Hervé Niquet is a rare musician: while some composer/performers are also conductors, few have also managed a successful career as a singer, as has Niquet. Moreover, he has not only conducted instrumental ensembles but choral groups as well. As a composer he has received prestigious commissions, including one from Princess Caroline of Monaco. Niquet the conductor is generally associated with French Baroque music -- the works of Boismortier, Charpentier, Clérambault, Lully, Marais, and Rameau. But it would be unfair to typecast him as a specialist in that vein: he has not only performed and recorded much Handel and Purcell, but has developed a repertory reaching into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, taking in works by Chabrier, Gounod, Rossini, Ravel, Poulenc, and many others. In concert and on recordings Niquet often performs both as conductor and harpsichordist or organist. In the mid-'80s he sang as a tenor with the famed Baroque group Les Arts Florissant. He has appeared on countless recordings in various roles and has served as the headlining performer on more than 50 CDs and DVDs since the 1980s. His recordings are available on a variety of labels, including EMI, Virgin Classics, Naxos, EuroArts, Naïve, Accord, and Atma Classique.
Hervé Niquet was born in France in 1957. Following extensive studies of harpsichord, organ, composition, conducting, and singing, Niquet was appointed choir master of the Paris Opéra (1980). 1985 was a pivotal year for the young musician: he received a commission from Princess Caroline to write a ballet (24 Hours in the Life of a Woman), and he joined Les Arts Florissant as a tenor. Meanwhile, he continued branching out as a conductor, leading major ensembles across Europe in mostly Baroque fare.
In 1987 Niquet founded the orchestra he has been most closely associated with, Le Concert Spirituel. He derived the name from the ensemble of the same name founded in Paris in 1725 that disbanded in 1790. Consisting of about 50 players, the group has come to be regarded as one of the foremost Baroque orchestras in Europe.
Niquet became identified with the ensemble for the next couple of decades, making many recordings with them from the 1990s onward, more than 20 for the Naxos label alone. Niquet founded another ensemble in 2002, the Montreal-based La Nouvele Sinfonie. This orchestra is made up of about 40 musicians and, like Le Concert Spirituel, mainly focuses on French Baroque repertory.