Emmanuel Krivine is one of the most distinguished European conductors, with a particular expertise in French repertory and classics of the 20th century literature. Krivine's parents were Russian and Polish. He began playing violin at a very young age and made remarkable progress. It was clear that he had exceptional musical talent. He gained admission to the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 13. At 16 he won the First Prize in violin at the Conservatoire.
He had lessons and advice from Yehudi Menuhin and Henryk Szeryng. He played as an orchestral violinist while beginning his solo career. While developing that career successfully, the eminent conductor Karl Böhm advised him to consider acting on his longtime dream of conducting.
He conducted the French Radio Philharmonic in 1975, leading to his being invited to become permanent guest conductor of the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique of Paris. His breakout year was 1983, when, on a concert tour, he won rave reviews in Berlin. This brought him to the edge of conducting stardom, confirmed by being invited to conduct by many of the great orchestras of the world. These included the Toronto Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the NDR Hamburg Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1987 he was appointed music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, remaining there until 2000.
In addition, he is particularly devoted to the training of student orchestral musicians, and often conducts conservatory orchestras. These have included the Norwegian National Youth Orchestra, the orchestra of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Toho Gakuen Orchestra in Tokyo, and the Indiana University Philharmonic.
He has made several acclaimed recordings with the Lyon orchestra of French orchestral repertory, including music of Berlioz, Franck, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Debussy, and Duttileux. His also known for his excellent rapport with solo artists in concerts, a reminder of his prior career as a violin soloist which, unfortunately, was ended by an injury in an automobile accident. His 1999 visits to the Los Angeles Philharmonic resulted in his being asked to return on a yearly basis. He ended his tenure as head of the orchestra in Lyons at the end of the 2000-2001 season. He regularly guest conducts around the world, and in 2001 was named music director of the Orchestre des Français Jeunes.