Claire Gibault began her career at the Opéra National de Lyon before becoming the first woman to conduct the Filarmonica della Scala and the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic. She was music director of Musica per Roma from 2000 to 2002, and alongside her own flourishing career, she spent a number of years as assistant to Claudio Abbado, collaborating with him at Milan’s La Scala, Vienna’s Staatsoper and London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In 2004 she helped Claudio Abbado found the Orchestra Mozart di Bologna and continued her association with him until 2007.
Over the years Claire Gibault has conducted prestigious institutions such as London’s Royal Opera House, the Edinburgh International Festival, Glyndebourne Festival, Washington Opera, Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Pleyel, Opéra Comique and Philharmonie de Paris, the Opéra de Marseille, and the Théâtre des Célestins in Lyon. She has been invited to conduct orchestras such as the Halle Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale de la RAI, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Orchestre National de Bordeaux, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Marseille, Våsterås Sinfonietta and Osaka Symphony Orchestra.
Music director of a number of institutions (Atelier Lyrique and Children’s Choir of the Opéra National de Lyon, Orchestre de chambre de Chambéry, Musica per Roma), she has conducted many opera productions including Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Cosi fan tutte and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette, Offenbach’s Les Brigands, Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Haydn’s Il Mondo della luna, Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Henze’s Pollicino, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel and Bernstein’s West Side Story.
In 2014 she was invited to conduct the world premiere of Jean-Claude Petit’s opera Colomba at the Opéra de Marseille. That same year she was invited by Milan’s Orchestra Verdi to conduct Mahler’s Symphony No.10 as well as the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Veronica Franco at Milan’s Auditorium Fondazione Cariplo.
In 2015 she returned to Milan to conduct the Orchestra Verdi in the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Sull’acqua during Milan’s Universal Exhibition.
In January 2018 Claire Gibault conducted the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (Mexico) in works by Chopin and Berlioz, and returned to Mexico City that same year as jury member for OFUNAM’s international conducting competition.
paris mozart orchestra
In 2011, inspired by her experience with Claudio Abbado, Claire Gibault formed the Paris Mozart Orchestra, giving some thirty performances with her musicians each season (Théâtre du Châtelet, Philharmonie de Paris, Auditorium national de Lyon, Amsterdam Concertgebouw…). A passionate advocate of contemporary music, she regularly collaborates with leading composers such as Graciane Finzi, Wolfgang Rihm, Silvia Colasanti, Fabio Vacchi, Edith Canat de Chizy, Philippe Hersant or Alexandra Grimal.
Increasingly in demand for conducting masterclasses, Claire has recently worked with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden’s National Opera Studio & Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. Her own series of conducting masterclasses has been running in Paris for the last five years.
Together with the Philharmonie de Paris, Claire founded and co-directs La Maestra International Competition and Academy for Women Conductors, which had its two first editions in 2020 and 2022.
In March 2022, Claire Gibault’s autobiography La Musique à mains nues (“Music barehanded”), which was originally published in 2010 by Éditions L’Iconoclaste, was republished in a new Italian translation under the title Direcctrice d’Orchestra: La mia musica, la mia vita by Add Editore, with the addition of 2 unreleased chapters.
In 2023, Claire Gibault was among the 40 Forbes France women of the year and won the 1st Category Prize at the Chaumet Echo Culture Awards, which rewards committed projects led by women. She was made an Officer of the Legion of Honour by the French governement and was awarded the title of Commander of the Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.
Photos © Jean-Baptiste Millot
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