Death of Michel Corboz, passionate conductor

Choir director and conductor, ambassador of vocal music and remarkable teacher, the Swiss musician, born February 14, 1934 into a family of singers, will have left his mark on generations of performers and music lovers. Evidenced by his very rich discography, regularly hailed by the critics as if the years had not taken on the “Corboz style”, which honors Mozart and Verdi, Brahms and Gounod but also his compatriots Arthur Honegger and Frank Martin.

Trained at the conservatory of Friborg (Switzerland), in singing and composition class – with a predilection for writing vocal pieces – the young artist founded, at the age of 27, the Ensemble vocal de Lausanne. With the choir of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, of which he became conductor in 1969, the Lausanne group will be “his” family. In these pioneering times in the rediscovery of the baroque repertoire, Michel Corboz then returned their freshness and momentum to Italian (Monteverdi) or Germanic (Bach) pages.

Engaged artistically and humanly in the works he puts in his repertoire, he finds the right balance between limpidity and fervor, emotion and clarity of lines, light and depth. Thanks to the mixture of charisma, integrity and joy that has characterized him since his youth when he listened to Bach’s cantatas on the radio “As if it were a soap opera”… Narrative qualities that he will remember once he becomes a chef. “Passion is the essential condition for the success of a concert. It is this fluid which circulates from the creator to the performer to then win the spectator ”, declared to The cross, in 2015, this regular guest of the Folle Journée de Nantes where he gave memorable concerts. His commitment came at the cost of great demands on himself and his musicians, whom he knew how to temper with humor and seductive charm.

Last June, he gave a final farewell mass at the Saint-Pierre cathedral in Geneva: “An unexpected appearance. He had long been known to be entrenched in his retirement. At 87, he returned to management for an evening… ”, then testified the critic Rocco Zacheo.

Having rubbed shoulders with the great composers, explored masses and requiems, had given Michel Corboz a wisdom that he expressed, fifteen years ago on Radio Télévision Suisse Romande: “I have been very lucky to live as I have been able to live. So it also helps me with the idea of ​​dying, of having been able to experience all of this. There is a moment when you have to go to the other side. I would like this passage to be done as calmly as possible. “


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