Christophe Rousset

Christophe Rousset (French: [ʁusɛ]; born 12 April 1961) is an internationally renowned French harpsichordist and conductor, specializing in the performance of Baroque music on period instruments.[1] He is also a musicologist, with a passion for opera and European music of the 17th and 18th centuries, and is the founder of the French music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques.


Rousset studied harpsichord at La Schola Cantorum de Paris with Huguette Dreyfus, and subsequently at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Bob van Asperen winning the prestigious First Prize in the 7th Bruges Harpsichord Competition at the age of 22. This was followed by the creation of his own ensemble, Les Talens Lyriques, in 1991. At the heart of the ensemble is Rousset's research and expertise across the music of the Baroque, Classical and early Romantic periods.

Having initially attracted the notice of the international press and record companies with his extraordinary talent as a harpsichordist, he soon went on to make his mark as a young and gifted conductor, earning invitations to perform with his ensemble at venues throughout the world, including among them Paris Opera, De Nederlandse Opera, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salle Pleyel, Opéra de Lausanne, Teatro Real, Theater an der Wien, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Aix-en-Provence and Beaune festivals.

Alongside this, he has continued to pursue an active career as harpsichordist and chamber musician, performing and recording on the most beautiful period instruments. His complete performances of the works for harpsichord by François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, d’Anglebert and Forqueray and various recordings of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach (Partitas, Goldberg Variations, Concertos for harpsichord, English Suites, French Suites and the Klavierbüchlein), are considered to be landmark references. His most recent album, devoted to a musical monument by the German Cantor, Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier (on Aparté)—recorded at the Château of Versailles on a harpsichord by Joannes Ruckers (1628)—has won numerous awards, including a "Choc" from Classica magazine and "CD of the Week" from BBC Radio 3. In addition, instruments from the collection of the Museum of Music in Paris, have been entrusted to him for the recording of three records devoted to Royer, Rameau and Froberger.

Teaching is also of major importance for Christophe Rousset, who conducts and organises master classes and academies for young people (Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, CNSMD Paris, Académie d’Ambronay, Orchestre Français des Jeunes Baroques, Jeune Orchestre Atlantique, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Britten-Pears Orchestra) and he devotes himself with great energy, alongside the musicians of Les Talens Lyriques, to introducing young secondary school pupils in Paris to music.

Rousset also has enjoyed a career as guest conductor with Liceu Barcelona, Teatro San Carlo Naples, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera of Wallonia, Orquesta Nacional de España, London’s Royal Opera House, Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment among other orchestras, and has actively pursued musical research, producing critical editions and the publication in 2007, by Actes Sud, of a study on Rameau.

Christophe Rousset has been awarded the French honours of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite.


As a harpsichordist

As a conductor




Merits and awards

  • 1983—Was awarded first prize at the 7th International Harpsichord Competition at Bruges
  • 1993—Was awarded the "Diapason d’Or" for his interpretation of Royer's Pièces de Clavecin.
  • 1995—Received the "Award for 17th and 18th Century Chamber/Solo Instrumental Music" at the Cannes Classical Awards for his recording of the Bach Partitas.
  • 2004—Received the "médaille de Chevalier dans l'Ordre national du Mérite" from the France's Minister of Culture, Donnedieu de Vabres.
  • 2013—Received the Traetta Prize from the Traetta Society for his work in the rediscovery of the roots of European music.


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