A conductor counts the changes after cancer

A conductor counts the changes after cancer


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2016

Bernard Labadie returns next month to the ensemble he founded, Les Violons du Roy, after an absence of nearly two years. In the interim, he has hovered between life and death.

In a startlingly frank conversation with Arthur Kapitainis, Bernard, 52, talks about conversations with death, life after coma and the fallacies of cancer terminology. ‘When you say you fight a cancer and you win the battle and you’re a winner, does that make the ones who lose the battle losers? I don’t think so.’

Labadie no longer uses a baton. ‘There you can see it,’ he said, holding his right hand out in front of him. ‘The anti-rejection medication that I take makes me shake all the time.’

Read the full article here.

bernard labadie


  • Jonathan Grieves-Smith says:

    A truly wonderful man and musician

    • Maren Rawlings says:

      Dear Jonathan Grieves-Smith,

      Your name was put forward by one of our members as a person who may be interested in the conductor position at the Star Chorale, a community choir based at Methodist Ladies’ College Melbourne. The position description may be found at

      Yours sincerely,
      Maren Rawlings, President

  • JanHus says:

    heard him conduct mozart’s jupiter in Boston. one of the absolutely unforgettable highlights of the season, totally outshining Christophers. was hoping that he could one day take over H&H. not any more.

  • Marg says:

    some people are truly courageous.

  • kgreat says:

    So sorry to hear this about Labadie. I heard Violons du Roy at carnegie a few years ago in the Johannes Passion and it was very impressive in its approach to performance practice, and straightforwardly communicative. I wish him well.

  • Michael Smith says:

    A wonderful musician – I’m really looking forward to hearing him with the AAM at Milton Court in March.