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.
Philippe 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.
Highlights of the 2019/20 season include a tour with the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden as well as guest appearances with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Philharmonia Orchestra London, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Cleveland Orchestra, the hr-Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Philippe Herreweghe is “Artist in Residence” at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. In summer 2020 he will continue his residency at the Salzburg Festival with the performance of Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis”. He also tours with the Collegium Vocale Gent on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.
Philippe Herreweghe has received numerous 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.