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William Christie

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William Lincoln Christie (born December 19, 1944 in Buffalo, New York) is the founder and director of Les Arts Florissants.

Christie studied art history at Harvard University (where he was briefly assistant conductor of the Harvard Glee Club) and music at Yale University. He moved to France in 1971, where he became known for his interpretations of Baroque music, particularly French Baroque music, working with René Jacobs and others.

In 1979 he founded Les Arts Florissants, named after the opera of the same name by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, which was to be its first fully-staged production. Major recognition came in 1987 with the production of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris. Christie has also presented and recorded works by André Campra, François Couperin, and Jean-Philippe Rameau.

He was professor at the Paris Conservatoire from 1982 to 1995, and maintains an active role in pedagogy by participating in masterclasses and academies. In 2002 he founded Le Jardin des Voix, a biennial academy for young singers in Caen. He was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1993, and is an Officer in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Christie has long been resident in France[1], and he was granted French citizenship in 1995.

Christie has expanded beyond his group’s core French repertoire, performing Henry Purcell, George Frideric Handel, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He has been guest conductor at the Glyndebourne Festival, and productions for Zurich Opera and the Opera de Lyon. Since 2002 he has appeared regularly with the Berlin Philharmonic.

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