Conductor Pascal Rophé


Music Director of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire

An innovative and passionate musician, Pascal Rophé is one of France’s most sought after conductors. He is currently Music Director of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, a position he has held since the 2014-15 season.

Although known as one of the foremost exponents of the 20th century repertoire and invited regularly by all the major European ensembles dedicated to contemporary music, Pascal Rophé has also built up an enviable reputation for his interpretations of the great symphonic repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries.This balance is in perfect coherence with the shock he received on discovering the three scores that acted as the catalyst to his conducting career: the Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, Le Marteau sans maître by Pierre Boulez and the Ninth Symphony by Beethoven. 

From 1992, after studying at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris and winning second prize at the 1988 Besançon International Competition, he collaborated closely with Pierre Boulez and the Ensemble intercontemporain, where he also worked extensively with David Robertson.

In France and abroad, Pascal Rophé works with many major orchestras including the orchestras of Radio France, Iceland Symphony, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, RTE National Symphony, Ensemble intercontemporain, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, RAI Torino, Norwegian Radio Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg/Baden-Baden and Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. Pascal also served for three years as Music Director of the Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra until June 2009.

Pascal Rophé is committed to the operatic repertoire which he considers, like contemporary music, should be as accessible to audiences as the more mainstream repertoire. He devotes himself, on average, to two operatic productions per season (Pélléas et Mélisande with Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Thaïs for Opera di Roma, both Der fliegende Holländer and Dialogue des Carmélites at the Budapest Spring Festival). Among the contemporary operas he has championed are Michael Jarrell’s Galilée for Geneva’s Grand Théâtre, Ahmed Essyad’s Héloïse et Abélard for the Châtelet, Michèle Reverdy’s Medée for Opéra de Lyon, and most recently, Bruno Mantovani’s L'Autre Côté for the Cité de la Musique. In April 2011 he premiered Akhmatova, the latest opera by Bruno Mantovani at the Opera national de Paris to great acclaim. In spring 2013 he conducted Anna Caterina Antonacci and the Luxemburg Philharmonic Orchestra in La Voix Humaine by Poulenc and the Secret de Suzanne by Wolf-Ferrari in Paris and Luxemburg.

For his extensive discography of recordings made with the orchestras of Radio France, BBC Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino etc Pascal Rophé has received numerous awards and been unanimously praised by the music press.

A new recording of works by Dutilleux has been released on BIS in 2016 to celebrate centenary of the birth of Dutilleux.

Pascal opened the 2016/17 season of the Angers-Nantes Opera with a concert version of Lohengrin; after which he returned to NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, as well as Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. In Asia, he made his debuts with the Taiwan Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony orchestras and will continue with the orchestra of Hyogo Performing Arts Centre.



CD Review – 7 Solos for Orchestra
[...] Mr. Rophéandhis Belgianplayersdosuperb work,andtherecordingisthrillinglydynamic. Noquestion, though,the cycle amountsto heavylifting;the newcomerto Mr. Dusapin’s musicisinstead directedto another new Naïve disc, “Concerto(s)” (MO 782181), which recyclesthree piecesfrom a brilliant 2003 CD by Mr. Rophé and the Montpellier National Orchestra, adding a fourth from another session.

Steve SMITH, New York Times, May 2010

[...] The Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège Wallonie Bruxelles, under Pascal Rophé, plays with colour, warmth and impeccable discipline. The players linger and glisten where Bruch seems to glance wistfully inwards; they rise nobly towards his climax points with vintage grace

Andrew MELLOR, Classic FM, March 2010

Ensemble Intercontemporain
[...] Le sette chiese by Mantovani, a piece that the ensemble recorded in 2008 on the Kairos label and that since entered into their repertoire, was directed by Pascal Rophé tonight with characteristic discipline and precision.

Michèle TOSI, Resmusica, January 2010

Festival Musica – Strasbourg
[...] Pascal Rophé lead the orchestra with passion and conviction, his gestures, outwardly very classic, were clearly effective in the description of them most minute orchestral details.

Christine LABROCHE, Concertonet March 2009

Festival Présences 2009
[...] The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, led by the excellent Pascal Rophé does justice to this répertoire that it has always known how to perform.

Maxime Kaprielian, Resmusica, March 2009

[...] We can depend on Pascal Rophé to show all potential energy of the young French school during his concert with the OPL, with a mixture of pugnacity, of mystery and obsessional thrill in Intrada by Eric Tanguy, heartbreaking lament in Watt, the concerto for trombone Pascal Dusapin, admirably defended by Alain Worse, and a sometimes sparkling, sometimes dreamy dialogue between flute, clarinet and oboe in Sillages by Michael Jarrell

Serge MARTIN, Le Soir, 15 April 2008

Cité de la musique – L’autre cote (by Mantovani)
Pascal Rophé rose brilliantly to the challenge at the head of Orchestre National D’Ile de France in great shape and surrounded by six percussionists from Strasbourg, whose positions spaced out around the hall considerably open the resonance - and the same seven singers all present at the creation. 

With a direction as controlled as it was powerful, he took us into this strange world, tense and scary from the first act: a music of "waiting" defined as such by the composer, in which the characters talk more than they sing while anxiety- created by the Ligetien rhythmic disturbances within the orchestra – rises, putting the listener "under pressure" until the amazing ‘Magic Clock’ scene, a pure moment of dreamlike diaphanous sonorities with the intervention of the chorus tinged with a touch of mysticism.

Michèle Tosi ,, March 2008