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Michel Gonneville

Michel Gonneville, born in Montréal in 1950, began piano studies at a very early age. Later, when he was 18, and after some significant musical shocks -- Ravel, then Messiaen, Boulez, Tremblay, Xenakis and Stockhausen -- he made the definitive choice to study music. He received his bachelor of music from the École Vincent-d'Indy where he studied from 1968 to 1972, and one year later, he opted for composition, enrolling in the composition and analysis class of Gilles Tremblay at the Montréal Conservatory (he won premiers prix in both subjects in 1974 and 1975).

The Stockhausen seminars that he attended in 1974 convinced him to work with that composer. With the assistance of grants from The Canada Council and the Ministère de l'Éducation du Québec, he took three semesters of composition classes with Stockhausen in Cologne; he also worked in the electronic music studio of the Musikhochschule in the same city under the direction of Hans Ulrich Humpert. He then became the student and personal assistant of Henri Pousseur in Liège. During those three years in Europe, he also studied with Johannes Fritsch, Rolf Gelhaar and Frederick Rzewski.

With the help of commissions from The Canada Council and creative arts grants from the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec, he composed works for Louis-Philippe Pelletier, Michael Laucke, Robert Leroux, Groupe 7, the Ensemble d'Ondes de Montréal, the SMCQ, the Vallières-McCutcheon duo, and the CBC. His works have been performed in Montréal, Québec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Metz, Cologne, Bonn, Liège and Paris.

For Gonneville, aesthetic research is a function of research on the 'means' that exist to transmit Beauty, of research about language and about technique. His efforts in this direction are related to new initiatives seen in the most recent works and theories of Stockhausen and Pousseur, ideas that have been adopted by many young composers in Canada and elsewhere. In this area, the most successful aspects of new music echo very old and fundamental ideas, like melody, consonance, driving rhythms, repetition...

The results of his research are best heard in Contribution..., Variations Auras and Le sommeil, le regard, le choix.



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Canadian Music Centre