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William Christie - Honorary Doctor proposed by the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts

The Leiden University Academy of Creative and Performing Arts will be proudly awarding an Honorary Doctorate within the upcoming 440th Dies Natalis.

The Leiden University Academy of Creative and Performing Arts is honoured to have been allowed by the Raad van Decanen to be one of the Leiden University Institutes who will be proudly awarding an Honorary Doctorate within the upcoming 440 th DIES NATALIS, next Monday 9 February at 14.30 p.m. Honorary Supervisor is Frans de Ruiter, director of the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.

Leiden University will confer this title upon William Christie, renowned harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist and teacher, and the foremost pioneer in the renewed appreciation of Baroque music in France, notably from the 17 th and 18 th century. His work, particularly on the theatrical repertoire of Lully, Rameau, Charpentier, Marais and Campra, has introduced this music to previously unimagined audiences, in regularly sold-out venues.

Born in Buffalo (New York State), William Christie studied at Harvard and Yale Universities. He is a true "American in Paris”, where he has lived now for over forty years. In 1979 he founded the now world-famous ensemble Les Arts Florissants, which comprises soloists, choir and orchestra, and has given hundreds of concerts and done more than seventy CD productions.

Major public recognition came in 1987 with the production of Atys by Lully at the Opéra Comique in Paris, which then went on to tour internationally with much success. He went on to become a master of tragédie-lyrique as well as opéra-ballet.

As a passionate interpreter of French Baroque music he integrates the treasures of painting, language, poetry, rhetoric and garden architecture from this period into his performances.

His affection for French music does not prevent him from exploring other European repertoire, giving many acclaimed performances of masterpieces by Monteverdi, Händel, Haydn, Gluck and Mozart. Christie now conducts the major orchestras of the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic.

He spends a lot of time transferring his knowledge to the young talent. Since 2002 he leads an "académie" for young singers, Le Jardin des Voix, and in the eighties and nineties he was the auctor intellectualis and conductor of great music theater productions of works by Lully and Charpentier by the CNSMD's of Paris and Lyon, the Guildhall School in London and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He also teaches at the Juilliard School in New York.

William Christie is Officier dans l'Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur.


Dies Natalis

The celebration of the 440  th Dies Natalis will take place in the Pieterskerk, Pieterskerkhof 1a in Leiden. The Dies lecture, entitled ‘The future of the vulnerable child’, will be given by Hanna Swaab, Professor of Neuropedagogical Assessment and Developmental Disorders and Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Honorary Doctorates will be awarded to Professor Peter Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of International Studies at Cornell University Ithaca; Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kan You, state councillor within the Netherlands Council of State and William Christie, artistic director of Les Arts Florissants and Le Jardin des Voix.

Other elements of the programme are the presentation of the 2015 Leiden Teaching Prize by Femke Vermeer, Chair of the Leiden University Student Platform and a presentation of award-winning thesis research. Prof.mr. Carel J.J.M. Stolker, Rector Magnificus and Chair of the Executive Board, will give a concluding speech.

The ceremony will be through-composed in a rhapsodic succession of timeless phenomena, inspired by the glissando and performed by the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts and De Veenfabriek.

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