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Born in 1950, Laurent Petitgirard studied piano with Serge Petitgirard and composition with Alain Kremski.
An eclectic musician, his career as a composer of symphonies, operas and chamber music accompanies an equally active occupation as conductor.
Musical director of the Orchestre Symphonique Français from 1989 to 1996, he was elected Musical Director by the musicians of the Orchestre Colonne in 2005 – a role he fulfilled up until 2018.
Laurent Petitgirard’s first opera, “Joseph Merrick dit Elephant Man” (libretto by Eric Nonn), was recorded with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nathalie Stutzmann (Naxos). Premiered in February 2002 at the Prague State Opera and staged by Daniel Mesguich, it was put on at the Nice Opera in December 2002 (DVD, Marco Polo).
It was re-staged in May 2006 at the Minneapolis Opera by Doug Varone.
His second opera, “Guru“, deals with psychological manipulation and sects. With a libretto by Xavier Maurel, it was recorded in October 2010 in Budapest for Naxos with Hubert Claessens (bass-baritone) and Sonia Petrovna in the two lead roles, and received the Choc du mois in September 2011. The lyrical suite “Guru et Marie“, which originates from the opera, was performed at Neubrandenburg, Germany, in 2014; at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, in March 2016; in Poland in October 2017; and in Jerusalem in 2018.
The complete opera’s premier was directed by the composer himself from September 28th to October 2nd 2018 at the Castle Opera in Szczecin, and was staged by Damian Cruden. It was staged again in March 2019.
Laurent Petitgirard has also recorded three symphonic poems (Les Douze Gardiens du Temple, Euphonia, and Poème pour grand orchestre à cordes), three concertos (Dialogue pour alto et orchestre with Gérard Caussé, Concerto pour violoncelle et orchestre with Gary Hoffman, and Le Légendaire for violin, choir and orchestra, with Augustin Dumay) and a CD based on Le Petit Prince, featuring original music for Sonia Petrovna’s version for the stage, all for Naxos.
The next Naxos release will include Etats d’âme for alto saxophone and orchestra, as well as three symphonic poems, Solitaire, Le Marathon, and Flaine.
Dilemme, his Concerto for flute, harp and string orchestra, will be premiered at the Dresden Philharmonic in June 2019 by Emmanuel Pahud and Marie-Pierre Langlamet.
Laurent Petitgirard has also composed the soundtracks for films by directors such as Otto Preminger, Jacques Demy, Francis Girod, Peter Kassovitz, Pierre Schœndœrffer, Jean-Claude Brialy, Pierre Granier Deferre, and others.
Laurent Petitgirard has been invited to appear as guest conductor for many orchestras including the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre National de France, the national orchestras of Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Lille; the Bamberger Sinfoniker, Berliner Symphoniker, the TonHalle, Fenice, and BBC orchestras; the Utah Symphonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, KBS and Korean Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the National Orchestra of Spain, the Moscow State Orchestra, the National Orchestra of China, and others.
He has recorded around thirty CDs, including Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, Ravel and Constant’s Gaspard de la Nuit (which he premiered), and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé.
From January 2013 to June 2015, Laurent Petitgirard taught the first year class in Music and Image at the CSMDP (Paris). He has been the artistic director of Les Nuits Classiques de Ramatuelle since 2013.
Laurent Petitgirard won the Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs in 2000, and the SACD’s Prix Musique in 2001.
On February 1, 2017, he was elected Permanent Secretary at the Académie des Beaux-Arts where, since 2000, he has presided over the administration council at the SACEM a number of times.
He is married to the actress Sonia Petrovna, with whom he has a son, the author, director and actor Tristan Petitgirard.
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