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BIOGRAPHY

Joint Music Director: Les Arts Florissants
Music Director: Orchestre Français des Jeunes Baroque
Director: Le Jardin des Voix

 

Following a highly successful collaboration with Les Arts Florissants as Associate Conductor from 2007, Paul Agnew was recently appointed Joint Music Director alongside William Christie. Paul is in continuous demand as an outstanding interpreter of the baroque and pre-classical repertoire and his long association with the world’s leading conductors in the field of early music includes a discography of over one hundred recordings.

This season Paul makes his debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in Britten’s Serenade under Sakari Oramo and sings the title role in Charpentier’s Actéon at the Wigmore Hall, London with Theatre of the Ayre. As conductor, he makes his US debut with Music of the Baroque, Chicago in a programme of brass and choral works and makes his Opéra national de Paris debut conducting Jiří Kylián’s Doux Mensonges with Les Arts Florissants. Paul also returns to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for the St John Passion and guest conducts a programme of Bach Cantatas at the Staatstheater Nürnberg.

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REVIEWS

“Paul Agnew drew an animated and elegant performance of this 1745 work from the dynamic singers, players and choristers.” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, April 2014)

"3 hours of magisterial music, full of life and rhythm, colour and invention, and led by Paul Agnew with energy and sensuality." (Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde, March 2014)
 
"Galvanisés par un état de grâce palpable, les musiciens des Arts florissants déversent allègrement la corne d'abondance, sous la direction de Paul Agnew appelé à la rescousse, après l'empêchement soudain de William Christie de participer à ces représentations. Pas d'inquiétude dynastique à avoir, non plus: en dauphin désigné, Paul Agnew règne avec une autorité naturelle sur un ensemble plus soudé et fervent que jamais. Pour avoir, dans une carrière antérieure de ténor, interprété le rôle titre, Paul Agnew offre également aux chanteurs autant de soutien et de sollicitude qu'à ses partenaires dans la fosse. L'année Rameau a de beaux jours devant elle." (Gilles Macassar, Telerama, March 2014)

"The most temperamental of all these temperamental Latin singers was actually the Englishman Paul Agnew, the group’s musical director, who really has Monteverdi’s style in his bones." (Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, June 2013)

“The outstanding singer here is tenor Paul Agnew, whose mid-1990s recordings of Dowland with lutenist Christopher Wilson on the Metronome label have never been bettered.” (Andrew O'Connor, International Record Review, June 2013)

"Sombre in everything except harmony and discord, this is a lush and textured album sung with exemplary clarity. Lament no more...Fabulous pile-ups of dissonances and a polychoral lushness characterise most of the music, sung with exemplary clarity and expression by Les Arts Florissants under the British tenor, Paul Agnew. The astringency of the upper voices gives more bite to those spine-shivering discords." (The Times, October 2011)

"Paul Agnew's direction throughout is exemplary, rendering Domenico Scarlatti's Stabat Mater with poise and piety, and expertly navigating Leonardo Leo's ingenious interplay of choirs and plainsong in his "Miserere a due cori". (Lamentazione, Virgin Classics - The Independent, September 2011)

“Deprived of their usual conductor Emmanuelle Haïm, and replaced this evening by Paul Agnew, the orchestra and the chorus reacted with happiness to his flexible and controlled direction. This singer made a great impression with each of the three parts: soft exaltation for the first, compassion in the second and confidence in the final part.” (Joelle Farenc Classical, December 2009)

"Paul Agnew… directed [Les Arts Florissants]… he and his colleagues must have done a huge amount of preparation to achieve performances that were so immaculately assured and yet sounded so spontaneous… it was in a unity of expression that matched rhythmic freedom with a heightened perception of textual meaning, effortlessly realising the intimate intensity of the settings. (The Guardian, November 2009)

“Tenor Paul Agnew sang as one of the seven vocalists from the French baroque specialist group, and also directed the ensemble, which included four continuo players – though the term director has never been more lightly worn. Giving no cues and making no physical gestures beyond meaningful looks, Agnew's interventions were practically imperceptible; he and his colleagues must have done a huge amount of preparation to achieve performances that were so immaculately assured and yet sounded so spontaneous.” (The Guardian, November 2009)