• Born 1962
Often appears with
Conductor Marc Minkowski is best known as the founder and longtime director of Les Musiciens du Louvre, a pioneering French Baroque ensemble that has also proven one of the field's most durable. He has also conducted music of the Classical and Romantic periods, often unearthing and shaping performances of forgotten works.
Minkowski was born in Paris on October 4, 1962. His father was a pediatrics professor and a founder of the field of neonatology; his mother came from the U.S. Minkowski began his career as a bassoonist and soon became interested in the growing field of historical performance, performing with such leading groups of the day as Les Arts Florissants, the Ricercar Consort, and the Clemencic Consort. He studied conducting with Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine, and returned to Europe determined to apply what he had learned to early music. In 1982, he founded Les Musiciens du Louvre, one of the first instrumental groups to specialize in the French Baroque, and he got a boost when he won the first International Early Music Competition in Bruges, Belgium, two years later. Under Minkowski, the orchestra has premiered unusual works in both the operatic and instrumental fields, such as Marin Marais' Alcyone, Jean-Joseph Mouret's Les amours de Ragonde, and Jean-Baptiste Lully's Phaëton. He has also been associated with the revival of several neglected operas of Handel. Les Musiciens du Louvre moved to the city of Grenoble in 1996 and became associates of the Maison de la Culture de Grenoble. Minkowski remains the ensemble's conductor, but in the second part of his career, his interests have grown to include music of the Classical and Romantic eras. He was ahead of most other historically inclined conductors who have taken this career turn. Minkowski has unearthed little-known works such as Grétry's La Caravane du Caire, and in 2013, he conducted a recording of Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer, paired with a little-known setting of a condensed version of the Wagner libretto by Pierre-Louis-Philippe Dietsch. He has a distinguished record as a guest conductor with top-flight orchestras, including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Staatskapelle Dresden, among others.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Minkowski began recording with Les Musiciens du Louvre, recording for many years for the Erato label and later for Archiv Produktion. His repertory focused on little-known Baroque works, but he also recorded perennial favorites such as Handel's Water Music, in 1998. Later, he moved to Naïve and began to record 19th century music, including a cycle of Schubert's symphonies in 2012, and several of the operas of Jacques Offenbach. In 2020, Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre released a recording of Mozart's Mass in C minor, K. 427, on the PentaTone label. His catalog of recordings comprises more than 65 items.