Conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay


“On the podium Tremblay is an elegant figure, free of mannerisms, he is precise, articulate and confident.” Musical

Canadian conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay has an impressive track record and has been heralded by the Canadian press as a “great interpreter” with a “true musical vision.” Founder and musical director of the Orchestre de la Francophonie, the orchestra has given more than 250 concerts across Canada, China and the United States under his leadership.

In North America, Tremblay is regularly invited as guest conductor to the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D. C., the Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver, Edmonton (where he opened the 13/14 season), the Orchestra of the Manhattan School of Music, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, and, at the invitation of Gustavo Dudamel, the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra.

In recent seasons he has led prestigious European ensembles including the Orchestre National de France, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (at the invitation of Yannick Nézet-Séguin), the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Spanish National Orchestra, and the Prague, Dresden and Budapest radio symphony orchestras. In spring 2012, Tremblay made a very successful conducting debut in Utrecht with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; the concert was broadcast nationally and critically acclaimed: “Conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay was a last-minute replacement for Serge Baudo, but he more than held his own. Conducting the orchestra with an energy that reminded me of fellow French-Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Tremblay had contagious enthusiasm while still being in full control. The orchestra obviously responded well to him!”

During the summer of 2013 Jean-Philippe Tremblay travelled to Central America to conduct the YOA (Youth Orchestra of the Americas) in a series of concerts combined with master classes.

Tremblay has collaborated with numerous illustrious soloists, including Pinchas Zukerman, Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Gabriela Montero and Louis Lortie, as well as many up-and-coming soloists representing the next generation of talent. At the helm of the Orchestre de la Francophonie he has given over 30 world premieres of commissioned works.

In Summer 2014, after his acclaimed performances at the Domaine Forget in Quebec, he is invited to conduct the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra before concerts with the Orchestre de la Francophonie, return invitations to Edmonton and Ottawa, and a series of performances of Verdi’s Requiem with the Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire in France.

Jean-Philippe Tremblay studied viola, composition and conducting at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Musicians, the Royal Academy of Music in London and at Tanglewood with Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Michael Jinbo, Jorma Panula and Robert Spano.

He is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Musician’s Prize at the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition for Conductors. His recordings have won many awards, as well as critical acclaim from prestigious publications such as Gramophone and Diapason.


"The French Canadian invasion of classical music is no joke. Besides Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Philadelphia, Jacques Lacombe is being installed at the New Jersey Symphony while two other young conductors - Jean-Marie Zeitouni and Jean-Philippe Tremblay - are crossing the border with increasing frequency. The latter conductor just issued a complete Beethoven symphony cycle that might initially inspire cynicism: How good could the Orchestre de la Francophonie be, anyway? It's excellent... With Tremblay's lean textures, little vibrato, and zippy tempos, the period-instrument movement is a basic point of reference, which partly accounts for the consistency of quality here. But he brings to that his own brand of crisp rhythms, endlessly lilting melodic phrasing, and aggressive momentum (particularly in Symphony No. 4) that never lapses into bullying....

Recorded live, the performances are rarely without a strong electrical current."

David Patrick Stearns, 

Another month, another Berlioz Symphonie fantastique. No sooner have the Orchestre National de Lyon and Leonard Slatkin released their version on Naxos than the Orchestre de la Francophonie and Jean-Philippe Tremblay produce theirs on Analekta. AS the label might indicate the orchestra is Canadian, based in Quebec, and it identifies itself as ‘an important stepping stone for young Canadian musicians embarking on a professional career’. The playing is polished, the recording likewise, and there are so many advantages over the ONL’s Naxos disc as to put it in another league altogether.

Whereas Slatkin’s interpretation was notable for its efficient direction rather than its dramatic lighting, Tremblay’s has a real sense of theatrical scenography as well as lucidity of texture and an impressive awareness of the spectrum of Berlioz’s instrumental timbres.

If the second-movement waltz can at times seem a little measured, a touch cautious in the way it approaches the ritenutos and the music’s suppleness, there is nevertheless a good underlying pulse that gathers pace excitingly towards the end. The ‘Scène aux champs’ is hauntingly atmospheric, with an affecting air of loneliness, despondency and yearning. The playing explodes with radiant anguish when appropriate but, as in the performance as a whole, the music’s perspective is never distorted. Rather, there is a firm sense of emotional flux, with proper foreboding in the ‘Marche au supplice’ and a spine-tingling urgency and propulsion in the ‘Songe d’une nuit de sabbat’. Altogether this is a performance in which Berlioz’s challenges are well met.

Geoffrey Norris