Music

William Christie

Born 19 December 1944.

Biography

William Lincoln Christie (born December 19, 1944 in Buffalo, New York) is an American-born French conductor and harpsichordist. He is a specialist in baroque repertoire and is the founder of the ensemble Les Arts Florissants.

Christie studied art history at Harvard University, where he was briefly assistant conductor of the Harvard Glee Club. From 1966, he began studies at Yale University in music, where he was a student of harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick. He was opposed to the Vietnam War, and served in a reserve officers course to avoid the draft. He subsequently taught at Dartmouth College, but after his Dartmouth post was not renewed, Christie moved to France in 1971. He was one of a number of young men who left the United States at this time because of disagreement with the Vietnam War, and in order to avoid the draft. In France, he became known for his interpretations of Baroque music, particularly French Baroque music, working with René Jacobs and others. He also performed contemporary music alongside baroque music with the Ensemble Five Centuries.

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