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Réjean Poirier (Harpsichord, Organ)

Born: April 22, 1950 - St-Alphonse-Rodriguez, near Joliette, Québec, Canada

The Canadian organist, harpsichordist, teacher and composer, Réjean Poirier, studied piano and organ from 1960 to 1965 with his brother Lucien, organ from 1965 to 1966 with Antoine Bouchard at Laval University, and organ under Bernard Lagacé and harpsichord with Kenneth Gilbert from 1967 to 1971 at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (premier prix organ (CMM) 1971, certificat d'études supérieures harpsichord (CMM) 1971). He won first prize in 1970 in the John Robb Organ Competition. He continued his studies from 1971 to 1973 with Xavier Darasse at the Toulouse Conservatoire and won in 1972-1973 several international awards including a first prize at the 1973 J.S. Bach International Organ Competition in Bruges.

On his return to Montreal in 19731, Réjean Poirier joined the faculty of the University of Montreal, where he was named vice-dean of graduate studies and research in 1986 and dean from 1998 to 2006. He has also taught at Laval University, Concordia University, St. Laurent and Vanie Cegeps, Vanier College, and the Orford Art Centre. He began researching the use of graphic symbols in composition as a substitute for traditional notation.

Réjean Poirier participated in the founding of the organ recital series Pro organo in 1970. Upon returning to Montreal in 19742, he co-founded and participated in another organ recital series Concerts d'orgue de Montréal. In 1974 he also founded, together with Christopher Jackson and Hélène Dugal, the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, and acted as its joint Artistic Director (with Christopher Jackson) for nearly fifteen years (1974-1988). In 1990, he put together the Da Sonar ensemble and has been its Musical Director since. Last October (2005?), he was appointed organist at St. Denis Church in Montreal.

Réjean Poirier has given numerous concerts at the harpsichord and at the organ, as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor of Baroque orchestras in Canada (Tafelmusik), the USA, Bermuda, France (Orchestre baroque d'Ile-de-France), Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Several oerformances and recordings for CBC radio, Société Radio-Canada, Radio-France, RTB, ART-TV, Télé-Université and Spain national radio.

Réjean Poirier has collaborated with prestigious soloists such as Jordi Savall, Max van Egmond, Greta de Reyghere, Ludovic de San, Emma Kirkby, Lucy van Dael, Janine Rubinlicht, Sarah Cunningham, Bruce Haynes, Ricardo Kanji, Eric Hoeprich, Don Smithers, Alain Marion, André Bernard and Francis Hardy.

Amongst important series where invited: Festival estival de Paris, Festival des Flandres, Festival de l’été Mosan, Festival Midi-Minimes, Festival du Quercy blanc, Festival de Saintes, Festival de Lorraine, Festival international de Saint-Maximin, Les Amis de l’orgue du Luxembourg, Lincoln Centre, Festival d'Orford, Festival d'été de Québec, Festival des musiques sacrées de Québec, Festival international de Lanaudière, Les Concerts spirituels, Pro Organo, Les Amis de l'orgue de Québec, Les Amis de l’orgue de Rimouski, Pro Musica, Les Grands concerts de Radio-Canada, Radio-Concert, Three Centuries Festival, Festival international de musique baroque de Lamèque, New World Symphony Orchestra, I Musici, Les Violons du Roy, the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Montréal Baroque, Tafelmusik, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and Series, Festival du Domaine Forget, Festival Toulouse-les-Orgues, Renaissance de l'orgue à Bordeaux, Organ Historical Society, Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts with Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and many others.

Réjean Poirier's compositions include Hallucinations I for trumpet, organ, and percussion (premiered in Toulouse in January 1973), Trope for two percussionists and piano (1973, commissioned by the Toulouse Conservatoire for its chamber music class), and Arcane for organ, which he premiered in Montreal in May 1977. His writings include: 'Le Livre d'orgue de Montréal: le point de vue d'un l'interprète,' Orgue francophone (May 1989).

Among his recordings are: Les années folles du clavecin: harpsichord works of Duphly and Balbastre (1980. Damzell); Clavecins à tempérments:Picchi, Bull, Byrd, J.S. Bach et al. (1991, UMMUS); the world premiere recording of Le Livre d'orgue de Montréal (1987, SNE/Ariane). a complete; a recording of J.S. Bach's Well-tempered Clavier (to be issued on the Arioso label). Poirier also plays harpsichord with the Groupe baroque de Montréal (see T. Gabora) and organ on the recording of the Vêpres de la Vierge

1. Réjean Poirier Website
2. The Canadian Encyclopedia © 2011 Historica Foundation of Canada (Author: Hélène Panneton)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2011)

Réjean Poirier: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Bernard Labadie


BWV 82, BWV 1083

Daniel Taylor

Organ, Harpsichord

Arias from BWV 116, BWV 147, BWV 165, BWV 232, BWV 244, BWV 249

Links to other Sites

Réjean Poirier (Official Website) [French/English]
Poirier Réjean (The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal

Rejean Poirier (University of Albany)
Organistes du Québec

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