Marcel Ponseele

Marcel Ponseele

Oboe • Conductor

• Born 1957


Marcel Ponseele is generally considered one of the foremost Baroque oboists of his time: conductor Philippe Herreweghe has called him the finest Baroque oboist in the world. Ponseele is also a conductor of international renown. In the latter role he has led performances of mostly Baroque works with his own group, Ensemble Il Gardellino, and he has also regularly conducted the L'Harmonie des Champs-Elysses, another Baroque-performing group. Ponseele, like many talented instrumentalists from the latter half of the twentieth century, often conducts while performing as soloist in concert. He has made numerous recordings with Il Gardellino in these dual roles, particularly in the music of J.S. Bach. Ponseele's repertory extends not only to other Baroque icons, like Vivaldi, Handel, and Telemann, but to lesser known figures like Johann Gottlieb Graun, Christoph Schaffrath, Ernst Eichner, and many others. But Ponseele's repertory reaches beyond the Baroque, taking in works by Mozart, Beethoven, Reinecke, Piazzolla, and more. As an oboist Ponseele typically performs on historic instruments, playing eighteenth century models for Baroque works. He also plays Classical and Modern oboes. Ponseele's discography is extensive, both as soloist and conductor, with numerous discs issued on a range of labels, including Erato, BIS, Harmonia Mundi, and Accent.

Marcel Ponseele was born in the Belgian city of Kortrijk in 1957. He studied music at the major music conservatories in Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent. It was following these student years that he turned to the study of Baroque oboe. It paid off: Ponseele was a prizewinner in the 1981 Musica Antiqua Competition held in Bruges.

Ponseele launched his career as an ensemble player in Baroque chamber groups and orchestras, many of them world-renowned like La Petite Bande, Chapelle Royale, and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. He regularly played under the major early music conductors, including Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Sigiswald Kuijken, Marc Minkowski, and John Eliot Gardiner.

In 1988 Ponseele founded Ensemble Il Gardellino, a group named after the popular Vivaldi concerto (R90). Over the years he has become strongly identified with the group. Among its later and more critically acclaimed recordings is the 2005 CD of J.S. Bach oboe concertos, which also includes an intriguing arrangement by Ponseele of Mahler's Ruckert Lieder No. 3. Ponseele has served on the faculty of the National Conservatory of Paris for many years and, with his brother, has built oboes fashioned after eighteenth century models.