Born in Provence, Guillaume Tourniaire studied piano and conducting at Geneva’s Conservatoire of Music. Fascinated by singing, he became Artistic Director of the vocal ensemble, Le Motet de Genève. He then was appointed Chorus Master at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, where in 1998 he conducted his first opera production, Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery. In that same year, he debuted at the Paris National Opera, conducting Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with choreography by Pina Bausch. In 2001, he became Chorus Master at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and in 2006, was appointed Musical Director of Prague’s State Opera. In 2007, Guillaume Tourniaire conducted The Pearl Fishers on Teatro La Fenice’s tour to Japan. In 2011, he began a highly active partnership with Sydney Opera House. In 2015 and 2016, in Melbourne, he received the “Green Room Award” in the “Best Conductor” category.
His fondness for unearthing works has led him to conduct numerous premieres and revive pieces neglected by the standard repertoire. For example, he recreated the complete musical score for Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible working with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, recorded a world premiere of Arthur Honegger’s Song of Songs and premiered Xavier Dayer’s Les Aveugles with the Atelier Lyrique of the Paris National Opera. He conducted the premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Heaven Is Closed with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Matteo d’Amico’s Le Malentendu, Marco Tutino’s Le Bel Indifférent and Flavio Testi’s Saül at the Macerata Opera Festival in the Sferisterio Arena; Hélène and Nuit Persane by Saint-Saëns with Melbourne’s Orchestra Victoria; Louis Vierne’s unpublished Symphonic Poems with Brisbane’s Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and so on.
Other career highlights include Massenet’s Werther (La Fenice), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Opéra de Montréal), Gounod’s Faust (Melbourne Opera), Bizet’s Pêcheurs de perles (Opéra de Lille). For the Sydney Opera House, he has led Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro and Bizet’s Carmen.
His extensive discography has received unanimous acclaim from the international press.
Accordingly, his world premiere of the complete incidental music to Grieg’s Peer Gynt with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande received the 2005 “Diapason d’Or” Award, the “Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros”, a “Choc” from Le Monde de la Musique, “Five Stars” from the Guardian and “CD of the Month” from the Daily Telegraph.
Amongst the recordings he has made with the Australian label, Melba Recordings, the CD dedicated to Symphonic Poems with the voice of Louis Vierne – another world premiere – has been awarded a “Diamant d’Opéra Magazine”, as well as “Editor’s Choice” from Gramophone and BBC Classics.
With the B-Records label, in November 2017, at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Guillaume Tourniaire inaugurated a new “Geneva Live” collection with the premiere performance of the complete, original version of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Ascanio, an opera in five acts and seven tableaux for which he received the most prestigious Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
Some of the musical institutions which have invited him include the Orchestre National de France, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rossini Opera Festival Orchestra in Pesaro, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, Orchestre National de Lyon, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, St. Petersburg State Hermitage Orchestra, Brisbane’s Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recent and upcoming projects include Halévy’s L’Éclair at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Le Songe d’une nuit d’été by Ambroise Thomas at the Wexford Festival Opera, Così fan tutte at Opéra de Dijon, the new Laurent Pelly staging of Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Opéra de Lille and Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas at Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège.