Conductor and bassoonist, born 4 October 1962 in Paris. Musical director of Sinfonia Varsovia since 2008 and artistic director of he Salzburg Mozartwoche, which he will programme from the 2013 edition onwards and founder of the Ré Majeure festival on the Île de Ré off the Atlantic coast of France.
A conductor and bassoonist, he has been the musical director of Sinfonia Varsovia and the artistic director of the Salzburg Mozartwoche.
Minkowski studied bassoon with André Sennedat, Amaury Wallem and Danny Bond at the Hague Conservatory and conducting with Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux Memorial School in Hancock, Maine, US. In 1984 he won the first prize at the International Early Music Competition in Bruges.
Having played the bassoon with La Chapelle Royale in Paris, Les Arts Florissants in Caen and the Clemencic Consort in Vienna, in 1982 Minkowski set up the ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre to play baroque and classical repertoire on period instruments. In 1993 he became head of the Amsterdam Bach Solisten as well as assuming the position of opera studio director at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. He was artistic director of the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp in 1997-2000.
Minkowski is a recognized interpreter of music by French composers and frequently conducts performances at the Paris Opera. His repertoire mostly features Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marin Marais and Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, along with the operas of Georg Friedrich Haendel (Teseo, Julius Cesar, Semele, Acis and Galatea, Amadigi di Gaulo and Ariodante), Christoph Willibald Gluck (Armide, Alceste, Iphigenia in Tauris), Claudio Monteverdi (The Coronation of Poppea) andWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Idomeneo, Don Giovanni, Il Seraglio, The Marriage of Figaro, Mithridates, King of Pontus, The Magic Flute). He is well-versed in German and French Romanticism, conducting Carl Maria von Weber's Oberon, Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Giacomo Meyerbeer's Robert the Devil, Georges Bizet's Carmen, Jules Massenet's Manon) as well as of works by 20th century composers: Igor Stravinsky, George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, Benjamin Britten and John Adams.
Minkowski has conducted performances in Europe's leading opera houses, including La Fenice in Venice, Flemish Opera in Antwerp, Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, Dresden's Semperoper and the opera houses of Brussels and Madrid. In 2006 he put on a new production of Iphigeneia in Tauris (directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski) in the Paris Opera, and in 2007 produced Haendel's Il trionfo del tempo in the Zurich Opera as well as conducting Debussy's Pelléas and Mélisande with the Orchestra of the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow. He also performed at the Salzburg Festival (with Orchestra Mozarteum) as well as the festivals in Bochum, Madrid, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Geneva and Toronto.
The orchestras which Minkowski has conducted have included the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (with whom he appears as guest conductor), Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre National de France, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de Paris, Staatskapelle Dresden, Wiener Symphoniker, RSO Frankfurt, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. Singers of such renown as Anne Sophie von Otter, Magdalena Kožená, Mireille Delunsch and Cecilia Bartoli have worked with Minkowski, and it was with Bartoli that he recorded an album Opera Proibita in 2005.
Minkowski has been musical director of Sinfonia Varsovia since 2008, and is also a regular guest of the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Berlin Philharmonic, the DSO Berlin, the Bavarian State Orchestra. He also conducts the Wiener Symphoniker, the Mozarteum Orchester in Salzburg, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Orchestra National du Capitole de Toulouse, the BBCSO, the Mariinsky Theater Orchester, the Finnish Radio Orchestra and the recently formed Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. In June 2011 he inaugurated Ré Majeure, the festival he founded on the Île de Ré off the French Atlantic coast.Most recently he was appointed artistic director of the Salzburg Mozartwoche, which he will programme from the 2013 edition onwards.
After their success at the Wiener Konzerthaus in 2009 with a complete cycle of Haydn’s London Symphonies recorded live by Naïve (their exclusive record label since 2007), Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble will play the complete Schubert symphonies there in 2012.
Minkowski also enjoys a strong profile in Poland, where he has appeared in concerts both with Les Musiciens du Louvre as well as with such Polish ensembles as the orchestra of the Grand Theatre - National Opera in Warsaw, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Aukso - Tychy Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
Minkowski's rich discography includes
- Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie (Diapason d'Or, Orphee d'Or and Cannes Classical Award 1995)
- Haendel's Ariodante (Cannes Classical Award, Classic CD Award 1997)
- Rameau's Dardanus (Diapason d'Or 2000)
- Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride (Diapason d'Or, Echo Award 2001)
- Haendel's Herkules (Diapason d'Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique 2002)
- Haendel's Giulio Cesare (Diapason d'Or 2003)
- Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2003)
- French Arias (with Magdalena Kožena - Gramophone Award 2003)
In 2008 Minkowski was named the music director of Sinfonia Varsovia.
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, June 2008