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« An exceptional sense of orchestral balance », « elegantly precise », « a refined colourist » – just some of the glowing terms used to describe the direction of Nicolas Chalvin. A fully rounded musician, he both cherishes and practices the three facets of a conductor’s role: operas, symphonies and chamber orchestras.

From opera to symphony
Nicolas Chalvin began his career at the Lausanne Opera, where he was inspired by Armin Jordan, who encouraged him to trade in the oboe for the baton. There, he led a wide range of repertoires – Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, Messager’s Véronique, Offenbach’s Parisian Life, Pascal Dusapin’s Niobé, Philippe Boesmans’ Reigen and Verdi’s The Troubadour, as well as Carmen, Madame Butterfly and The Trojans, among others. « With opera, it’s the conductor who breathes life into the drama, and the conductor who draws together the various elements of the orchestra pit to create perfect harmony », he enthuses. Before long, Chalvin was making frequent forays into the world of symphonies, performing as a guest with the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, as well as at orchestras in Innsbruck and Geneva. In 2009, he was appointed musical director of the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie, which he soon brought to international prominence.

An eclectic and exacting conductor
A great admirer of the Viennese masters (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms), Chalvin strives to recreate the tone and style of their phrasing and places a particular emphasis on orchestral balance. His preferred repertoire, however, extends much further. He enjoys the subtlety and transparency of French music, as well as its colour and bold harmonies. Yet his devotion to the great works of the classical repertoire has not prevented him from leading his musicians into less charted territory – this has resulted in the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie recording rarer pieces by Reynaldo Hahn and Paul Le Flem. Contemporary music is also an area of particular interest for Chalvin.

Leading the orchestra, each step of the way
A firm believer in the rich value and limitless potential of the chamber orchestra as an ensemble, Nicolas Chalvin leads the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie in a range of repertoires, from Baroque to contemporary, in programmes that have been warmly received by the public and critics alike. Not just an artist, a conductor is also a manager. As Chalvin himself explains: « The conductor’s role is a difficult yet fascinating one, requiring great interpersonal skills and a keen sense of awareness. More than anything, I like to draw the orchestra with me, each step of the way, so that, together, we can bring concerts to life with moments of magic. » In addition to a full season with the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie, Chalvin will also direct many orchestras in France, Swiss, Germany, Israël, Greece...

Nicolas Chalvin: Key dates

  • 1969 Born in Moselle, France.
  • 1991 Wins first prize for oboe at the Conservatoire de Lyon.
  • 1994-2002 Solo oboist at the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Performs with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2001 Meets conductor Armin Jordan. Directs Mozart’s Lucio Silla in Lausanne.
  • 2009 Appointed musical director of the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie.
  • 2011–Present Records rare and unreleased works such as Sophie Arnould by Pierné (Timpani), Aucassin et Nicolette by Paul le Flem (Timpani), Un jour au concert avec les bidochons (Fluide Glacial) and more.
  • 2002–2020 Directs the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the San Carlo National Theatre Orchestra in Lisbon, the Haïfa symphonic, the Athen National State Orchestra and a number of operatic productions, including Madame Butterfly (Puccini), Orpheus and Eurydice (Gluck), Parisian Life (Offenbach), Carmen (Bizet), The Nose (Shostakovitch), The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky), Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky), La Traviata (Verdi) and The Trojans (Berlioz), among others, in the opera houses of Geneva, Lausanne, Zürich and more.
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