Swiss conductor dies, at 87

Swiss conductor dies, at 87


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2021

The distinguished conductor Michel Corboz, a major figure in vocal music, has died.

At the age of 27 he founded the Ensemble vocal de Lausanne, followed by the Ensemble instrumental de Lausanne. A friendship with the artistic director of the Erato label led to copious recordings and an international reputation.


  • Joel Lazar says:

    I have vivid memories of his recordings of Monteverdi released in the US during the late 1960s. Powerful stuff.

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    An important musical figure and an inspiring man to work with. Rest in peace.

  • Pedro says:

    Michel Corboz was an extraordinary choral conductor. I have travelled many times to Lisbon to hear his enthusiastic readings of the Bach Passions, b-minor Mass and Magnificat, Mozart’s c-minor Mass and Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe, Mendelssohn’s Psalms or Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem, and so on. He was the music director of the Gulbenkian Chorus for more than fifty years and they made together more than thirty recordings. Under his directorship, this chorus was certainly the best I have heard in Europe and the Americas and I have heard them all, from London to Milan, from Berlin to Stockholm, and from Vienna to Amsterdam. His death was a real shock for me and a personal loss.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    In the series “My first exposure to…”:

    My first exposure to Michel Corboz occurred circa 1973, and what a triple whammy it was.
    The billboard simply announced, in fat capitals:

    The small print showed that Corboz and his ensembles were not afraid of anything: Magnificats by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Bach, en suite.
    Later that week, an interview on Radio Suisse Romande revealed the conductor’s motivation, which was more or less: Why not? Quite like the first alpinists climbing the Everest, these vertiginous works had to be attempted simply because they were there.

    That first encounter gave a measure of the man, and he ever lived up to it.

  • Alexander Platt says:

    I cannot overestimate what his recordings meant to me growing up, especially of the 19th-century repertoire. A great iconoclastic spirit.

  • Allardyce Mallon says:

    My choral conducting teacher. A great musician and highly inspirational

  • Sean says:

    A wonderful conductor, his Monteverdi Vespers remains one of my favourite recordings, along with so many others. R.I.P.