Philippe Herreweghe was born in Ghent and studied at both the university and music conservatory there. During this period he started conducting and founded Collegium Vocale Gent in 1970.
Herreweghe’s energetic, authentic and rhetorical approach to baroque music was soon drawing praise. In 1977 he founded the ensemble La Chapelle Royale in Paris, with whom he performed music of the French Golden Age. He founded several ensembles with whom he made historically appropriate and well-thought-out interpretations of repertoire stretching from the Renaissance to contemporary music. They include the Ensemble Vocal Européen, specialised in Renaissance polyphony, and the Orchestre des Champs Élysées, founded in 1991 with the aim of playing pre-Romantic and Romantic repertoire on original instruments.
Since 1997 he is attached to the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. He is also in great demand as a guest conductor with orchestras such as Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig or the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. In the upcoming seasons projects with the Sächsische Staatkapelle Dresden, with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra London, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra as well as with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and in Tokyo are planned. He is “Artist in Residence” at the Philharmonie Luxembourg.
Philippe Herreweghe has received numerous European awards for his consistent artistic imagination and commitment. In 1990 the European music press named him “Musical Personality of the Year”. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent were appointed “Cultural Ambassadors of Flanders” in 1993. A year later he was awarded the Belgian order of Officier des Arts et Lettres, and in 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven. In 2003 he received the French title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. In 2010 the city of Leipzig awarded him its Bach-Medaille for his great service as a performer of Bach. In 2017 Philippe Herreweghe received an honorary doctorate at Ghent University.