The Gazette, Montreal
“I always leave Les Violons concerts utterly, happily, exhausted.”
“The effect it literally shattering…I give great credit to this little group which plays with great conviction, virtuosity and sounds like a much bigger orchestra…this CD should not take back seat to any other recording of these pieces.”
“Scintillating, sexy, electric, elegant, sensuous, risky, robust, and just plain exciting and entertaining…Highly recommended!”
Los Angeles Times
“…brisk, rhythmically bracing, at times exultant performances, with the superb Quebec chorus.”
Santa Barbara Independent
“Avital was brilliant, delivering not only his customary sinuous performances of Bach and Vivaldi but also leading Les Violons du Roy on an unexpected and rousing romp through one of his jazz compositions as an encore. However, what gave this concert something extra was the jewel-like performance of Les Violons du Roy and the presence of Julian Wachner as a harpsichordist, conductor, and musical raconteur.”
Les Violons du Roy takes its name from the celebrated court orchestra of the French kings. It was founded in 1984 by Bernard Labadie, now styled founding conductor, and continues under music director Jonathan Cohen to explore the nearly boundless repertoire of music for chamber orchestra in performances matched as closely as possible to the period of each work’s composition. Its minimum fifteen-member complement plays modern instruments, albeit with period bows for Baroque and Classical music, and its interpretations are deeply informed by the latest research on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century performance practice. The repertoire of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries receives similar attention and figures regularly on the orchestra’s programs.
Les Violons du Roy has been a focal point of Québec City’s musical life since it was founded in 1984, and in 1997 it reached out to enrich the cultural landscape of Montréal as well. In 2007, the orchestra moved into its permanent home base in Québec City’s Palais Montcalm while continuing to build on the worldwide reputation it has acquired in countless concerts and recordings carried by medici.tv, Radio-Canada, CBC, and NPR along with regular appearances on the festival circuit. Les Violons du Roy has performed dozens of times throughout Canada as well as in Germany, the U.K., Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, South Korea, Spain, the United States, France, Israel, Morocco, Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Switzerland, in collaboration with such world-renowned soloists as Magdalena Kožená, David Daniels, Vivica Genaux, Alexandre Tharaud, Ian Bostridge, Emmanuel Pahud, Stephanie Blythe, Marc-André Hamelin, Philippe Jaroussky, Anthony Marwood, Isabelle Faust, Julia Lezhneva and Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Avi Avital. The orchestra has performed at the Berlin Philharmonie and iconic venues in London, Paris, and Brussels, with two performances on invitation at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Since Les Violons du Roy’s first trip to Washington, D.C., in 1995, its U.S. travels have been enriched with numerous and regular stops in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Its ten appearances at Carnegie Hall include five with La Chapelle de Québec featuring the Messiah, the Christmas Oratorio, and the St. John Passion under Bernard Labadie, founder and music director of the choir, and another featuring Dido and Aeneas under Richard Egarr. Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles has hosted the orchestra three times, once with La Chapelle de Québec in the Messiah, again under Bernard Labadie. Les Violons du Roy is represented by Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt.
The thirty-six recordings released thus far by Les Violons du Roy have been met with widespread critical acclaim. The twelve released on the Dorian label include Mozart’s Requiem with La Chapelle de Québec (Juno Award 2002) and of Handel’s Apollo e Dafne with soprano Karina Gauvin (Juno Award 2000). Since 2004, a dozen more have appeared through a partnership between Les Violons du Roy and Quebec’s ATMA label, including Water Music (Félix Award 2008), and Piazzolla (Juno Award 2006). Further recordings on Erato, Naïve, Hyperion, Analekta, and Decca Gold include Vivica Genaux, Truls Mørk, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Alexandre Tharaud, Marc-André Hamelin, Valérie Milot, Anthony Roth Costanzo (Grammy Award 2019 nomination) and Charles Richard-Hamelin (Juno Award 2020 nomination).