Born in Marsens, in the canton of Fribourg, Michel Corboz owes a tremendous deal to his uncle André Corboz, who instructed him in singing, piano, harmony, improvisation and accompaniment. He received formal training at the Ecole Normale of Fribourg, then under Juliette Bise at the Conservatory. He completed his training as a conductor with Hans Haug in Lausanne and Paul Van Kempen in Sienna.
In 1961 he founded the Lausanne Vocal Ensemble (EVL). His recordings of Vespro and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in 1965 and 1966 were hailed by critics and received many distinctions, marking the beginning of his international career. Since 1969 he has been the principal conductor of the Gulbenkian Choir in Lisbon and has explored the symphonic repertoire with them. These two groups are intimately linked to his career: most of his recordings (over a hundred) were performed with them and crowned with success countless times.
He passed the EVL’s artistic direction onto Guillaume Tourniaire in January 2012.
Michel Corboz’ recordings include Bach’s Passions and Mass in B, Mozart’s Mass in C major and Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elias and Paulus, Puccini’s Mass, Requiems by Brahms, Verdi, Fauré and Duruflé, and Schubert’s Mass in E flat major, as well as works by Frank Martin and Arthur Honegger.
He taught choral direction at the Conservatory of Geneva from 1976 to 2004.
Michel Corboz was given the Critics’ Award in Argentina (1995 and 1996) and the honorary title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Republic. He was also distinguished by the Order of the Infant Don Henrique by the President of the Portuguese Republic in 1999. Lausanne awarded him with the City Award in 2003 and the Leenards Award in 2008.
Several books document his career, including a series of interviews with Antoine Bosshard published in 2001 by the Bibliothèque des Arts and Au nom de la voix, Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne 1961-2011 by Editions Favre in 2011.