Born in 1950, Laurent Petitgirard studied the piano with Serge Petitgirard and composition with Alain Kremski. An eclectic musician, his career as a composer of symphonic music (more than twenty works) and of film music (160 scores) is matched by his activity as a guest conductor the world over (Paris Opera Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte- Carlo, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, de Bordeaux, de Lille, Bamberger Philharmoniker, Berliner Symphoniker, Orchestras of the Tonhalle, La Fenice, BBC, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic & CBS Orchestras, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, National Orchestra of Spain, Moscow State Orchestra, China National Symphonic Orchestra...).
In 1989 he founded the Orchestre Symphonique Français which he conducted until 1996, also directing, from 1986 to 1997, the Festival and the Academy of Flaine (Haute-Savoie). In December 2004 he was elected music director of the Orchestre Colonne in Paris and has been reelected in October 2009 till June 2017.
Laurent Petitgirard has made some thirty records, notably of Honegger’s Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher and several world premiere recordings, including Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit in the orchestration by Marius Constant. For the record label Chant du Monde he recorded his Cello Concerto with the cellist Gary Hoffman and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and Le Légendaire for violin, chorus and orchestra, with, as soloist, the work’s dedicatee, Augustin Dumay.
Laurent Petitgirard’s first opera, Joseph Merrick dit Elephant Man, with a libretto by Eric Nonn, was first performed in French, in February 2002 at the Prague State Opera, conducted by himself, with stage direction by Daniel Mesguich.
Laurent Petitgirard recorded the opera with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and with Nathalie Stutzmann in the title role (Naxos). The opera was restaged at Nice Opera from 29 November to 3 December 2002. A DVD of a live performance in Nice was released by the label Marco Polo and is to be broadcast in 2005 on TF1 and Mezzo. A new production of this opera has been presented in May 2006 by Minneapolis Opera.
After Le Fou d'Elsa, a cycle of six songs to poems by Aragon for contralto and orchestra, his latest works include Le Plus Ardent à Vivre (septet with harp, premiered by the soloist Marielle Nordmann), Poème for large string orchestra and Dialogue for viola and orchestra, which he recorded in September 2005 with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine and the viola player Gérard Caussé. This piece was presented on October 2nd in Paris at the Presences Festival.
Laurent Petitgirard premiered his symphonic poem, Les Douze Gardiens du Temple (commissioned by Radio France) with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg at the Présences Festival in February 2006 in Paris).
Most of his works have been published by Éditions Durand and Editions OSF Productio ns.
Laurent Petitgirard’s second opera, Guru, libretto by Xavier Maurel, was recorded under his baton in October 2010 in Budapest and released, on the Label Naxos, in August 2011 (CHOC of the classical magazine Classica).
This opera is premiered under his baton at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on February 2nd 2014, stage direction by Daniel Mesguich.
Laurent Petitgirard just achieved the composition of a concerto for saxophone and orchestra dedicated to Michel Supera (premiered in Douai in March 2013).
Since 2002 he is recording for Naxos which released 3 Cds and a DVD of his symphonic works or his first opera and Maurice Ravel's complete ballet Daphnis and Chloé with the Bordeaux National Orchestra.
One of his last composition is the original score for The Little Prince, staged by Sonia Petrovna for the Avignon's Opera. Recorded in Budapest in May 2012, it will be released on the label Naxos in 2013.
In the 2010-2012 seasons, Laurent Petitgirard conducted serie of concerts in Budapest, Moscow, Strasbourg, Beijing, Nice, Seoul, Kiev...
In 2013, on February 15, he will conduct at the Orchestrion Hall in Moscow the Moscow State Orchestra in a concert devoted to his own music, including "Le Fou d'Elsa" with the participation of the french contralto Delphine Galou.
For the cinema and the Television, Laurent Petitgirard composed for directors as such Otto Preminger, Jacques Demy, Francis Girod, Peter Kassovitz, Pierre Schœndœrffer, Claude Danna, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jean Larriaga, Patrick Timsit, Laurent Heyneman, Michel Boisrond, Denis Amar, Pierre Granier Deferre, Bernard Queysannes, Alain Tasma, Pierre Joassin, Charles Nemes, Jacques Fansten, Florian Gallenberger, Edouard Niermans….
Since January 2013, Laurent Petitgirard is the director of the new movie score cursus at the Paris Music Conservatory (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris).
Laurent Petitgirard received the Young Composer’s Prize of the SACD in 1987, the SACEM Prize in 1990, the Grand Prix Lycéen for Composers in 2000 for his Cello Concerto and the Prix Musique 2001 of the SACD for his opera Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man.
In December 2000 he was elected Member of the French Institute, in the seat of Marcel Landowski at the Académie des Beaux-Arts and elected President of the Board of Sacem (French Authors, Composers and Publishers Society) in June 2011.
Laurent Petitgirard is a "Chevalier de La Légion d'Honneur", an "Officier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite" and a "Commandeur des Arts et Lettres".
His son, Tristan Petitgirard, is a writer, stage director and actor. Laurent Petitgirard is married with the actresses Sonia Petrovna.
His music is published by Durand / Universal Classical Music.
Photo : © Marc Chesneau / Editions Durand