Paul Dombrecht


Born: 1948
Paul Dombrecht is associated with original-instrument performances of repertory from the Baroque era. He began as a virtuoso oboist, but in the late '80s developed a parallel career as a conductor. Often, Dombrecht appears in concert with the ensemble he founded, Il Fondamento, as well as other ensembles, both as soloist and conductor. Although oboist Dombrecht has largely focused on Baroque music, his repertory includes many works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As conductor, Dombrecht has devoted most programs to Baroque music, including often forgotten Baroque works by the likes of Zelenka, Fasch, Thomas Vincent, William Babell, and many others, but he has also extended his purview to include works from the Classical period, particularly a number by Haydn and Mozart. Dombrecht has been prolific in the recording studio, with more than 40 titles to his credit spread over several labels that include Harmonia Mundi, Astree, Seon, Vanguard, Opus 111, Sony, Erato, Accent, Fugo Libera, and Passacaille.

Paul Dombrecht was born in Ostend, Belgium, in 1948. His father, Stefaan, was a church organist. Attracted to the oboe, young Paul became a virtuoso on both modern and Baroque-era oboes. Dombrecht steadily built his reputation and by 1980 he was recognized not only as among the finest Belgian oboists but among the leading oboists from Europe, with probably only Heinz Holliger more prominent. In 1989 Dombrecht founded the aforementioned chamber ensemble Il Fondamento, which he has since served as artistic director and conductor. Dombrecht's conducting activities led him to establish another ensemble, the Paul Dombrecht Consort, and to work regularly with the wind ensemble Octophoros.

It has been with Il Fondamento that Dombrecht has been more active, not least in the recording studio. Throughout the 1990s he led the group in a series of recordings for the Passacaille label that included multiple discs by Telemann and Handel, as well as individual albums of Mozart, J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and others.

Dombrecht's newer recordings as oboist include the 2006 CD on Accent, Affetuoso -- Oboe Sonatas 1700-1750, containing works by C.P.E. Bach, Thomas Vincent, and other Baroque composers; as conductor, his efforts include the 2007 Fuga Libera CD Musica para Orquesta, which contains works by Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga performed by Il Fondamento. Dombrecht has also been active in music education, serving on the faculty at Brussels' Royal Conservatory of Music.