Les Violons du Roy

The name Les Violons du Roy was inspired by the illustrious string orchestra at the court of the kings of France. Formed in 1984 at the initiative of founding conductor Bernard Labadie, today under the musical direction of Jonathan Cohen, this ensemble brings together a minimum of fifteen musicians devoted to the repertoire for chamber orchestra, whose stylistic approach is to remain as faithful as possible to the historical repertoire performed. While Les Violons du Roy plays on modern instruments, they embrace the Baroque and Classical repertoires from a revivalist perspective of 17th- and 18th-century musical performance practice, for which they use copies of period bows. Les Violons du Roy also regularly explores the 19th- and 20th-century repertoires.


At the heart of Quebec’s musical scene since its inception, Les Violons du Roy established residency at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City in 2007. Since 1997, the ensemble also figures among Montreal’s most prominent cultural offerings. They are acclaimed throughout the world on the strength of numerous concerts and recordings broadcast on, Radio-Canada, CBC and NPR, and of their regular appearances at prestigious festivals. They have given several dozen concerts in Germany, England, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, South Korea, Ecuador, Spain, the United States, France, Israel, Morocco, Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Switzerland, with internationally renowned soloists including Magdalena Kožená, David Daniels, Vivica Genaux, Alexandre Tharaud, Ian Bostridge, Emmanuel Pahud, Stephanie Blythe, Marc-André Hamelin, Philippe Jaroussky, Anthony Marwood, Isabelle Faust, Julia Lezhneva, Anthony Roth Costanzo and Avi Avital, among others. They have twice been invited to perform at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and have also given concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie as well as in London, Brussels, and Paris.


Since their first visit to Washington in 1995, Les Violons du Roy’s American itinerary has intensified considerably to include numerous and regular stops in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They have given ten performances at Carnegie Hall, including five with La Chapelle de Québec, of Handel’s Messiah, and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St. John Passion, under the direction de Bernard Labadie. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles has welcomed them for three performances, including once with La Chapelle de Québec, of Messiah, also conducted by Bernard Labadie. Les Violons du Roy is represented by the agencies Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt.


Les Violons du Roy’s discography comprises thirty-six titles, whose excellence has repeatedly garnered critical acclaim. Twelve albums are released on the Dorian label, including one of Mozart’s Requiem with La Chapelle de Québec (Juno Award 2002) and Handel’s Apollo e Dafne with Karina Gauvin (Juno Award 2002). Since 2004, Les Violons du Roy’s affiliation with the Quebec label ATMA has resulted in the release of a dozen recordings, including Water Music (Félix Award 2008) and Piazzolla (Juno Award 2006). On the Erato, Naïve, Hyperion, Analekta and Decca Gold labels, Les Violons du Roy have recorded with, among others, soloists Vivica Genaux, Truls Mørk, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Alexandre Tharaud, Marc-André Hamelin, Valérie Milot, Anthony Roth Costanzo (2019 GRAMMY nomination) and Charles Richard-Hamelin (Juno nomination).