Born in 1984, Raphaël Pichon started his musical life in the children’s choir of the Petits Chanteurs of Versailles, before studying singing, violin and piano at the Conservatoire de Rayonnement Régional and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. Starting out as a young countertenor, his career led him to sing under the direction of Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt and Ton Koopman, but also Geoffroy Jourdain with whom he initiated work on contemporary creation.
In 2006, he founded and took the helm of the Ensemble Pygmalion, a choir and orchestra devoted to a repertoire using authentic instruments. Their repertoire is set to reflect the heritage extending from Bach to Mendelssohn, fromSchütz to Brahms, or from Rameau to Berlioz. With this ensemble, which is now associated with the Opera of Bordeaux, he has been invited to the festivals of Chaise-Dieu, Beaune, Saint-Denis, Radio-France Montpellier, Ambronay or Saintes, and has had considerable success with his interpretation of the repertoire of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred choral music, as well as the cycle of tragedies Dardanus, Hippolyte et Aricie and Castor et Pollux (Jean-Philippe Rameau). The ensemble is a regular guest of the Opéra de Bordeaux, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Opéra Comique, the Bozar of Brussels, the Versailles and Rouen Operas, the Fondation Royaumont, the Grands Interprètes of Toulouse, but also the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, as well as the Musikfest in Bremen and the Philharmoniker of Hamburg.
Raphaël Pichon’s initiation into the operatic repertoire was marked in 2010 by Opera Seria (Florian Leopold Gassmann) in Nantes, then by a stage production of the St John Passion (Bach) with the Holland Baroque Society in Amsterdam. Since 2012, he can be found at the Stavanger Symfonikorkester, the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique of Nancy, the Violons du Roy in Québec or else the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne. He has thus developed his repertoire by taking onLes Noces (Stravinsky), the Great Mass in C minor (Mozart), a German Requiem (Brahms) or else Elias (Mendelssohn). In 2014, he premiered at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence with Trauernacht, directed by Katie Mitchell.
His recordings with Alpha include the four Missae Breves and the Mass in B minor (Bach) as well as Dardanus (Rameau), which received a Diapason d'Or, a Diapason Découverte, a ffff from Télérama, was named the “Cd des Monat” by Opern Welt as well as being the Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. In 2014, he joined Harmonia Mundi, who in autumn 2014 released the Köthener Trauermusik (Bach), which won the prize for the recording of the year at the Victoires de la Musique in 2015, as well as a Choc from Classica and 4FFFF from Télérama. Castor & Pollux will be released in 2015, and also his first recordings of Mozart alongside the soprano Sabine Devieilhe (Erato).
2015 was marked by first performances at the Philharmonie of Paris, the Grand-Théâtre de Provence, in Amsterdam (DNO and Muziekgebouw), Lisbon (Gulbenkian Foundation), Metz (Arsenal), Caen (Théâtre), Essen (Philharmonie), Rio and Sao Paulo, as well as a first operatic production at the Bordeaux and Versailles Operas (Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Dardanus, directed by Michel Fau).
Images: © Jean-Baptiste Millot 2014 for harmonia mundi