Martin Gester, conductor, organ, harpsichord
Martin Gester is a French conductor, organist and harpsichordist. His earliest musical experience was in choral singing. He went on to learn the harpsichord and the organ, and completed courses of study in both literature and music at Strasbourg University and at the Conservatory of the same city.
He now divides his time between musicological research, performance on harpsichord and organ, conducting vocal and instrumental ensembles, and teaching. His special interest is the repertory of the 17th and 18th centuries.
In 1990, Martin Gester founded Le Parlement de Musique in order to put his research into practice, and this flexible vocal and instrumental ensemble soon achieved an international reputation. In addition to his heavy schedule of recreating early music with Le Parlement de Musique, he continues to appear as a solo instrumentalist, and with increasing frequency as a guest conductor, notably with the New York Collegium (performances of French music in New York and Boston), the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging, Collegium Vocale Gent, La Chapelle Royale (Paris), Musica Aeterna Bratislava, and the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie. He is also a regular guest with the Polish Baroque orchestra Arte dei Suonatori (Wroclaw), with whom he has performed concertos & oratorios from Muffat to W.A. Mozart, and made radio and CD recordings (for the BIS label: George Frideric Handel: 12 Concerti grossi Op. 6). Martin Gester has appeared as soloist and conductor throughout Europe, as well as on the American and Asian continents. As a soloist or with Le Parlement de Musique, he has made some thirty-five recordings, mainly for the labels Opus 111, Accord, Assai and Tempéraments-Radio France. These are often re-creations of little-known repertory or innovative readings of well-known works, and most of them have won awards in the musical press.
Martin Gester teaches the Baroque repertory to singers and instrumentalists at the Strasbourg Conservatory, and is regularly invited to give masterclasses in France and abroad (Studio Baroque de Versailles, Jeunes Voix du Rhin, Stanford University, Academia Mexicana de Musica Antigua etc.). In 2001, Martin Gester was appointed Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.