William Christie

American-born French harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist and teacher (born in 1944 in Buffalo, USA)

After training at Harvard and Yale (with Ralph Kirkpatrick and Kenneth Gilbert), William Christie settled in France in 1971. He pioneered the rediscovery of a very broad repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries in France. In 1979, he formed the instrumental and vocal ensemble known as Les Arts Florisssants, which today is one of the finest performers of the music of this period in the world. With Les Arts Florissants, William Christie revives the splendour of the French grand siècle (Charpentier, Rameau, Couperin, Mondonville, Campra and Montéclair), without, however, neglecting other repertoires and other periods of European music. The operas staged by Les Arts Florissants in collaboration with the leading directors of our times have marked the history of performance (Atys, 1987, directed by Jean-Marie Villégier).

A former teacher at the Paris conservatoire, where he was head of early music studies from 1982 to 1995, William Christie is particularly keen to ensure that knowledge and skills are passed on. He founded an international academy for young singers, Le Jardin des Voix, which has already discovered and launched a number of the most prominent performers of Baroque music. He regularly conducts masterclasses (at Aix-en-Provence and Ambronay) and in 2007 was appointed artist-in-residence (with his ensemble Les Arts Florissants) at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.

Alongside his work as a researcher and performer, William Christie is often engaged as guest conductor by leading international opera companies and festivals. He was the first conductor invited by Sir Simon Rattle to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002.

William Christie has won awards and distinctions around the world for his achievement (the Harvard Arts Medal in 2002, Doctor Honoris Causa of the State University of New York in Buffalo). He is a Member of the Royal Academy of Music, an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and a Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Six landmark dates in the life of William Christie:

1971: refused to be involved in the Vietnam War, settled in France

1979: founded Les Arts Florissants

1987: staged Atys by Lully, one of the pillars of the Baroque revival in France

2002: invited by Sir Simon Rattle to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

2002: founded Le Jardin des Voix academy for young singers

2008: Member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts

Six key recordings by William Christie (with Harmonia Mundi):

Music for a while and other Songs

Alfred Deller
 Wieland Kuijken
 William Christie

Carlo Gesualdo: Madrigals in 5 parts 

Les Arts Florissants
 William Christie, Conductor

Jean-Baptiste Lully: Atys, the 30th Anniversary Edition (2009)

Les Arts Florissants
 William Christie, Conductor
 Guy de Mey
 Guillemette Laurens
 Agnès Mellon
 Jean-François Gardeil
 John Holloway

Jean-Philippe Rameau : Les Indes galantes,  Opéra-ballet en un prologue et cinq entrées  

Boxed set of 3 CDs with libretto
 Les Arts Florissants
 William Christie, Conductor

Marc-Antoine Charpentier : Te Deum. Missa Assumpta est Maria 

Les Arts Florissants
 William Christie, Conductor

Claudio Monteverdi : Il combattimento di Tancredi & Clorinda Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi, Madrigaux des Livres VI, VII & VIII 

Les Arts Florissants
 William Christie, Conductor