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.Last season Philippe Herreweghe, together with soloists Magdalena Kožená and Andrew Staples, presented Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in historic timbres.
Highlights of the 2023/24 season include guest appearances with the Munich Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra London. Together with the Collegium Vocale Gent and the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, he will tour Europe with the Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In addition, Herreweghe will present Bach’s Mass in B minor at Europe’s leading Festivals and will conduct St Matthew Passion in Katowice, Hamburg and Munich among others.
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. In addition, Herreweghe was awarded the “Ultima” cultural prize for general cultural merit by the Flemish government in the same year.
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.