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 2021/22 season include guest appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Munich Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra Academy. Furthermore, in May 2022, on the occasion of his 75th birthday, Philippe Herreweghe will present Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde on Europe’s concert stages together with the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées. In addition he will tour Europe with Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Gent.
In September 2021, Philippe Herreweghe will return to the Musikfest Bremen with concerts together with Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and Collegium Vocale Gent. Having already made his Musikfest debut in 1996 with the choir and orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Gent, he will be honoured in 2021 with the Musikfest Award Bremen for his outstanding artistic work.
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.