The Festival in the words of Samuel Blanchette-Gagnon

Named one of the country’s most promising young musicians by CBC/Radio-Canada, Samuel Blanchette-Gagnon has made an impression with his passion, visionary interpretations, and wide range of instrumental colours. He performs regularly as a recitalist and as a soloist with ensembles such as the Orchestre Smphonique de la Côte-Nord, the Orchestre des Jeunes de Montréal and the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded for Les Violons du Roy and with the Quatuor Saguenay.

Tell us about your musical journey, from your earliest experiences to the present. Our readers would like to understand what brought you to music.

My family was far from being a musical one. I started playing the piano quite by chance at the age of 7. I studied until my Master’s degree at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec. I then continued to progress thanks to a private teacher, as well through workshops and meetings with great musicians from different backgrounds.

Throughout my career, I participated in several competitions, until I placed First at the Prix d’Europe 2019 at the age of 22, as well as winning Second Prizeth at the International Stepping Stone of the Canadian Music Competition.

In parallel to all these things, I have always loved playing chamber music, especially in the context of my violin-piano duo with Marie Bégin. This project has allowed us to launch our first album in 2021..

This summer’s program allowed you to meet several international players in the classical music world. What do you take away from these meetings and how do you think they will guide you? 

The unique format of the workshop meetings allowed for a great deal of freedom of discussion and made us feel particularly comfortable addressing whatever questions and concerns came to mind. Most of the time, we even realized that we shared the same questions and uncertainties about our future careers: in short, we were all, more or less, at the same point in our professional development.

By Annie Bigras

It was very useful to be able to clarify some of the speakers’ points relating to concrete aspects of a musician’s life, such as all issues regarding agents, contracts, record labels, and more.
• To be able to openly discuss the current situation in the music world with some of the major players in the field;
• To hear, from exceptional musicians, what drives them every day;
• Reflect on the reality of a musician’s life and the need to have a place of one’s own where one feels solidly anchored.

These are just a few examples of exceptional opportunities enabling you to pursue your development as a musician, but above all as a complete person able to forge his or her own personal and unique way forward in the artistic world.

Which concert of the 2022 season impressed you the most?

I was fortunate enough to attend a concert by Matthias Goerne and Alexandre Kantorow at the church in Repentigny. This heartbreakingly sincere concert set the stage perfectly for future encounters and discussions about authenticity and why one chooses to persevere in music. Artists whose love of music and pleasure in being on stage shine through are much rarer than one might believe, but these qualities literally change everything!

Why would you recommend that young performers participate in a networking program such as the one offered at the Festival de Lanaudière?

This kind of experience helps build our network of contacts, but also to achieve clarity about concrete and not-so-concrete issues, with the help of real players in the music business.

This program creates a unique microcosm between young musicians who are together at the same point in their development, where fundamental thoughts, collaborations, and friendships can emerge. Was it an amazing coincidence to have such inspiring colleagues come together at the right time or will it happen again year after year with each cohort? I certainly hope so!

In a few years, what do you think will be the most memorable part of your experience with the Festival program?

The encounters with the other young performers, in addition to some fundamental reflections expressed by speakers who were particularly keen to provide a global view of the artist’s situation in the world: these will remain the key elements of my own experience.
It is possible that a technical detail clarified during the workshop will have greater measurable importance in the immediate future, but I think that more general views on music will have a greater influence on decision-making in the next few years. If the foundation is solid, one can build much higher and much stronger!

COMING SOON FOR SAMUEL BLANCHETTE-GAGNON

  • • Samuel will take part in several international competitions, such as the Busoni Piano Competition;
  • His album DEBUSSY-FRANCK SONATES POUR VIOLON ET PIANO SZYMANOWSKI MYTHES, OP. 30, recorded with Marie Bégin is available here

The Festival de Lanaudière’s mentoring project is made possible through the generosity of the Fondation Père-Lindsay and the Fonds Jacques-Martin.

Crédits-photos : Stéphane Bourgeois & Agence BigJaw