Vincent Dumestre is the founder and artistic director of Le Poème Harmonique, with which he explores the vocal and instrumental repertoire of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. With this faithful team of artists he also seeks to revive the performing arts of the Baroque period, thereby favouring in many of his projects interaction with other artistic disciplines.
After studying art history at the École du Louvre and classical guitar at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, Vincent Dumestre (b. May 1968) turned to the lute, Baroque guitar and theorbo, which he studied with Hopkinson Smith and Eugène Ferré, with Rolf Lislevand at the Toulouse Conservatoire, and in thecontinuo class at the Boulogne Conservatoire, where he was unanimously awarded the advanced diploma. Since then he has taken part in many concerts, in particular with the Ricercar Consort, La Simphonie du Marais, Le Concert des Nations, La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, Akademia and the ensembles of theCentre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. He has taken part in more than thirty recordings with those ensembles, for the firms Erato, Auvidis, Virgin, Ricercar, Pierre Verany, Naxos, Empreinte Digitale and Fnac Musique.
In 1998 Vincent Dumestre formed Le Poème Harmonique – a chamber ensemble and orchestra specialising in the Baroque repertoire – of which he is the artistic director. From the very first the ensemble’s productions won both critical acclaim and popularity. In 1999 the French music magazine Diapason voted Vincent Dumestre ‘Young Talent of the Year’ for his work with Le Poème Harmonique, whose recordings on the Alpha label are regularly singled out by the music press: Record of the Year Diapason and Le Monde de la Musique, recommendations from Classica, Répertoire, Opéra International, Télérama etc.
Vincent Dumestre’s artistic career is essentially bound up with that of his ensemble. It is interesting furthermore to note his unusual position on the international Baroque scene, as the only musician to lead a company that is directly involved in the production of large-scale stage productions (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in 2004, Baroque Carnival in 2006, Cadmus et Hermione in 2008, Egisto in 2012), thus contributing to a new perception of the relationships between music and theatre. His approach has proved immensely popular, acclaimed by the critics (countless awards in France and abroad) and by the public (so far over 120,000 people have seen the four productions, and tens of thousands of DVDs have been sold). The same spirit of innovation characterises the chamber programmes, in which Vincent Dumestre continues to participate as an instrumentalist with his singers and musicians. This aspect of his work is still of fundamental importance to him, despite the fact that the ensemble’s evolution means that he often has the role of conductor.
Over the past four years the repute of Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique has grown spectacularly and the ensemble’s stage productions and concerts are now presented at many prestigious venues in France and abroad. These include the Opéra Comique, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Cité de la Musique (Paris), Rouen Opéra and the Théâtre de Caen, the Normandy Autumn Festival, the Opéra Royal at Versailles, Royaumont Abbey, the Ambronay, Beaune and Sablé festivals, the Luxembourg Grand Théâtre, Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Utrecht Festival, the Granada and Santiago di Compostela international festivals, Madrid’s Teatro Canal, the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Cologne Philharmonic Hall, Potsdam and Regensburg early music festivals, National Theatre of Prague, Budapest Palace of Arts, Krakow Mysteria Paschalia Festival, St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, Columbia University in the City of New York, Boston Early Music Festival, San Francisco Cal Performances Festival, Campos do Jordão Festival (São Paulo), Oji Hall (Tokyo), Forbidden City Hall (Beijing), Concert Hall (Shanghai).