The orchestral and operatic works of French composers, including Henri Saint-Saens and Pierre Boulez, are resurrected through the masterful playing of the Orchestre Nationale De Lille. Under the direction of Jean-Claude Casadesus, the 100-piece ensemble continues to play more than 120 concerts annually and was the first symphony orchestra to tour Africa. While classical music remains at the group's foundation, their interpretations encompass influences of rock, jazz, and popular music.
Casadesus inherited his musical talents from his father, Henri Casadesus, a personal friend of Saint-Saens with whom he organized numerous concerts. A former student of Pierre Dervaux and Pierre Boulez, Casadesus studied percussion, composing and orchestrating at Paris Conservatoire. Although he initially planned to work as a composer of film and theater scores, he veered towards a career as a conductor when he joined with Dervaux to form Orchestre Philharmonique Des Pays De La Loire in 1971. Since assuming leadership of Orchestre Nationale De Lille, Casadesus has maintained an amazing busy schedule. In addition to his work with the orchestra, he's conducted orchestras in Moscow, Prague, London, Dresden, and Leipzig and served as musical director for operas at the Paris Opera House and the Opera Comique.