Raphaël Pichon, born in 1984, began his musical training by singing, playing the violin and the piano at the Parisian conservatories (CNSMDP, CRR). As a young countertenor he sang under the direction of Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman, and Geoffroy Jourdain with whom he performed contemporary works.
In 2006 he founded Pygmalion, a choir and a period-instrument orchestra which quickly distinguished itself by the singularity of its projects. Bach’s Missae Breves, the late versions of Rameau’s tragédies lyriques, the perspective of Mozart’s rarities are all projects that underpin Pygmalion’s identity. Through a work centred on the fusion between choir and orchestra, but also through a dramaturgical approach in the performance of the concert, Pygmalion’s various achievements are quickly unanimously acclaimed in France and abroad. Alongside his ensemble, Raphaël Pichon has performed at the Philharmonie de Paris, the Château de Versailles, the BBC Proms, the Bozar Bruxelles, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Palau de la Musica Catalana of Barcelona, the French May in Hong-Kong and the Beijing Music Festival. On the opera stage, Raphaël Pichon conducts various productions at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, at the Festival lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Amsterdam Opera and the Opéra national de Bordeaux. He collaborates with directors such as Romeo Castellucci, Katie Mitchell, Simon McBurney, Michel Fau, Pierre Audi, Aurélien Bory and Jetske Mijnssen.
In 2020, Raphaël Pichon created the festival Pulsations in Bordeaux; as an eclectic and polymorphous feast, the festival collaborates with the territory’s stakeholders and organize outstanding concerts in amazing places which are all over the city and its surroundings.
Among the most relevant projects of these last years, we can focus on his debut at the festival d’Aix-en-Provence with Trauernacht a creation based on Bach’s music in a Katie Mitchell’s original staging (2014), the rediscovery of the Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo (Opéra national de Lorraine, Opéra de Versailles, 2016), the ambitious spatialization in the Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Virgine (Holland Festival, BBC Proms, Chapelle Royale de Versailles, Bachfest Leipzig, 2017). After a cycle of cantatas at the Philharmonie de Paris, Raphaël Pichon returns to Bach for the 2018-2019 season with the complete Motets and the Mass in B. Invited to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2018 to conduct Die Zauberflöte staged by Simon McBurney, he came back to Aix-en Provence in 2019 for a scenic creation of Mozart’s Requiem staged by Romeo Castellucci.
As guest conductor, he made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2018 with the Mozarteum Orchester, at the Berlin Philharmonic with the Deutsches Symfonie-Orchester, and was invited to conduct the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Scintilla of the Zurich Opera, the Violons du Roy in Québec, MusicAeterna, the Freiburger Barockorchester and the SWR Symphonieorchester. In this musical season, for the first time he will be in Boston conducting the Handel & Haydn Society.
In 2021-2022, Raphaël Pichon has been conducting Pygmalion for a new production of Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Opéra-Comique as well as for a musical event staged by Romeo Castelluci from the Italian Seicento’s pieces of opera. In concert, he’s offering Bach again in a triptych around Christ and in other events with Sabine Devieilhe, as well as Brahms’ German Requiem and Mozart’s three last symphonies and Requiem‘s stage version arrangements.
His many recordings now appear exclusively on Harmonia Mundi, the latest of which are Stravaganza d’amore (2017), the imaginary opera Enfers with the baritone Stéphane Degout (2018), Libertà a unique project based on the origins of Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy, with Sabine Devieilhe, and the Bach Motets. His entire discography has been unanimously acclaimed in France and abroad. Raphaël Pichon is now officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.