Christophe Rousset is one of the brightest young stars in Baroque music today. In 1983 he won first prize at the Bruges Harpsichord Competition, a distinction which had hitherto only been awarded once — to Scott Ross in 1971. Since then he has been in great demand at all the major festivals and with the most distinguished ensembles. His work as a harpsichordist and his interest in vocal music and in the stage led him to take up conducting and to found Les Talens Lyriques in 1991. His recordings of the complete harpsichord works of Rameau and of Couperin have won him international recognition. With Les Talens Lyriques he has given a number of performances at the Amsterdam Opera. He also recorded the music for the film Farinelli.
The outstanding reviews and many awards, which Christophe Rousset has received for his concerts and recordings, is a clear indication of his exceptional talent; he records for Decca, both as a harpsichordist and as conductor of Les Talens Lyriques.
In 1989 Christophe Rousset made his first recording for Decca’s L’Oiseau Lyre label - Rameau Pièces de clavecin, which later received Belgium’s Prix Caecilia and won the UK’s Gramophone Award. Reviewing, Gramophone said; "Rousset commands a huge talent...This ideally recorded recital goes straight to the top of the ladder." Royer Pièces de clavecin was awarded the Diapason d’or in 1993 and in 1995 his recording of Bach Partitas won the Award for 17th and 18th Century Chamber/Solo Instrumental Music at the first Cannes Classical Music Awards at MIDEM. That same year Rousset made his debut appearance at the Wigmore Hall and in 1996 Decca released Rousset’s World Première recording of Handel’s Riccardo Primo made with Les Talens Lyriques. His recording of harpsichord music by Gaspard le Roux won the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. Rousset’s disc of Rameau Ouvertures won Gramophone’s 1998 Award for best Baroque Non-Vocal recording. The Sunday Times said of the Ouvertures; "This is astounding music, brilliantly played by Les Talens Lyriques and stylishly conducted by Rousset. Highly recommended."
During 1998 Decca/L’Oiseau Lyre released Amadeus and Vienna, a disc of arias by Mozart and his contemporaries for which Italian baritone Roberto Scaltriti joined Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques. Also released were Bach’s Complete Harpsichord Concertos (with the Academy of Ancient Music and Christopher Hogwood), chamber works by Marin Marais with Christophe Coin (bass viol) and a disc of Scarlatti Sonatas. "Christophe Rousset brings a lovely sense of Gallic refinement." BBC Music Magazine on Rousset’s Scarlatti disc.
Then in May that year, Rousset conducted Mozart’s brilliant teenage work, and first opera seria, Mitridate. After acclaimed concert performances in Lyon, with Cecilia Bartoli, Nathalie Dessay, Sandrine Piau, Giuseppe Sabatini and Brian Asawa, Decca recorded the complete cast in the opera, which was released in Spring 1999. Amongst international critical acclaim, Le Monde de la Musique commented that Mitridate "needs a conductor possessed with sacred fire...Here Christophe Rousset surpasses himself. He knows how to be brisk without being dry, and he is brilliant without falling into the trap of superficiality." Other highlights have included performances of Handel’s Giulio Cesare in France and Admeto in Germany as well as a tour of South America. These were followed by performances of Soler’s Ifigenia in Barcelona and at the Beaune Festival as well as appearances with Les Talens Lyriques at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival.
Christophe Rousset’s recent Decca releases have been outstanding. They have included Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, recorded in Paris with Les Talens Lyriques and soloists Barbara Bonney and Andreas Scholl; D’Anglebert’s Pièces de clavecin, and Couperin’s Trois Leçons de Ténèbres. Released in March 2001, the world premier recording of Traetta's Antigona (1727-1779) with soloist Maria Bayo as the lead, celebrates the tenth anniversary of Les Talens Lyriques. A highly dramatic work, this recording marks a culmination of eighteenth-century Italian opera, with wonderful arias, striking choruses and great psychological insight. "A single listen is enough to assess its exceptional magnetic power" Christophe Rousset.
Christophe Rousset, whose musical approach was once encapsulated as "virtuosity with heart" (Gramophone) makes sure that he keeps both strands of his career to the fore; during the season he will also perform harpsichord recitals in France and Portugal.