After more than forty years at the head of the Orchestre National de Lille that he created in 1976, Jean-Claude Casadesus, who remains the founding director, continues to lead him regularly while pursuing his international career. The orchestra, under his direction, has travelled the world (32 countries on 4 continents – USA, Latin America, Africa, Russia, China and Kazakhstan) and has led an exemplary policy of spreading and raising awareness of children and audiences who do not have access to music.
He is also artistic director of the ‘Lille Piano (s) Festival’.
His discographies of more than thirty CDs with Orchestre National de Lille was unanimously hailed by the public and critics. His latest recordings “A Hero’s life” by Richard Strauss and Mahler’s second symphony received an enthusiastic welcome. They are followed by Mahler’s « Song of the Earth » and a CD dedicated to Henri Dutilleux, including ‘Les Métaboles’ and the Symphony n°1.
Ardent defender of contemporary music, having studied orchestral conducting with Pierre Boulez, he initiated residencies for composers and since 2001 has been chairing the famous association ‘Musique Nouvelle en Liberté’.
Before participating, alongside his great master Pierre Dervaux, in the creation of ‘Orchestre des Pays de la Loire’, which he was assistant director, he was engaged at the beginning of his career as musical director of the ‘Châtelet’ in Paris before being appointed principal conductor at the ‘Opéra de Paris’ and the ‘Opéra-Comique’. His taste for opera led him to direct major lyrical productions at the ‘Festival d’Aix-en-Provence’, in Orange, Paris, Trieste, Monte Carlo, the ‘Opera Flandres’ and, of course, the ‘Opera de Lille’ (with a very memorable CARMEN staged by J.F. Sivadier) …
As a guest conductor, he conducts the Orchestre National de France and the Orchestre National de Bordeaux as well as the philharmonic orchestras of Marseille and Monte-Carlo. Internationally he performs on the major international stages of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Riga, Singapore, Montreal, Baltimore, Seoul, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, Philadelphia, or Berlin.
Very concerned to pass on to future generations, he led for three years the ‘Orchestre Français des Jeunes’ (French Youth Orchestra) and is regularly invested with the ‘Orchestre des Jeunes du CNSM’ of Paris for very popular concerts at the Philharmonie. In 2016, he is called to the presidency of the ‘Ecole Supérieure Musique et Danse des Hauts de France’ (School of music and dance of the Hauts de France).
Also author, he has written two books, “Le plus court chemin d’un cœur à un autre” (the shorter path from one heart to another) published by Stock editions in 1997 and “La partition d’une vie” (the score of a life) published in 2012 by ‘Éditions Écriture’.
Jean-Claude Casadesus has received numerous awards: ‘Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur’, ‘Grand Officier de l’Ordre national du Mérite’, ‘Commandeur des Arts et Lettres’, ‘Commandeur de l’Ordre d’Orange-Nassau’, ‘Officier de l’Ordre de Léopold de Belgique’, ‘Chevalier des Palmes académiques’. In 2004, the ‘Victoires de la Musique’ awarded him a ‘Victoire d’honneur’.