The music of Michel Longtin calls into question strict definitions of genre, style, and sources of inspiration in a marvelous way. His music not only brings together, in an almost corrosive manner, various musical styles (from the North European symphonic tradition to classic Hollywood film music), but also invokes expressive devices in an incredibly convincing manner. This is a music that draws on cultural fragments that are recombined in learned constructions, based as much on numerological symbolism as the science of psychological effects that take effect immediately. Longtin has created a world in step with his desires and impulses, a musical world deeply rooted in its physical and cultural environment, at once cherished and reviled. He is one of the most original voices in Quebec.
Born in 1946. Initially schooled in the sciences, Michel Longtin received a Bachelor of Arts at the Collège des Eudistes in Montréal in 1967. Prior to this, he devoted himself to theatre, stage directing and pantomime at the Banff School of Fine Arts during the summers of 1963 and 1964, and this time spent in Banff is recalled in several of his musical themes (“Au nord du lac Supérieur”, “La mort du Pierrot”, etc.). Having decided to study music in 1968, he trained simultaneously in computer science, stage directing and composition, the latter with André Prévost. In 1970, he registered in the composition program at the Université de Montréal’s music faculty, where he earned an undergraduate music degree. He later attended various music classes at McGill University and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. At the same time, he completed a master’s degree under the supervision of André Prévost, and a doctorate with Serge Garant, both at the Université de Montréal. For the past 22 years he has taught music composition and analysis at the University of Montréal, where he is now professor emeritus. In the first ten years of his career, Michel Longtin’s interests were strongly directed towards electroacoustic music. He began working on his Trilogie de la montagne at the Bourges Studio (France) in 1977, and completed it at the electronic music studio of McGill University in 1980. His themes, both in his instrumental music and his electroacoustic works, reflect an expressionist, albeit very personal, style. Programmatic elements are current features in works such as Trilogie, La route des Pèlerins reclus, Lettre posthume de Conrad, and Quaternions.