Walter Boudreau

Photo: Frédéric Nivoix, Andréa Cloutier.

Radio SMCQ: Walter Boudreau

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Montréal, Québec, 1947

  • Composer
  • Performer (piano, saxophones)
  • Conductor

The “enfant terrible” of the Quebec contemporary music scene, composer and conductor, Walter Boudreau has signed off on sixty musical creations for diverse arrangements, including many film scores, theater and ballet. Known worldwide for his 1970’s collaboration with the poet, Raôul Duguay (Infonie), he quickly made his mark in art music after studying with Gilles Tremblay, Bruce Mather and Serge Garant, followed by internships at Kagel, Stockhausen and with Ligeti, Messiaen, Xenakis and Boulez.

Boudreau worked for several years as a conductor, on occasion for the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ). In 1988, he was named, artistic director. From the start he proposed programs highlighted by a new eclectism and initiated “unique” projects, anchoring the institution in the cultural milieu. For example, the monumental Millennium Symphony (2000), the establishment of the Montreal/Nouvelles Musique (MNM, 2003) Biennale International Festival, as well as the Homage Series, which pays tribute to our composers (2007).

Throughout these activities, Walter Boudreau never stopped working as a composer, accumulating honours from all horizons — among others the remarkable Concerto de l’asile, written for the pianist, Alain Lefèvre, and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (2013). He has garnered recognition both as a composer and an artistic director, and has received many prestigious awards, including being named “Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec”.

“Imagine a cross between Xenakis, Frank Zappa and Pierre Boulez… The brutal energy of the first, the strange iconoclasticism of the second and the tight construction of the third… Nervous, electric, powerful, soft, complex, until it becomes microcosmic: here is the Walter Boudreau of L’Odysée du Soleil and Demain les Etoiles. Add the irreverent partnership of poet Raôul Duguay and one attains Golgotha.”

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