The Canadian pianist, Jacques Després, studied under many of the great masters including György Sebők, Gilbert Kalish, Adele Marcus, William Masselos and Christiane Senart. He is the recipient of many grants from the Juilliard School, the Quebec ministries of Education and Cultural Affairs, and the Canada Council. He recently completed his doctorate at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and holds a Masters degree from the Juilliard School of Music. He received with High Distinction the Artist Diploma from Indiana University, and was awarded a unanimous first prize from the Conservatory of Quebec. His prestigious awards include: the Frank Kopp Memorial Prize at the University of Maryland International Piano competition; First Prize at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition; the Musical Academy of Quebec "prix d' Europe" competition; and the doctoral concerto competition at SUNY, Stony Brook.
Widely acclaimed pianist Jacques Després has dazzled audiences for nearly two decades in his native Canada and the USA with his sensitive yet powerful style and sympathetic interpretations of a broad range of composers. He has collaborated with internationally renowned pianists Radu Lupu and Nikolai Petrov, and has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Montreal, Quebec and others under the baton of conductors including Otto-Werner Muller, Franz-Paul Decker, Jens Nygaard and Simon Streatfield. Després's tours have included numerous recitals in Canada aired on CBC radio, and performances at summer festivals in North America.
Jacques Després has established a solid reputation as a leading lecture-performance artist on both period and modern instruments, including a series on the Frédéric Chopin's Ballades at New York's Julliard School, and the early sonatas of L.v. Beethoven at the yearly Friends of the Arts Beethoven Festival on Long Island. He also was the musical director of Summer Serenades, a lecture-concert series at the University of Stony Brook's Staller Center. This imaginative series won an enormous following due in large part to his performances, his lucid and illustrative pre-concert lectures, and his creative programming. The series not only delivered compelling solo and chamber music performances from the standard repertoire, it also gave voice to such neglected composers as Clara Schumann, Alma Mahler-Werfel, and Federico Garcia Lorca to name but a few. In 1996, he joined the faculty of Western Washington University in Bellingham.