Michel Laplénie trained as a violinist and German teacher before he embarked on a singing career. After a two year-stay in Vienna where he studied the works of R. Strauss, he met William Christie and became a founding member of Les Arts Florissants and the Clément Janequin Ensemble. He was involved in many recreations of Baroque works, and in 1986 founded his own vocal ensemble, Sagittarius, taking the Latinized name of the great 17th-century German master, Heinrich Schütz, of whose music he became one of the pre-eminent performers.
As the conductor of Sagittarius, Michel Laplénie has explored the wealth of the European Baroque repertoire, and has won wide acclaim. Many recordings have been released, most of them of rediscovered works. They have been regularly praised by international critics for their original and daring artistic choices, as well as the quality of the performances.
Michel Laplénie has conducted Sagittarius at most major French festivals, and also in Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine and Syria, bringing unknown masterpieces to discerning audiences.
Finally, Michel Laplénie gives master-classes at some of the most prestigious musical institutions and directs the Academy of the Périgord Noir. He taught for many years in the Early Music Department of the Conservatoire National de Région de Paris. He also directs the Ensemble de l'Abbaye aux Dames (EVAD) in Saintes.