The Belgian oboist and conductor, Marcel Ponseele, studied modern oboe and chamber music at the conservatories of Bruges, Brussels and Gent in Belgium. After his graduation, he began to study the Baroque oboe. In 1981 he won a prize at the "Musica Antiqua" competition in Bruges.
At the same time he played regularly with several Baroque orchestra's, such as La Petite Bande, The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, La Chapelle Royale. Even more so, he is a founding member of the Orchestra des Champs-Elysées under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe. He regularly played under the major early music conductors, including Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Sigiswald Kuijken, Marc Minkowski, John Eliot Gardiner, and Masaaki Suzuki. In addition, he directs l’Harmonie des Champs-Elysées, another Baroque-performing group, with which he has given numerous concerts and made recordings. Together with Jan De Winne and Shalev Ad-El, he founded in 1988 the Baroque ensemble Il Gardellino, of which he's the artistic leader. Over the years he has become strongly identified with the group.
Marcel Ponseele is generally considered one of the foremost Baroque oboists of his time: conductor Philippe Herreweghe has called him the finest Baroque oboist in the world. Ponseele is also a conductor of international renown. Like many talented instrumentalists from the latter half of the 20th century, he often conducts while performing as soloist in concert. He has made numerous recordings with Il Gardellino in these dual roles, particularly in the music of J.S. Bach. Ponseele's repertoire extends not only to other Baroque icons, like Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Georg Philipp Telemann, but to lesser known figures like Johann Gottlieb Graun, Christoph Schaffrath, Ernst Eichner, and many others. But Ponseele's repertory reaches beyond the Baroque, taking in works by Mozart, L.v. Beethoven, Reinecke, Piazzolla, and more. As an oboist Ponseele typically performs on historic instruments, playing 18th century models for Baroque works. He also plays Classical and Modern oboes. Ponseele's discography is extensive, both as soloist and conductor, with numerous discs issued on a range of labels, including Erato, BIS, Harmonia Mundi, and Accent.
Marcel Ponseele is internationally known as Baroque specialist, and is often invited as a solist to perform with great orchestra's or to participate on different recordings. He performed and recorded mostly everything that was ever written for oboe by J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Mozart and others. Among its later and more critically acclaimed recordings is the 2005 CD of J.S. Bach oboe concertos, which also includes an intriguing arrangement by Ponseele of Gustav Mahler's Ruckert Lieder No. 3. He also focuses on chamber music, of which several recordings were made.
Marcel Ponseele has served on the faculty of the National Conservatory of Paris for many years and, with one of his brothers, has built oboes fashioned after 18th century models.