Raphaël Pichon


© Piergab

Raphaël Pichon began his musical training through singing, the violin and the piano at the Parisian conservatories (CNSMDP, CRR). As a young countertenor he sang under the direction of Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman, and Geoffroy Jourdain with whom he performed contemporary works.

In 2006 he founded Pygmalion, a choir and a period-instrument orchestra which quickly distinguished itself by the singularity of its projects. Bach's Missae Breves, the late versions of Rameau's tragédies lyriques, the perspective of Mozart's rarities and the exploration of the Romantic repertoire are all projects that underpin Pygmalion's identity. Through a work centred on the fusion between choir and orchestra, but also through a dramaturgical approach in the performance of the concert, Pygmalion's various achievements are quickly unanimously acclaimed in France and abroad. Alongside his ensemble, Raphaël Pichon has performed at the Philharmonie de Paris, the Château de Versailles, the BBC Proms, the Bozar Bruxelles, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Palau de la Música Catalana of Barcelona, the French May in Hong-Kong and the Beijing Music Festival. On the opera stage, Raphaël Pichon conducts various productions at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, at the Festival lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence, the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Amsterdam Opera and the Opéra national de Bordeaux. He collaborates with directors such as Romeo Castellucci, Katie Mitchell, Simon McBurney, Michel Fau, Pierre Audi, Aurélien Bory and Jetske Mijnssen.

Among the most relevant projects of these last years, we can focus on his debut at the festival d’Aix-en-Provence with Trauernacht a creation based on Bach’s music in a Katie Mitchell’s original staging (2014), the rediscovery of the Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo (Opéra national de Lorraine, Opéra de Versailles, 2016), the ambitious spatialization in the Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Virgine (Holland Festival, BBC Proms, Chapelle Royale de Versailles, Bachfest Leipzig, 2017). After a cycle of cantatas at the Philharmonie de Paris, Raphaël Pichon returns to Bach for the 2018-2019 season with the complete Motets and the Mass in B., a stage version of J. Brahms' German Requiem in the huge Base sous-marine in Bordeaux. Regularly invited to the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in 2018, he conducted The Magic Flute for the first time in 2018, followed by a scenic creation of Mozart's Requiem staged by Romeo Castellucci in 2019 and Idomeneo in 2022.  Since 2018, he has directed at the Opéra-Comique Miranda based on the music of H. Purcell, Orphée by C.W. Gluck, Hippolyte and Aricie by J-P. Rameau, Fidelio by L.V. Beethoven and Lakmé by L. Delibes.

​As guest conductor, he made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2018 with the Mozarteum Orchester, at the Berlin Philharmonic with the Deutsches Symfonie-Orchester, and was invited to conduct the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Scintilla of the Zurich Opera and the Violons du Roy in Québec. In 2021, he made his Boston debut with the Handel & Haydn Society and became one of their recurring guest conductors for the coming seasons.

​During the 2022-2023 season, Raphaël Pichon will conduct Pygmalion in new stage productions: Lakmé by L. Delibes at the Opéra-Comique and Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea at the Opéra National du Rhin; and concerts devoted to Bach in a triptych titled "Routes to Bach", which narrate in music the founding encounter between the Kantor and Buxtehude. He continues his exploration of Romantic music with Mein Traum, a composite programme of lyrical works by Schubert, Weber and Schumann with Stéphane Degout and Mendelssohn's Lobgesang Symphony No. 2 Raphaël Pichon will conduct the Handel & Haydn Society again for the Marriage of Figaro in 2022.

His many recordings now appear exclusively for harmonia mundi. The latest are Stravaganza d'amore (2017), Enfers with the baritone Stéphane Degout (2018), Libertà! around Mozart's little-known masterpieces and, more recently, Bach's Motets (2020) & Matthäus-Passion (2022) as well as a new recording with Sabine Devieilhe in a Bach-Handel diptych for Erato (2021). In October 2022, Mein Traum, a new collaboration with Stéphane Degout, is released. His entire discography has been unanimously acclaimed in France and abroad. Raphaël Pichon received the insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.