He attended a Jesuit school, but only started serious musical studies when he was around 14-15; he studied piano and violin.
After his career as an instrumental musician, de Billy began his conducting career in Paris. He later moved to Germany and built up his career as an opera conductor. His professional operatic conducting debut was for La Traviata in Oviedo, Spain in 1991, replacing a conductor at short notice. He was the general music director at the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau from 1993 to 1995. At the Vienna Volksoper he held the post of first conductor from 1996 to 1998. From 1999 to 2004, de Billy was Chief Conductor of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, after the reopening of the theatre.
de Billy conducts mostly from memory, although he usually has the score in front of him in case problems occur; at the Volksoper he was phoned at the podium during the 8th scene of La Périchole to be informed that scene 9 would be cut. He prefers the smaller opera theatres (Theater an der Wien, Châtelet, Garnier), where more intimacy can be found with the audience.
Since 2002, de Billy has served as chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO Wien). His performances with the orchestra have included opera productions at the Festival OsterKlang and at the Sommerfestival Klangbogen. His recordings with the RSO Wien have included Eugen d'Albert's Tiefland. de Billy has had disputes with management over funding and the continuing status of the orchestra. He is scheduled to step down from this post in 2010. In January 2009, the RSO Wien announced the appointment of Cornelius Meister as its seventh chief conductor, effective with the 2010-2011 season.
Bertrand de Billy is Member of the Board of the Vienna-based European Academy of Music Theatre. His discography includes the Mozart / Da Ponte operas, Beethoven Symphonies 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, Schubert Symphony No 9, Dvořák Symphony no 9 and complete operas by Gounod (Faust), Dukas (Ariane et Barbe-bleue) and Verdi (Don Carlos), and on DVD Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Massenet's Cendrillon, Puccini's La bohème and Thomas' Hamlet.
- Bertrand de Billy, chef d’orchestre, interview with Valéry Fleurquin, 3 January 2007, in French accessed 7 February 2014.
- "Cornelius Meister zum neuen RSO Chefdirigenten ab September 2010 bestellt" (PDF) (Press release). Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. 9 January 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
- Discography of Bertrand de Billy at Allmusic site accessed 7 February 2014.
- Bertrand de Billy homepage
- European Academy of Music Theatre
- BBC interview by Louise Fryer with conductor Bertrand de Billy on the occasion of his conducting Carmen at the Royal Opera House 2009. accessed 7 February 2014.
| Music Director, Gran Teatre del Liceu
Dennis Russell Davies
| Chief Conductor, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra