Serge Baudo

French conductor (born 1927 in Marseille)

Serge Baudo is a French conductor with a special affinity for French Romantic and contemporary music, and Hector Berlioz in particular.

Serge Baudo, who is the son of the oboe player Etienne Baudo and the nephew of the cellist Paul Tortelier, studied piano, conducting and percussion at the Paris conservatoire. At the age of 22, he joined the Orchestre de d'Opéra de Paris as percussionist and pianist. He became interested in the cinema and composed, adapted and conducted film scores, working with Joseph Kosma, Maurice Jarre and Louis Malle. In 1959, he was appointed to the head of the Orchestre de la Radio de Nice and from then on devoted his time exclusively to conducting. At Herbert von Karajan's invitation, he conducted at La Scala in Milan and in Berlin. From 1962 to 1965, Serve Baudo was principal conductor of the Opéra de Paris. In 1967, he was appointed to the Opéra de Lyon and was a key figure in the city's musical life for 20 years. As musical director of the Orchestre National de Lyon from 1970 to 1988, he raised the orchestra to new artistic heights and helped it achieve worldwide renown, particularly in the field of French music. In 1979, Serge Baudo established the Berlioz Festival in Lyon, thereby helping to familiarise audiences with the composer's complete works.

Serge Baudo has guest conducted top international orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna Opera, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Suisse Romande and the Opéra National de Paris. In recent years, he has forged close artistic ties with a number of orchestras in the Czech Republic, and from 2001 to 2006 was musical director of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

He has often conducted the first performances of works by twentieth and twenty-first century French composers, including Henri Dutilleux, Olivier Messiaen, Henri Tomasi and Darius Milhaud.

Six landmark dates in the life of Serge Baudo:

• 1959: appointed conductor of the Orchestre de la Radio de Nice
• 1962: conducted a programme of Debussy at La Scala in Milan at the invitation of Herbert von Karajan
• 1962: appointed principal conductor of the Opéra de Paris
• 1967: appointed musical director of the Opéra de Lyon
• 1970: appointed musical director of the Orchestre National de Lyon • 1979: established the Berlioz Festival in Lyon

Six key recordings by Serge Baudo:

• Poulenc: Stabat mater - Litanies à la Vierge Noire Michèle Lagrange
Choeurs et Orchestre National de Lyon
Radio France 1989

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
 Claude Dormoy - Michèle Command
 Ensemble Vocal de Bourgogne
 Orchestre de Lyon
 RCA 1996

• Saint-Saëns: Concertos pour piano
 Aldo Ciccolini
 Orchestre de Paris
 EMI CLASSIC 1996

Henri Dutilleux: Symphonie N°1 - Timbres, espace, mouvement
 Orchestre National de Lyon
 Harmonia Mundi 2005

• Joseph Marie Canteloube: Chants d'Auvergne
 Véronique Gens
 Orchestre National de Lille
 Naxos 2007

Hector Berlioz: Nuits d'été  - Frank Martin: Poèmes païens
 José Van Dam
 Orchestra della Svizzera italiana de Lugano
 FORLANE 1997