Violons du Roy, Les
Les Violons du Roy was formed in 1984 under the instigation of its artistic director, Bernard Labadie. This chamber orchestra, composed of 15 musicians, is dedicated to the vast chamber orchestra repertoire, and favours the most accurate possible approach to musical stylistics. Although many members of Les Violons du Roy play on modern instruments, their familiarity with the baroque and classical repertoire is strongly influenced by the contemporary revival in 17th- and 18th-century performance practice, with musicians using Baroque bows. The name Les Violons du Roy was inspired by celebrated string orchestras from the French courts.
At the heart of Québec's musical activity, and well known elsewhere in Canada through their numerous concerts and recordings broadcast on Société Radio-Canada and the CBC, Les Violons du Roy have, since 1988, given close to one hundred concerts in France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Morocco, Canada and the United States. Their Handel's Messiah, presented in Toronto and Montréal in December 1997, 1998 and 1999, proved a sensation with audiences and critics. In April 2000, they also performed the Saint Matthew Passion in these two cities.
Since December 1992, Les Violons du Roy have been associated with Dorian, for whom they have already recorded nine compact discs. Four of these (Symphonies des noëls, Stabat Mater, Music of Bach's Sons, and Vivaldi Concerti for Strings) were nominated for a JUNO, and the Stabat Mater was also nominated for a classical prize at MIDEM, Cannes, in January 1995. Two new recordings came out in 2000: J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (arranged for strings and basso continuo by Bernard Labadie) and Handel's Apollo e Dafne.