Hervé Niquet was born in France in 1957. Following extensive studies of harpsichord, organ, composition, conducting, and singing, Niquet was appointed choir master of the Paris Opéra (1980). 1985 was a pivotal year for the young musician: he received a commission from Princess Caroline to write a ballet (24 Hours in the Life of a Woman), and he joined Les Arts Florissant as a tenor. Meanwhile, he continued branching out as a conductor, leading major ensembles across Europe in mostly Baroque fare.
In 1987 Niquet founded the orchestra he has been most closely associated with, Le Concert Spirituel. He derived the name from the ensemble of the same name founded in Paris in 1725 that disbanded in 1790. Consisting of about 50 players, the group has come to be regarded as one of the foremost Baroque orchestras in Europe.
Niquet became identified with the ensemble for the next couple of decades, making many recordings with them from the 1990s onward, more than 20 for the Naxos label alone. Niquet founded another ensemble in 2002, the Montreal-based La Nouvele Sinfonie. This orchestra is made up of about 40 musicians and, like Le Concert Spirituel, mainly focuses on French Baroque repertory.