Pianist and conductor Lorraine Vaillancourt is the founder and artistic director of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM), ensemble-in-residence at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music, where Lorraine Vaillancourt is a full professor. She has been teaching at the institution since 1971, and leading its contemporary music workshop since 1974. As director of the NEM, Lorraine Vaillancourt has premiered many works in concerts across Canada and on international tours. She regularly serves as guest conductor of numerous ensembles and orchestras worldwide. In Canada, she has conducted the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Québec and Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal. Abroad, she has led the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain (Lyon), Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Ensemble Sillages (Brest), Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre de Cannes, Orchestre national de la RAI (Turin), and the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon), among others. Her discography, with NEM and other ensembles, comprises more than 30 recordings.
Along with composers José Evangelista, John Rea and Claude Vivier, Lorraine Vaillancourt is a founding member of the Montréal-based concert society Les Événements du Neuf (1978 to 1989). In 1990, she was responsible for the publication of CIRCUIT, a North American magazine of contemporary music. President of the Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM) from 1998 to 2001, she then served on the board of directors of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) until 2006. She is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
She has received numerous accolades for the quality of her work, both in Canada and abroad. In 2000, her recording of Hughes Dufourt’s Erewhon with the Alsatian ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles Cros. Composer Hugues Dufourt said of her directing style: “Having achieved a level of laser-like precision, Lorraine Vaillancourt then infuses all dimensions of the music with a uniquely personal expressive vision.”