Lutenist, conductor, guitarist, and theorbist Vincent Dumestre has revived many little-known works of the French Baroque period. He is the founder and artistic director of the ensemble Le Poème Harmonique.
Dumestre was born on May 5, 1968, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the western suburbs of Paris. He divided his university education between guitar studies at the École Normale de Musique de Paris and art history courses at the École du Louvre. After completing these programs, he became committed to early music and undertook courses in lute, theorbo, and Baroque guitar, studying at the Conservatoire de Toulouse with Rolf Lislevand and also working with Eugène Ferré and Hopkinson Smith. In 1998, he founded Le Poème Harmonique, of which he remains leader and artistic director. Often, with Dumestre himself as part of the continuo group, the ensemble mounted productions of such little-known works as Lully's Cadmus et Hermione and Cavalli's L'Egisto. Dumestre's varied talents on stringed instruments have put him in demand among other historically oriented Baroque ensembles, including Le Concert des Nations, the Ricercar Consort, and La Simphonie du Marais.
As leader of Le Poème Harmonique, Dumestre has issued more than 20 albums on the Alpha label, including not only French and Italian Baroque music but also a collaboration with contemporary accordion and bandoneón player Daniel Brel, Quatre chemins de mélancolie. Dumestre has also led performances and several recordings of French Baroque choral music, including a recording of Te Deum settings by Lully and Marc-Antoine Charpentier (2014), the Miserere of Louis-Nicolas Clérambault and Couperin's Leçons des Ténèbres (2015), and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater along with other Marian works from Naples (2015). In 2021, Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique, under the auspices of Versailles castle, issued a recording of Lully's Cadmus et Hermione. His recordings have won major prizes, including the Diapason d'Or and the Choc du Monde de la Musique. Dumestre was named Chevaliers des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France in 2004.