Claire Gibault

Claire Gibault - French Orchestra Conductor

Claire Gibault is a French orchestra conductor and politician. She is a member of the European Parliament.

Gibault began learning the violin at the conservatory of her hometown. In 1958, she won the first prize in her instrumental discipline and in chamber music, then continued her music studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. There, in 1968, she obtained first prizes in harmony, fugue, counterpoint, aesthetics and music history, and in 1969, first prize in conducting.

She began her career ten years later, in 1979, as musical director of the Chamber Orchestra of Chambéry, until 1983, and then became assistant to John Eliot Gardiner at the National Opera of Lyon.

A pioneering conductor, she has created numerous operas, far too many to name. Here are some of them: from 1991 to 1998, with the Atelier Lyrique and Maîtrise de l'Opéra de Lyon, of which she is musical director, she produced Pelléas et Mélissande by Claude Debussy, The Barber of Seville and Cinderella by Gioachino Rossini, La Finta Giardiniera by Mozart, Roméo et Juliette by Berlioz and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges by Ravel; in 2006, at the Théâtre du Châtelet, she created Peter Pan or the True Story of Wendy Moira Angela Darling by Patrick Burgan.
One of her most famous productions was the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi's opera Il letto della storia at the Mai Musical Florentine in 2003. She also participated, in 2004, in the recording of Vacchi's music for Patrice Chéreau's film Gabrielle, and conducted the Italian opera artist Anna Caterina Antonacci a few years later, in 2008.

In 1995, she conducted the orchestra of La Scala, the famous opera house in Milan, Italy, and two years later, she moved on to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Gibault is the first woman ever to hold these positions.
She was also musical director of the Fondazione Musica per Roma from 2000 to 2002. There she created and directed the Laboratorio voci in musica.
She assisted Claudio Abbado, the great Italian conductor, in several productions at La Scala, the Vienna Opera and the Royal Opera House in London, and reunited with him in 2004 to create the Mozart Orchestra of Bologna.

Gibault has also conducted countless other orchestras throughout the world (France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, United States...), including the Mozart Orchestra of Bologna. ), including the Copenhagen Philharmonic in 2004; the Sofia Philharmonic, the Antwerp Opera, the Luxembourg Philharmonic and the Bologna Mozart Orchestra in 2006; the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie in 2006 and 2010-2011 ; the Orchestra della Toscana in 2007; the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008; the Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine, the Nice Philharmonic and the Marseille Opera Orchestra in the 2010-2011 season.

In 2010, she published her autobiography La Musique à mains nues. It is reissued in 2022 in a version translated into Italian, which contains two additional unpublished chapters.

In 2011, based on her experience, notably with Claudio Abbado, Gibault created the Paris Mozart Orchestra with which she currently gives about thirty concerts per year.

Very attached to the transmission and creation, she regularly collaborates with contemporary composers (Graciane Finzi, Wolfgang Rihm, Silvia Colasanti, Fabio Vacchi, Edith Canat de Chizy or Philippe Hersant), and gives masterclasses in conducting.
She has recently collaborated with the Royal Opera House and the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in London, and conducts her own masterclass series in Paris.

n 2020, she co-founded La Maestra, an international competition and academy for female conductors, which she also co-directs. The first two editions took place in 2020 and 2022 at the Philharmonie de Paris.

It is after a lack of opportunities in music that she enters politics.

Claire Gibault is also a member of the Commission for Culture and Education, and the Commission for Women's Rights and Gender Equality. She is in charge of issues related to women and poverty, reconciliation of work and family life, and migrant women.
She had two resolutions adopted by the European Parliament, one in 2007 on the social status of artists in Europe, and the second in 2009 on equal treatment and access between men and women in the performing arts.

In October 2010, she was appointed member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council.

In 2016, she was the rapporteur of the reflection mission that prepared the Lockwood report. Subtitled "Mission de réflexion sur la démocratisation de l'enseignement de la musique", it is a report elaborated under the presidency of Didier Lockwood, jazz violinist and vice-president of the High Council for Artistic and Cultural Education, at the request of Frédéric Mitterrand.

In addition, Claire Gibault has received several distinctions. She is Doctor Honoris Causa of the Catholic University of Louvain; Officer of the Order of Academic Palms; Knight of the National Order of Merit (1979), then promoted to Officer in 2006; Knight of the Legion of Honor (2002) to reward her 30 years of professional and artistic activities, then promoted to Officer in 2016; and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2017).

Portrait of Claire Gibault by Pauline Pouzankov, Courier du parlement, September 26, 2012.

© Photo:Kévin Gobet - CC BY-SA 4.0

Article by Julie Poutrel pour Adama Toulon.