantic repertoire, Labadie will make his debut with the Orchestra at Caramoor on July 2, 2017 and then appear with the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on December 7, 2017. As Principal Conductor, Labadie will lead Orchestra of St. Luke’s in its annual subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall, and at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. He succeeds Pablo Heras-Casado, who takes the role of Conductor Laureate starting in the 2017-18 season, a new position St. Luke’s created for him.
Orchestra of St. Luke’s President and Executive Director James Roe stated, “I am thrilled to welcome Bernard Labadie, a galvanizing artist of international stature, as Orchestra of St. Luke’s fifth Principal Conductor. Already well-known to New York audiences, he is ideally suited to serve as both artistic partner and visionary leader of our dynamic organization. On behalf of the musicians, board, and staff at St. Luke’s, we look forward to working with Bernard at this important moment for the Orchestra, as we continue to fulfill our mission through performance, education, and at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music.”
Norman Benzaquen, Chairman of Orchestra of St. Luke’s Board of Directors added, “St. Luke’s continually strives to achieve new artistic heights. Bernard’s impeccable artistry and history of building organizations make him the perfect fit for our next chapter.”
Bernard Labadie said, “I have always admired Orchestra of St. Luke’s because this celebrated ensemble was founded by musicians who remain at the heart of the organization’s culture to this day. With an orchestra of this caliber and its history of great conductors, my vision for St. Luke’s is to deepen the Orchestra’s existing affinity with the musical language of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, and further develop a sound unique to the Ensemble that the audiences will recognize immediately. I am eager to embark on this musical journey with an orchestra so integral to the musical life of New York City.”
Labadie founded the celebrated chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy in 1984 and built it to international renown. He stepped down in 2014 from his 30-year tenure as Music Director to pursue wider interests. He now joins Orchestra of St. Luke’s in its fifth decade, continuing the Orchestra’s lineage of principal conductors with strong associations to the world of historically informed performance. Labadie plans to regularly incorporate his chamber choir, La Chapelle de Québec, into his annual work with St. Luke’s, bringing together these two celebrated ensembles.
“The Orchestra of St. Luke’s appointment of Bernard Labadie is great for the Orchestra, for Carnegie Hall, and for music in New York City,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “Over the years, Bernard has become a wonderful musical friend to the team at Carnegie Hall, and his great artistry is much admired by our audiences. With his special expertise in the Baroque and Classical repertoire, he is sure to build on St. Luke’s strengths, exploring this music in even greater depth and developing a distinct artistic profile for the Orchestra’s programs at Carnegie Hall. It will be exciting to welcome him in this new role.”
Bernard Labadie is a regular guest conductor with all the major North American orchestras, and has appeared locally with the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and Les Violons du Roy presented by Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. His notable European engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Hanover.