Philippe Jaroussky is arguably the most prominent French countertenor to have emerged from the turn of the twenty first century era. He has mainly focused on early music, showing a preference particularly for the works of Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel, and many lesser-known seventeenth and eighteenth century composers. He has appeared and recorded extensively with his own instrumental ensemble, Artaserse, as well as with the leading conductors associated with early and Baroque music, including Jean-Claude Malgoire, Rene Jacobs, and Jean Tubéry.
Jaroussky was born in Maisons Lafitte (northwest of Paris), France, on January 13, 1978. He first studied violin, and later piano. He enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, where he graduated with a diploma in violin performance from the Ancient Music department there. In 1996 he began vocal studies with soprano Nicole Fallien and three years later debuted at the music festivals in Royaumont and Ambronay, where he sang in the Alessandro Scarlatti oratorio Sedecia, rè di Gerusalemme. A critically acclaimed recording derived from these performances was released shortly afterward on Virgin Classics.
The following year, Jaroussky appeared in the Monteverdi operatic trilogy Orfeo, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse, and Incoronazione di Poppea under conductor Jean-Claude Malgoire. In 2001 Jaroussky's schedule swelled with major appearances all over France and abroad: he sang Arbace in Vivaldi's opera Catone in Utica and also appeared in performances of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. A widely praised two-CD album of the Catone production was issued in 2002 on the Dynamic Italy label.
Jaroussky's meteoric rise continued with his critically praised portrayal of Nero in Handel's Agrippina at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris in 2003. This production was also captured on record by Dynamic Italy, the release coming the following year, and again drawing generally positive notices.
In the early years of the new century, Jaroussky created his own instrumental ensemble, Artaserse, which consists of five players performing on early instruments. He has made several recordings with the group, including the 2005 CD entitled Vivaldi — Virtuoso Cantatas, on the Virgin Classics label, and the 2006 issue of Bassani's Beata Virgine, also on Virgin Classics.
Jaroussky's busy performance schedule in 2006 included appearances throughout Europe and England, including highly successful concerts at Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral and at London's South Bank Early Music Weekend, both with his ensemble Artaserse. Jaroussky has also continued making numerous operatic and solo/orchestral concert appearances at major venues throughout Europe. He frequently collaborates in performances and recordings with Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata and with Jean-Christophe Spinosi and Ensemble Matheus.
Jaroussky appeared in the title role in the DVD of Stefano Landi's Il Sant'Alessio, and has recorded Handel's Faramondo and numerous operas by Vivaldi, including Griselda, Orlando Furioso, La fida ninfa, and Ercole.