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 43 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Monteclair: La Mort de Didon / Christie, Les Arts Florissants
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 8901280 Release Date: 04/01/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michel Monteclair
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Jean-Paul Fouchécourt,  Monique Zanetti,  Jean-Francois Gardeil  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
    CD: $9.99
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  • 2.
    A. Scarlatti: Sedecia, re di Gerusalemme / Lesne, Il Seminario Musicale
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 554475 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Scarlatti
    Performer:  Virginie Pochon,  Gérard Lesne,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Mark Padmore  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
    CD: $12.99
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  • 3.
    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
    CD: $249.99
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    A Year With Jesus
    Label: Erato   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: $19.99
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  • 7.
    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:  Jean-Luc Di Fraya,  Raphaël Imbert,  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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  • 8.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    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
    Recommendation
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  • 10.
    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 $17.99
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  • 11.
    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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    ArkivCD $17.99
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  • 12.
    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
    ArkivCD $17.99
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    Histoires Sacrees - Bach, Beethoven, Charpentier, Vivaldi
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5155 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ronan Nédélec,  Nicolas Bauchau,  Jean-François Novelli,  Raimonds Spogis  ... 
    Conductor:  Gérard Lesne,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Pierre Cao,  Christoph Spering
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale,  Concerto Italiano
    CD: $24.99
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  • 15.
    Handel: Lucrezia / Lesne, Il Seminario Musicale
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 91480 Release Date: 08/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne
    Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
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    ArkivCD $17.99
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  • 16.
    Esprit - Baroque
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5168 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Sébastien Marq,  Sandrine Piau,  Gérard Lesne,  Philippe Jaroussky  ... 
    Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Martin Gester,  Fabio Biondi,  Christophe Rousset  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Parlement de Musique,  Les Talens Lyriques,  Ensemble Matheus  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Esprit - Sacre
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5169 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  John Dowland,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Sandrine Piau,  Sara Mingardo
    Conductor:  Christoph Spering,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Emmanuel Krivine,  Jean-Claude Malgoire  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accentus,  Concerto Italiano,  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Bach: Masses Bwv 235 & 234, Sanctus / Herreweghe
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 91118 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Peter Kooy,  Gérard Lesne,  Christoph Prégardien,  Agnès Mellon
    Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Ghent Collegium Vocale Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Stradella: San Giovanni Battista / Minkowski
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45739 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Stradella
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Richard Edgar-Wilson,  Philippe Huttenlocher,  Catherine Bott  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 20.
    Desprez: Missa Pange Lingua / Pérès, Visse, Lesne, Laplénie
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 501239 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Josquin Des Préz
    Performer:  Josep Benet,  Michel Laplénie,  Gérard Lesne,  Dominique Visse  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Pérès
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clément Janequin Ensemble,  Ensemble Organum
    CD: $13.99
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  • 21.
    Dowland: Ayres / Gérard Lesne, Ensemble Orlando Gibbons
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8919 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Dowland
    Performer:  Gérard Lesne,  Jacob Heringman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Gibbons Viol Ensemble
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    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Charpentier: Tristes Déserts / Lesne, Seminario Musicale
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 70302 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Performer:  Cyril Auvity,  Gérard Lesne,  Edwin Crossley-Mercer
    Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
    Recommendation
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Rossini: Melodies / Rockwell Blake, Antonio Pappano, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55614 Release Date: 08/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Rockwell Blake,  Antonio Pappano,  Gérard Lesne
    ArkivCD $17.99
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  • 24.
    Vivaldi: L'olimpiade / Rene Clemencic, Et Al
    Label: Nuova Era   Catalog: 223290 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Mieke Van der Sluis,  Lucia Meeuwsen,  Andrew Walker Schultze,  Aris Christofellis  ... 
    Conductor:  René Clemencic
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clemencic Consort
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Melancolie
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5036 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Philip Glass,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Laurent Cabasso,  Lina Mkrtchyan,  Evgeni Talisman,  Adele Anthony  ... 
    Conductor:  Takuo Yuasa,  Laurence Equilbey,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Jorma Panula  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra,  Accentus,  Concerto Italiano  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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