|Country Of origin:||France|
Dominique Vellard is an important figure in France's historically informed early music scene, with a career stretching back to the late 1970s when such music was fairly rare. The founder and director of the Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Vellard also has been active as a singer, lutenist, arranger, composer, and musicologist.
Vellard was born in France in 1953. His early training came in Versailles, first as a chorister at the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame, and then as a student at the Versailles Conservatory. As his interest in early music developed, he founded the Ensemble Gilles Binchois (not to be confused with Britain's Binchois Consort), naming it after the Burgundian composer who died in 1460. The group has had a core membership of about ten and often sings a cappella, although it has added singers and instrumentalists as appropriate; in the latter category has fallen Vellard's own lute. In performance, the group has focused not only on its namesake composer, but also on other French works of the late medieval and early Renaissance eras, including Guillaume de Machaut, Guillaume Dufay, and lesser-known composers, such as Jehannot de l'Escurel. The group has toured the UK as well as Germany and countries in Eastern Europe in addition to France. It has, especially in the 21st century, performed Vellard's own compositions, which incorporate Indian influences as well as those from European medieval music. He has written a mass and various smaller vocal works, some of which were collected on the 2007 album Vox nostra resonet, on the Glossa label. Vellard and the Ensemble Gilles Binchois are notable for the depth of their recording catalog, which began in 1982 with an album of chant and has proceeded through stints with the Virgin, Cantus, Glossa, and Evidence labels. For the latter, in 2019, Vellard led the group in the album Messes de Barcelone et d'Apt, exploring medieval music from those Spanish and Provençal cities. ~ James Manheim~ Rovi