Famous Conductors from France

List of notable or famous conductors from France, with bios and photos, including the top conductors born in France and even some popular conductors who immigrated to France. If you're trying to find out the names of famous French conductors then this list is the perfect resource for you. These conductors are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known conductor from France is included when available.

List features people like Reynaldo Hahn and Maurice Jarre.

This historic conductors from France list can help answer the questions "Who are some French conductors of note?" and "Who are the most famous conductors from France?" These prominent conductors of France may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected French conductors.

Use this list of renowned French conductors to discover some new conductors that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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    • Birthplace: Paris, France
    Alexandre Michel Gérard Desplat (French: [a.lɛk.sɑ̃dʁ dɛ.pla]; born 23 August 1961) is a French film composer, of Greek descent. He has won two Academy Awards, for his musical scores to the films The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shape of Water, and received eight additional Academy Award nominations, eight César nominations (winning three), nine BAFTA nominations (winning three), ten Golden Globe Award nominations (winning two), and six Grammy nominations (winning two). Desplat has worked on a variety of films, including independent and commercial successes by United States, British and European producers, such as The Queen, The Golden Compass, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 & Part 2, The King's Speech, The Danish Girl, Moonrise Kingdom, Argo, Rise of the Guardians, Zero Dark Thirty, Godzilla, The Imitation Game, Unbroken, The Secret Life of Pets, and Isle of Dogs.
  • Alexandre Luigini
    Dec. at 56 (1850-1906)
    • Birthplace: Lyon, France
    Alexandre Clément Léon Joseph Luigini (9 March 1850 – 29 July 1906) was a French composer and conductor, especially active in the opera house. As a composer, he is now remembered almost solely for his Ballet égyptien.
  • Alfred Cortot
    Dec. at 84 (1877-1962)
    • Birthplace: Switzerland, Nyon
    Alfred Denis Cortot (26 September 1877 – 15 June 1962) was a Franco-Swiss pianist, conductor, and teacher who was one of the most renowned classical musicians of the 20th century. He was especially valued for his poetic insight into Romantic piano works, particularly those of Chopin, Saint-Saëns and Schumann.
  • André Campra
    Dec. at 83 (1660-1744)
    • Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
    André Campra (French: [kɑ̃pʁa]; baptized 4 December 1660 – 29 June 1744) was a French composer and conductor. Campra was one of the leading French opera composers in the period between Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau. He wrote several tragédies en musique and opéra-ballets that were extremely well received. He also wrote three books of cantatas as well as religious music, including a requiem.
  • André Cluytens
    Dec. at 62 (1905-1967)
    • Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium
    André Cluytens (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃ːdʁe klɥitɑ̃s], Dutch pronunciation: [ɑn'dreː 'klœ.ytəns]; born Augustin Zulma Alphonse Cluytens; 26 March 1905 – 3 June 1967) was a Belgian-born French conductor who was active in the concert hall, opera house and recording studio. His repertoire extended from Viennese classics through French composers to 20th century works. Although much of his career was spent in France, he was the first French conductor at Bayreuth in 1955; he also conducted the Ring and Parsifal at La Scala.
  • André Messager
    Dec. at 75 (1853-1929)
    • Birthplace: Montluçon, France
    André Charles Prosper Messager (French: [mɛsaʒe]; 30 December 1853 – 24 February 1929) was a French composer, organist, pianist and conductor. His compositions include eight ballets and thirty opéras comiques, opérettes and other stage works, among which his ballet Les Deux Pigeons (1886) and opéra comique Véronique (1898) have had lasting success; Les P'tites Michu (1897) and Monsieur Beaucaire (1919) were also popular internationally. Messager took up the piano as a small child and later studied composition with, among others, Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré. He became a major figure in the musical life of Paris and later London, both as a conductor and a composer. Many of his Parisian works were also produced in the West End and some on Broadway; the most successful had long runs and numerous international revivals. He wrote two operatic works in English, and his later output included musical comedies for Sacha Guitry and Yvonne Printemps. As a conductor, Messager held prominent positions in Paris and London, at the head of the Opéra-Comique, the Paris Opéra, the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Although as a composer he is known chiefly for his light works, as a conductor he presented a wide range of operas, from Mozart to Richard Strauss, and he acquired a reputation as a conductor of Wagner. In Paris he conducted the world premieres of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Massenet's Grisélidis and Charpentier's Louise. At Covent Garden, he gave the British premieres of operas by Saint-Saëns and Massenet. Messager's music became known for its melodic and orchestral invention, musical craftsmanship, and characteristically French elegance and grace. Although most of his works have been infrequently revived, historians of music consider him the last major figure in French opéra comique and opérette.