Lorraine Vaillancourt | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Lorraine Vaillancourt

Lorraine Vaillancourt. Pianist, conductor, b Arvida (Jonquière), Que, 23 Sep 1947. Lorraine Vaillancourt studied 1964-8 at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec with Hélène Landry and 1968-70 at the École normale de musique in Paris with Pierre Dervaux (orchestral conducting).

Lorraine Vaillancourt

Lorraine Vaillancourt. Pianist, conductor, b Arvida (Jonquière), Que, 23 Sep 1947. Lorraine Vaillancourt studied 1964-8 at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec with Hélène Landry and 1968-70 at the École normale de musique in Paris with Pierre Dervaux (orchestral conducting). She also studied piano with Yvonne Loriod and Anne-Marie de Lavilléon-Verdier and ondes Martenot with Jeanne Loriod. She worked 1971-3 with Serge Garant and Bruce Mather (whom she replaced in 1974 as director of the University of Montreal's contemporary music workshop) and subsequently conducted numerous works, notably those of Cage, Crumb, Alain Louvier, Myke Roy, R. Murray Schafer, Harry Somers (The Fool), Stockhausen, Gilles Tremblay, and Claude Vivier (Kopernikus). She also worked 1972-5 with the Atelier-laboratoire, a group founded by Robert Léonard which was responsible for the premieres of many works by young Quebec composers. She has been extremely active and a noted performer as pianist with both the Nocturnales (late evening concerts) of the University of Montreal and in concerts of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec with whom she participated in the recording of Serge Garant's Quintette (RCI 527). Starting in 1965 she frequently performed with her brother Jean-Eudes Vaillancourt as a piano duo on radio and TV and in concerts throughout Quebec. In 1978 she participated in the founding of Événements du neuf and conducted the ensemble 1978-90, notably in Italy (1986) and in England and France (1989).

In 1989 Lorraine Vaillancourt founded the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, an ensemble devoted to the presentation and dissemination of contemporary music. Following the NEM's inaugural concert, the critic Carol Bergeron wrote, "Lorraine Vaillancourt impresses one with the exceptional quality of her musical direction, which combines precision, intelligence and sensitivity" (Montreal Le Devoir, 5 May 1989). Under Vaillancourt's direction, the group has come to be recognized as one of the most renowned contemporary chamber ensembles in existence, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2009. Vaillancourt has commissioned and premiered numerous works by Canadian composers, eg, John Rea and Gilles Tremblay, and has conducted and recorded works by José Evangelista, Alexina Louie, and Isabelle Panneton, among others.

Other Activities

Vaillancourt joined the music faculty at the University of Montreal in 1971.

She has guest-conducted various orchestras and ensembles in Canada (eg, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal) and abroad (eg, the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the Gulbenkian Orchestra). In 2006, for the RAI Orchestra (Italy), she conducted the Nuova Musica concert series. The same year, she also conducted the Quebec Symphony Orchestra in the Canadian concerto competition. In 1995, with Denis Bouliane, she founded the Rencontres de Musique Nouvelle du Domaine Forget. She has been a juror for the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition.

Vaillancourt helped to found Circuit, a North American magazine of contemporary music, the first issue of which was published in 1991.

From 1998 to 2001, Vaillancourt was president of the Conseil québécois de la musique. She served on the board of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec 2001-6. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

Honours and Awards

Apart from awards given to the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (including several Opus awards and two from the Conseil des arts de la Communauté urbaine de Montreal), Vaillancourt was in 1995 named a woman of distinction by the YWCA. In 2000, her recording on the Erewhon label of music by the French composer Hugues Dufourt performed by Les Percussions de Strasbourg was awarded the Grand Prix Charles-Cros. For her contributions to Canadian music, Vaillancourt was named an ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre in 2009.

Lorraine Vaillancourt is the younger sister of the soprano Pauline Vaillancourt.

Selected Discography

(as conductor)

Benjamin - Gentile - Saariaho - Ligeti. Nouvel ensemble moderne. 1990. UMMUS UMM-102 (CD)

Caron Japa. 13 perf. 1981. McGill University Records 80011

Frenette Les Oiseaux de verre. Lemelin mezzo, Morris harp, Pelletier vibraphone, Aubut violoncello, Fréchette percussion. (1984). RCI 570

Roy Tsé-Tnant/Te Deum. University of Montreal Atelier de musique contemporaine. 1977. RCI 475

Vivier Chants. University of Montreal Atelier de musique contemporaine. 1978. Nocturnales CCL-33-131/4-ACM 36 (CD)

Hugues Dufourt Erewhon. Les Percussions de Strasbourg. 2000. Accord 465 716-2

Yves Daoust Bruits. 2001. Empreintes Digitales IMED 0156

Michelle Boudreau Entre Belacqua et Nell. L'Ensemble de la SMCQ. 2008. Centrediscs CMCCD 13808

Together with the NEM, Vaillancourt has over 20 recordings on 8 labels, including New World Records, Composers Recordings Inc., Amberola, Stradivarius, UMMUS (University of Montreal), Ambience Magnétiques, Disques Montaignes, and Atma. The NEM has produced CDs with the University of Montreal, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the Festival Musica 93, CBC/ Radio-Canada, and Radio France. For a listing, see Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.

See also M.-D. Parent and discography for P. Vaillancourt


Vaillancourt, Lorraine. "La musique aujourd'hui dans tous ses eclats," Circuit, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1998

-- "Points de depart - Lettre (inedité) à Lise Bissonette, directrice du Devoir," Circuit, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1996

Further Reading