Jean-Claude Malgoire has been one of the more important French conductors of the latter twentieth and early twenty first centuries. He has focused heavily on Baroque music, though his repertory also includes operas by Mozart and Salieri. As music director of the La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy and l'Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing, he has given many highly acclaimed concerts and opera productions, and made numerous recordings with major labels.
Malgoire was born in Avignon, France, on November 25, 1940. He exhibited talent as a child and after studying music locally he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he studied oboe and received first prizes there for his solo playing and in chamber music. He launched his career as an oboist playing for symphony orchestras such as the Orchestre de la RATP, the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, and with the Orchestre de Paris. He often played jazz in night clubs in his early career with Michel Portal, Bernard Lubat, and other notable instrumentalists.
In 1966, while continuing his career as an oboist, he founded La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, a period-instrument ensemble devoted largely to Baroque music. He eventually abandoned playing oboe in orchestras (his last post was with the Orchestre de Paris), explaining he was not ultimately suited to the role.
Malgoire founded a second ensemble, this one the aforementioned Atelier de Tourcoing, largely devoted to the performance of Baroque and other early operas. Tours abroad in the 1970s quickly established the high artistic values of Malgoire and his ensemble, notably in two Rameau productions, the 1974 Les Indes galantes at the English Bach Festival and the 1978 Hippolyte et Aricie at Covent Garden. Later triumphs included the 1986 Aix-en-Provence festival production of Campra's Tancrède.
Malgoire has often been credited with unearthing previously lost
manuscripts from the Baroque era. When he discovered two arias from Act I of Vivaldi's Catone in Utica, he helped create a new version of the work for the acclaimed November 2001 live performance in Tourcoing.
Malgoire has continued his activities in the new century with numerous presentations of rare and familiar operas: in April 2002, he conducted l'Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing in performances of Salieri's Falstaff at the Municipal Theater in Tourcoing and also led a production there by the same forces of Handel's Rinaldo in October 2005.