Appointed in February 2023 Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Classique de Montreal, Jacques Lacombe has previously been Music and Artistic Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Mulhouse in France from 2017 to 2021, Principal Conductor of the Bonn Opera in Germany from 2016 to 2018 and Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières from 2006 till 2018. From 2010 to 2016 he was Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and from 2002 to 2006, principal guest conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal after being music director of the Philharmonie de Lorraine in Metz, France. Jacques Lacombe is renowned as a “gifted and ambitious” conductor (The New York Times) whose artistic integrity and rapport with musicians and orchestras have propelled him to international stature.
In July 2016, Jacques Lacombe was honored to be reinvited to conduct the opening weekend concerts of the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he was a guest for a third consecutive year. In addition, one of the highlights of his past seasons includes his debut with the Orchestre National de France at the Theatre des Champs Élysées in Paris for a concert version of Massenet’s Werther with Joyce Di Donato and Juan Diego Flórez. He also made his debut at the Festival Internacional de Opera Alejandro Granda in Lima, Peru. Symphonic debuts include the Taiwan Philharmonic National Symphony Orchestra as well as orchestras in Dallas, Nancy, Omaha and San Antonio. More recently, he coducted at the Bonn Opera new productions of Holofernes by Reznicek, La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor and Peter Grimes with, in the title role José Cura who also staged this new production.
In recent seasons, he has collaborated with renowned soloists such as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Sarah Chang, Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Gil Shaham, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, André Watts, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Renee Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu, Frederica von Stade, Roberto Alagna, José Cura, Dimitri Hovrostovsky and Bryn Terfel.
In addition to his numerous collaborations with many orchestras in North America such as orchestras in Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Edmonton, Montréal, Quebec and Toronto, Jacques Lacombe has worked in Europe among others with the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre Lamoureux and orchestras in Malaga, Monte-Carlo, Mulhouse, Nancy, Nice, Toulouse as well as many orchestras in Oceania and in Asia.
In other recent highlights, Mr. Lacombe’s work in opera includes all-star productions of La Bohème and Tosca at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the world premiere of Marius et Fanny with the Opéra de Marseille with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu, two frequent collaborators, and many productions including Un Ballo in Maschera, Ariadne auf Naxos, Der fliegende Holländer and Eugene Onegin with the Deutsche Oper Berlin where he is a regular guest for over ten years. Mr. Lacombe has also led a number of operatic rarities with the Deutsche Oper, including Zemlinsky’s Der Traumgörge, Die Dorfschule by Felix von Weingartner, Carl Orff’s Gisei – Das Opfer, and Waltershausen’s Oberst Chabert, which have been recorded and produced by the label CPO. He has led productions with Opéra de Monte-Carlo, most recently Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and La Favorite by Donizetti with the tenor Juan Diego Florez. In addition, Mr. Lacombe has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, at the Teatro Regio in Turin, at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, at the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg as well as opera houses in Avignon, Liège, Marseille, Metz, Nantes and Angers, Philadelphia and Vancouver.
As music director of the NJSO, Lacombe has been noticed for his inspirational programming for which League of American Orchestras honored him with an ASCAP award. For his debut at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York in 2012 as part of Spring for Music Festival, Mr. Lacombe was a resounding success throughout the United States for the concert he conducted with the NJSO where he led pianist Marc-André Hamelin in the epic Busoni Piano Concerto.
Mr. Lacombe’s outstanding work with the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières has also been recognized by a recent Juno Award given by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for Best Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance for his recording of Lettres de Madame Roy à sa fille Gabrielle with renowned contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux written by André Gagnon and Michel Tremblay.
Jacques Lacombe has recorded for the CPO and Analekta labels, and has recorded Janáček’s Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, and the Verdi Requiem on releases with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. His performances have been broadcast on PBS, the CBC, Mezzo TV in Europe, France 3 and Arte TV in France and on Hungarian Radio-Television.
Born in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, Jacques Lacombe received his musical training at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal and at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna. Orchestral conducting teacher at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal where he’s also music director of the orchestra, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He is also a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec and a Member of the Order of Canada.
"...Lacombe treated Symphony Hall to the most engrossing and dynamic rendition of Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé” that I’ve ever seen..."
“Lacombe shows great musicality, and outstanding sense of the structure of the works and of their expressive dimension, in short, already an undeniably talented conductor.”
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