Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble was created by Marc Minkowski, its conductor, and since that time the group has been ranked among the leading interpreters of Baroque music in Europe. The repertoire of les Musiciens du Louvre clearly reflects Minkowski's tastes: he has championed music by Marais, Mouret, Charpentier, Lully, and Rameau, and is determined to revive interest in Handel's lesser-known operas. Playing period instruments and informed by extensive research, les Musiciens du Louvre is one of a number of ensembles attempting to re-create Baroque-era music as they believe it was heard by the composers' contemporaries. Occasionally, the group performs works from other periods.
In 1984, Minkowski won First Prize at the first International Early Music Competition in Bruges. Encouraged by this success, he founded that same year the period-instrument ensemble les Musiciens du Louvre. Recognition came quickly and soon they were asked participate in high-profile events. In 1992, they inaugurated the Baroque Festival in Versailles with a revival of Gluck's Armide, and in 1993 they participated in the official reopening of the Lyon Opera, performing Phaëton by Lully.
Their wide discography with Erato/Warner includes works such as Teseo by Handel, Les Amour de Ragonde by Mouret, the symphonie nouvelle, Les Éléments by Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747), Handel's Concerti Grossi, Op. 3, and Phaëton by Lully. In 1993, they were awarded the coveted Gramophone Award, "Best Baroque Vocal Recording," for their rendering of Alessandro Stradella's San Giovanni Battista. In 1995, they performed Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the Toronto Opera, the Houston Opera, the BBC Proms, and the Opéra Royal in Versailles.
In 1990, the French Académie du Disque Lyrique awarded Marc Minkowski the Orphée d'or for "Best Young Conductor." Minkowski still finds time to work with other ensembles, including the Welsh National Orchestra, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, the Monte Carlo Opera, and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin.
Since 1994, les Musiciens du Louvre have recorded exclusively for Archiv Produktion — Deutsche Grammophon; their first release on that label was Hippolyte et Aricie, Rameau's first lyric tragedy. They also recorded Handel's very early Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo, of 1708, Anacréon by Rameau and Acis et Galatée by Lully.
Les Musiciens du Louvre established their permanent residence in Grenoble in 1996, joining forces with the Orchestre de Chambre de Grenoble. During the following seasons, they performed and recorded Gluck's Armide, Handel's Ariodante, Charpentier's Te Deum, Rameau's Dardanus, and Handel's "Roman" motets. The original soundtrack of Le Messie, a film by William Klein, was released in 2000.
In 1998/1999, they recorded Iphigénie en Tauride by Gluck, performed Rameau's difficult Platée at the Opéra National de Paris and at the Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele. They also presented their interpretation of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival international d'Aix-en-Provence. The ensemble's tour that year took them to Ambronay, Lyon, Poissy, Caen, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Halle, Madrid, and Santiago di Compostela. In 1999/2000, they toured throughout Europe with Magdalena Kozená performing Handel's "Italian" cantatas and Hercules, with Anne Sofie von Otter, as well as J.S. Bach's Orchestra Suites. They also presented a revival of L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival international d'Aix-en-Provence and the Wiener Festwochen.
The 2000/2001 season features productions of Offenbach's La belle Hélène at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Handel's Ariodante at the Opéra National de Paris with Anne-Sofie von Otter, as well as a revival of Platée in Geneva, Montpellier, Metz, Grenoble, and Bordeaux. Since 2005, the ensemble has ventured into later repertoire, performing works by Berlioz, Bizet, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky.