Nicolas Chalvin, сonductor

General information

Nicolas Chalvin, conductor, «an exceptional sense of orchestral balance», «elegantly precise», and «a refined colourist» – are just some of the glowing terms used to describe the direction of Nicolas Chalvin. A fully-rounded musician, he cherishes and practices the three facets of a conductor’s role: operas, symphonies and chamber orchestras.

From opera to symphony

Nicolas Chalvin began his career at the Lausanne Opera, inspired by Armin Jordan, who encouraged him to trade in the oboe for the baton. He led a wide range of repertoires there – Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, Messager’s Véronique, Offenbach’s Parisian Life, Pascal Dusapin’s Niobé, Philippe Boesmans’ Reigen and Verdi’s The Troubadour, as well as Carmen, Madame Butterfly and The Trojans, among others. « With opera, it’s the conductor who breathes life into the drama, and the conductor who draws together the various elements of the orchestra pit to create perfect harmony», he enthuses. Before long, Chalvin was making frequent forays into the world of symphonies, performing as a guest with the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg as at orchestras in Innsbruck and Geneva. In 2009, he was appointed musical director of the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie, which he soon brought to international prominence.

An eclectic and exacting conductor

A great admirer of the Viennese masters (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms), Chalvin strives to recreate the tone and style of their phrasing and places a particular emphasis on orchestral balance. His preferred repertoire, however, extends much further. He enjoys the subtlety and transparency of French music, as well as its colour and bold harmonies. Yet his devotion to the great works of the classical repertoire has not prevented him from leading his musicians into less charted territory – this has resulted in the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie recording rarer pieces by Reynaldo Hahn and Paul Le Flem. Contemporary music is also an area of particular interest for Chalvin.

Leading the orchestra each step of the way

A firm believer in the chamber orchestra’s rich value and limitless potential as an ensemble, Nicolas Chalvin leads the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie in a range of repertoires, from Baroque to contemporary, in programmes that have been warmly received by the public and critics alike. Not just an artist, a conductor is also a manager. As Chalvin explains, “The conductor’s role is a difficult yet fascinating one, requiring great interpersonal skills and a keen sense of awareness. More than anything, I like to draw the orchestra with me, each step of the way, so that we can bring concerts to life with moments of magic together. » In addition to a full season with the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie, Chalvin also directed Peer Gynt at the Opéra de Limoges in May 2017.

Key dates :

  • 1969 Born in Moselle, France.
  • 1991 Wins first prize for oboe at the Conservatoire de Lyon.
  • 1994-2002 Solo oboist at the Orchestre National de Lyon and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Performs with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2001 Meets conductor Armin Jordan. Directs Mozart’s Lucio Silla in Lausanne.
  • 2002–2017 Directs the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the San Carlo National Theatre Orchestra in Lisbon and several operatic productions, including Madame Butterfly (Puccini), Orpheus and Eurydice (Gluck), Parisian Life (Offenbach), Carmen (Bizet), The Nose (Shostakovitch), The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky), Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky), La Traviata (Verdi) and The Trojans (Berlioz), among others, in the opera houses of Geneva, Lausanne, Zürich and more. 
  • 2009 Appointed musical director of the Orchestre National des Pays de Savoie.
  • 2011–Present Records rare and unreleased works such as Sophie Arnould by Pierné (Timpani), Aucassin et Nicolette by Paul le Flem (Timpani), Un jour au concert avec les bidochons (Fluide Glacial) and more.