Gérard Lesne

Biography

Born: July 15, 1956; Montmorency, France  
Gerard Lesne has led a unique career: largely self-taught, he began as a jazz and rock singer who not only converted to more serious music, but became identified as one of the leading countertenors in the early music genre. He has sung with several early music ensembles, including the Clemencic Consort and with the group he founded, Il Seminario Musicale. The sound quality of Lesne's voice has been described as the male counterpart to the female Read more contralto. His admirers will define him further, noting the many subtle gradations of volume and the nuances and color he is capable of imparting to an otherwise earthbound phrase. Many listeners, critics included, have asserted he is the finest French countertenor of his time. Lesne has made numerous recordings for a variety of labels, including EMI, Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Classics, and Accord.

Lesne was born in Montmorency, France, on July 15, 1956. He had little formal training in his early years, though he did study music for a time at the Sorbonne. Until 1979, when he was 23, Lesne performed as a jazz and rock singer. At that time Belgian tenor Zeger Vandersteene became impressed with Lesne's vocal talents and introduced him to composer/conductor René Clemencic, founder and leader of early music ensemble the Clemencic Consort. Clemencic was immediately won over by the 23-year-old countertenor.

From 1979 Lesne began singing with the Consort, touring Europe usually to enthusiastic critical and audience response. From 1984 to 1990 he sang with Les Arts Florissants under William Christie, delving mainly into French Baroque repertory. In 1985 Lesne founded Il Seminario Musicale and explored Italian Baroque music (A. Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Stradella, and others) and made many recordings.

From 1988 to 1992 Lesne sang with Philippe Herreweghe and his ensembles (La Chapelle Royale and Collegium Vocale Gent). In 1990 he made two acclaimed recordings of J.S. Bach sacred works with Herreweghe that appeared on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Since 1993 Lesne has given vocal classes at the Royaumont Abbey in France, and throughout the 1990s and into the new century remained active on the concert scene, particularly with Il Seminario Musicale. Among the group's recordings is a 2005 five-CD set of French sacred music on Virgin Classics. Lesne's freelance recording activity includes the 2006 Harmonia Mundi issue Messe de Noël with conductor Marcel Pérès. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 80 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 2.
    Vivaldi: L'olimpiade / Clemencic, Lesne, Schultze, Van Der Sluis, Von Magnus
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2012137 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Andrew Walker Schultze,  Lucia Meeuwsen,  Mieke Van der Sluis,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  René Clemencic
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clemencic Consort
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Contre-tenors
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5328 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky,  David D. Q. Lee,  Dominique Visse,  Andreas Scholl  ... 
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  • 4.
    A Year With Jesus
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 2667 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chance,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Jacques Neilz,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Harry Christophers,  David Hill  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Choir,  The Sixteen,  Seminario Musicale  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 5.
    Baroque Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2579 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  David Daniels,  Chiara Bianchini,  Janet See,  Andrew Lawrence-King  ... 
    Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Roger Norrington,  Andrew Parrott,  Richard Hickox  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort,  Concerto Cologne  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 6.
    Sacred Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2646 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Thomas,  Emma Kirkby,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Andrew Parrott,  Philip Ledger,  Paul McCreesh  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort  ... 
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  • 7.
    Charpentier: David & Jonathas / Christie, Lesne, Visse, Zanetti
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2901289 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Performer:  Monique Zanetti,  Jean-Francois Gardeil,  Dominique Visse,  Bernard Delétré  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
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  • 8.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7317512 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Johann Pachelbel,  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Kalafusz,  Gerald Finley,  Janet See,  Giovanni Scaramuzzino  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Andrew Parrott,  Stephen Cleobury,  Christopher Warren-Green  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Europa Galante,  Seminario Musicale  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 9.
    Bach - Earthly and Divine [6 CDs+Book]
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 889 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Raphaël Imbert,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Raphaël Imbert,  Jean-Luc Di Fraya,  André Rossi,  Jean-Marc Fabiano  ... 
    Conductor:  Raphaël Imbert,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Raphaël Pichon,  Françoise Lasserre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann,  Akademia Ensemble,  La Chapelle Royale  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 10.
    Bach: Arias / Lesne, Seminario Musicale
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8933 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Christian Bach,  Johann Michael Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
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  • 11.
    Best Handel 50
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 70822 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jane Gilchrist,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Joyce DiDonato,  Max Emanuel Cencic  ... 
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor,  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Alan Curtis,  Diego Fasolis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco,  I Barocchisti,  Seminario Musicale
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  • 12.
    Opera 2011
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 96666 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Caldara,  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Joyce DiDonato,  Edgaras Montvidas,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Ian Bostridge  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazushi Ono,  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Bernard Labadie,  Antonio Pappano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale,  L'arpeggiata
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  • 13.
    Mass For Christmas Day / Ensemble Organum
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951148 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous
    Performer:  Philippe Balloy,  Josep Benet,  Gérard Lesne,  Josep Cabré
    Conductor:  Marcel Pérès
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Organum
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  • 14.
    Bach: Magnificat, Cantatas / Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale Gent
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 5908360 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Howard Crook,  Barbara Schlick,  Peter Kooy,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Chapelle Royale Paris,  Collegium Vocale
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  • 15.
    The World of the Castrati - The Voice of Angels [2 CDs+DVD]
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 48791 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Caldara,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Sonia Prina,  Kate Royal,  Laura Polverelli  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Veritas - Jommelli: Lamentazioni Per Il Mercoledi Santo
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 28628 Release Date: 10/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolò Jommelli
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Gérard Lesne
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
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  • 17.
    50 Best Baroque
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57503 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Jeremiah Clarke,  John Dowland,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Gérard Lesne,  Susan Graham,  Christopher Robson  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Richard Hickox,  Andrew Parrott,  Emmanuelle Haïm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork,  Taverner Players,  Orlando Gibbons Viol Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Bach: Famous Cantatas Vol 1 / Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale Gent
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 5908357 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Daniel Taylor,  Peter Kooy,  Carolyn Sampson,  Mark Padmore  ... 
    Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  La Chapelle Royale Paris
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  • 19.
    L'univers des castrats [2 CDs+Bonus DVD]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6275902 Release Date: 03/02/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Caldara,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Sonia Prina,  Kate Royal,  Laura Polverelli  ... 
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  • 20.
    Mad Lesne / Gerard Lesne
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 45180 Release Date: 10/21/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gérard Lesne
    Performer:  Jean-luc Carminati,  Gérard Lesne,  Marc Le Devedec,  Richard Myron  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Pergolesi: Stabat Mater / Veronique Gens, Gerard Lesne
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 86357 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Gérard Lesne
    Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
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  • 22.
    Monteverdi: Salve Regina, Motets / Lesne
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 91145 Release Date: 09/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Josep Benet,  Josep Cabré,  Gérard Lesne,  Brigitte Lesne  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale,  Tragicomedia
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  • 23.
    Veritas - Caldara: Medea, Cantatas For Solo Alto / Lesne
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 91479 Release Date: 09/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Caldara
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
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  • 24.
    Fux: Dafne In Lauro / Clemencic, Clemencic Consort, Et Al
    Label: Nuova Era   Catalog: 232470 Release Date: 09/01/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Joseph Fux
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Lina Åkerlund,  Mieke Van der Sluis,  Martin Klietmann  ... 
    Conductor:  René Clemencic
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clemencic Consort,  La Cappella Vocal Ensemble
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Bach: Masses Bwv 233 & 236 / Herreweghe
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 91213 Release Date: 08/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Peter Kooy,  Christoph Prégardien,  Agnès Mellon
    Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
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