Le Banquet Céleste has caught the attention of the public and the press through the originality of its approach. Damien Guillon brings together musicians to stage a variety of programmes, the size of production varying according to the musical offering. As a Conductor and Head of an ensemble that he sometimes also joins as a singer or harpsichordist, Damien Guillon fuels the shared passion and collective momentum of the ensemble. This singular approach is the hallmark of Le Banquet Céleste.
“I like the idea of making music together, being there to unite artists around a common project. I try to guide the musicians, to support them, so that they give the best of themselves, and I draw on my own experience to do this.”
The musical programmes devised by Damien Guillon span the Renaissance and Baroque periods within Europe, from the most famous composers – such as J.S. Bach, J. Dowland, G.F. Handel, G.B. Pergolesi, H. Purcell and A. Vivaldi – to those composers whose music is yet to be fully discovered, such as G. Frescobaldi, A. Caldara, A. Stradella, P.H. Erlebach and J.H. Karpsberger. The audio releases of Le Banquet Céleste’s recordings have not only been acclaimed in the press, they also set a new standard when it comes to the musical interpretation they offer.
Damien Guillon has been working to forge special links within his native region of Brittany, where he is associated with leading institutions. Since 2016, Le Banquet Céleste has flourished in its residency at the Opéra de Rennes, known for its vibrant energy and its ability to experiment with forms and repertoires. In 2021, Le Banquet Céleste once again took the stage at the Opéra de Rennes with Handel’s Rinaldo, a production directed by Claire Dancoisne.
Le Banquet Céleste is also highly sought-after within France and Europe, performing at a host of festivals such as the Festival de Saintes, Festival de La Chaise Dieu, Klangvokal Festival in Dortmund, Musiq’3 in Brussels, and the Oudemuziek Festival in Utrecht. The ensemble has also been invited to take part in a range of prestigious musical seasons in France, at the Royal Chapel in the Palace of Versailles, the Angers Nantes Opéra, the Théâtre de Caen, the Théâtre Auditorium in Poitiers (T.A.P), La Seine Musicale; and internationally at the Concertgebouw in Bruges, the De Singel International Arts Centre in Antwerp, and the De Bijloke Music Centre in Ghent – to name but a few.
Since its inception, part of Le Banquet Céleste’s musical exploration has been focused on the music of J.S. Bach; including a cycle of Cantatas which has been the subject of several programmes and recordings such as “Trinitatis”, due to be released in Spring 2023 by Alpha Classics. In 2019, the ensemble celebrated its 10th anniversary with a series of concerts featuring the St. John Passion, before turning to the Easter and Ascension Oratorios. In 2024, Damien Guillon will celebrate 15 years of Le Banquet Céleste with the St. Matthew Passion.
Le Banquet Céleste, an ensemble in residence at the Opéra de Rennes, is supported by the Ministry of Culture (Brittany Regional Cultural Affairs Board / DRAC Bretagne), the Brittany Regional Council, the Departmental Council of Ille and Vilaine, and the City of Rennes. Le Banquet Céleste’s projects are supported by the National Music Centre, Spectacle Vivant en Bretagne, SPEDIDAM, ADAMI and SACEM.
Le Banquet Céleste is a member of the Arviva association – Arts Vivants, Art Durables, member of the F.E.V.I.S and an administrator of Profedim.