Born in Buffalo, New York and having studied at the universities of Harvard and Yale, William Christie has lived in France since 1971 and is a French citizen. The harpsichordist, conductor and musicologist is regarded as one of the pioneers of the early music movement and, over the past forty years, has introduced numerous seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works, with a special fondness for the French repertoire, to a wide audience.
In 1979, William Christie founded the vocal and instrumental ensemble Les Arts Florissants, with which he quickly impressed on the operatic stage, in the concert hall and with a rich discography. One particular high point was the 1987 production of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris, followed by a very successful international tour.
The Baroque specialist is in high demand as a guest conductor at such opera festivals as Glyndebourne, and at opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Zurich Opera and the Opéra de Lyon. He regularly led the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra between 2002 and 2007.
In addition to his career as a performing musician, Christie is a devoted teacher, having taught at the Paris conservatory from 1982 to 1995. In 2002, he launched Le Jardin des Voix, the two-year academy of Les Arts Florissants. He has served as artist in residence at the Juilliard School in New York since 2007. He also gives regular masterclasses.
Christie will be making his first guest appearance with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the 2018–19 season.