Claire Gignac

Claire Gignac: Artistic and Musical Director, Stage Director, Producer, Composer, Arranger, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Singer

Claire Gignac is a multidisciplinary artist, and co-founder and co-artistic director of La Nef. Her eclectic musical trajectory has led her from classical music to creative music, and she has delved into ancient music, jazz, musique actuelle, and world music along the way. She is a notably versatile artist who works as a contralto, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, musical director, producer, comedian, and stage director. Since 1991, she has interpreted, created, and directed numerous performances by La Nef. In 1998, she joined Ex Machina to work with director Robert Lepage as co-creator, comedian, and composer on Zulu Time, Die Dreigroschenoper and The Busker’s Opera, which toured globally from 2000 until 2008.

During the same period, in 2000, she founded La Nef’s musique actuelle stream of activity and, since then, has been the artistic and musical director for twelve creative music projects and multidisciplinary performances. Many of these works have won notable awards and nominations: Lass Kiss (2006), a solo multimedia performance, was an Opus Prize nominee in Musique actuelle and Electroacoustic Music. Déserts (2008) won a 2007-08 Opus Prize in Jazz and World Music, and its recording garnered several nominations (ADISQ, Best World Music Album, and CFMA, Best World Music Album and Best Group). Each of Ultreïa! (2009), Notes de Chevet (2010), and Îles (2011 and 2012) was nominated for an Opus Prize for Concert of the Year in Jazz and World Music, and Urnos won a 2011 Opus Prize in Musique actuelle and Electroacoustic Music.

In 2013, she released Notes de chevet on the Fidelio-Audience label, and created Bowling Blues, a multidisciplinary music-and-dance performance in collaboration with American choreographer, Heidi Duckler, a specialist in site-specific performance. This work will be presented at the Walking Distance Dance Festival in San Francisco in May 2014.

Since September 2012, her work has been presented under the title and auspices of Claire Gignac and friends. This organization comprises her principal collaborators, and serves as the appellation contrôlée for a group of uncontrollable musicians who, in their various formations, relish composing, playing, arranging, and improvising living music. Their music breathes and beats like a heart. It is music of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and reflects the many influences that each musician brings to bear. This band of adventurers has a penchant for musical risk and daring.                                     

Andrew Wells-Oberegger                                                                                         Bouzouki, saz, oud, ukulele, didgeridoo, kalimba

Shortly after graduating from college in Renaissance lute, Andrew began making a living as a musician. Since 2000, he has recorded and collaborated on almost a dozen CD’s with musical ensembles such as La Mandragore, Weshida, and L’Ensemble Cercamon. He is a singer and songwriter with the folk group La Balconade, which he founded. He has played on film scores written by Michel Cusson and Luc Boivin, and for documentaries such as Carthage la passion d’une vie, Aventure archéologique en Tunisie, and Femmes mystiques du Moyen-Âge. Since November 2006, Andrew has been playing in La Nef’s Musiques des Montagnes. In 2007, he formed the duo De Longa with Pierre-Alexandre Saint-Yves. In 2008 this duo, dedicated to the composition of original music for early, traditional, and modern instruments, released its first CD on the Fidelio Music label.

Pierre-Alexandre St-Yves                                                                                     chalumeaux, bass recorder, melodica, voice

Working in the field of early music since 1996, Pierre-Alexandre Saint-Yves has always been fascinated by old instruments. He studied and continued to perfect his skills while recording, and touring in France with Troubadours Art Ensemble of Gerard Zuchetto, a specialist in the music of troubadours, La Nef and Skarazula. Taking all his musical experience, Pierre-Alexandre founded the group Cercamon with which he has frequently toured in North America since 2000. He specializes in research, composition, and interpretation of traditional music from Southern France.

Patrick Graham                                                                                                      multipercussion

Patrick Graham’s cross-cultural percussion style reflects his training in Western classical and contemporary music and his extensive explorations of Mediterranean, Irish, South Indian, and Japanese rhythms. As a collaborator with groups such as Autorickshaw, On Ensemble, Norouet, and La Nef (among others), Patrick’s unique sound reflects his experience in multiple genres of music and his profound fascination with the power of rhythm. In January 2009, Patrick released his first solo album entitled Rheō. Along with a busy performing and recording schedule, Patrick is also active as an instructor, and has taught workshops in Canada, the USA, India, China and Japan.

Mathieu Deschenaux                                                                               Île_M.-Deschenaux_WEB                             Double bass

Bachelor in jazz interpretationat Mc Gill University in 2003, Mathieu Deschenaux has been active on the Montral music scène for almost 10 years now. Member of diverse musical groups like, among others, Gadji Gadjo, Émilie Proulx, Le hot club de ma rue, the Merovitz Project, Cercamon and the trio Straight pipe. This led him to perform in numerous venues and festivals all over Quebec, Canada, the United states, France and Romania. He also performed over the years with Eden 106, the ensemble Fleur de lys, Francesca Gagnon, the Andrew Homzy Selected Sextet, Bobok, the Quatuor carré, Kleztory, La Balconade, Ipso Facto, Oztara. He also signed the music of short films (Ampliation et Monstre) and participated in the création of live music for théâtre (Chroniques and Enlèvement, Séquestration et Mise à mort d’un humoriste).

João Catalãoîles_joaophoto_WEB
Marimba, vibraphone, percussion

Native of Brasilia (Brazil) in 1977, João Catalão started learning music at age 7 at the     Brasilia School of Music (EMB) in violin and later in percussion. He studied with Ney Rosauro at the Santa Maria Federal University. In 2001, he became percussion professor at EMB and won the second and third prizes in the Brazil-PAS composition contest. In 2002, he won the young soloists competition of the Salvador Symphony Orchestra. He obtained a Diploma in            percussion keyboards with Emmanuel Séjourné and his Doctor degree in music at University de Montréal with Robert Leroux.  He was finalist at the Luxembourg’s International de Contest (6th Edition). Montréal based now, he continue his research with the contemporary jazz group « IKS » and the « Sixtrum » percussion ensemble.

Dorothéa VenturaDorotheaVentura_2_WEB
Voix / voice
Multi-faceted artist,  Dorothéa Ventura performs as a singer, harpsichordist, dancer and actress.  She has been involved with the most prestigious Quebecois, Canadian and European groups among them the Opera of Montreal, Les Violons du Roy, the Orchestre Métropolitain   de   Montréal, Les Idées heureuses, Arion Baroque orchestra, Caprice, La Nef,   SMAM , Le Nouvel opéra, Les jardins chorégraphiques, Le Concert Spirituel (Paris) and Tafelmusik (Toronto). She has participated in several productions that have won prizes such as the Prix Opus, the Juno, as well as nominations from the Conseil québécois de la musique. She is the co-founder of the group ALKEMIA, which explores  a capella repertoire  from different eras and countries. The group was a finalist in the Early Music America competition in New York in 2009.

Frédéric Labrasseur    Fred Lebrasseur_cr_Vincent Champoux - copie 

Autodidact musician, improviser, “noisist” and multidisciplinary artist, Frédéric Lebrasseur was born in Province of Quebec with drum sticks in his hands. From an early age, he has explored the world of percussion by playing drums, didgeridou, guimbarde, boat horn and foot-tapping (podorhythm). In addition, his musical curiosity extends into the world of electro-acoustics through his use of the laptop computer. Frederic composes, directs and improvises with numerous bands, such as Ranch-O-Banjo and Interférences Sardines. As a dedicated professional musician, he has had the opportunity to perform his music in more than 25 countries. Furthermore, through creating soundtracks for animated films with the collective Kiwistiti, Frederic has had the opportunity to work at the National Film Board of Canada. These films have won many awards and have been selected for many prestigious festivals around the world. Frederic has been commissioned to create dynamic and specific sound environments for theatre, cinema, circus, visual arts and contemporary dance events. He works with such directors as Gill Champagne, Claudie Gagnon, Karine Ledoyen, Robert Lepage or Pierre M. Trudeau.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Frederic has worked with Cargo, a puppet show (which is a co-production between Théâtre Incliné, Ranch-O-Banjo (Quebec) and Le Clan des Songes (France)). He has travelled and performed with this show in twelve countries outside of Canada. A wonderfully open minded musician, Frederic has accepted musical challenges by exploring the musical dramaturgy of a water fountain in the Quebec city of Baie-Comeau and also by directing a harbor symphony, in the Polish city of Gdansk, from a boat mast for the celebration of 20 years of democracy in Poland.

As the son of two teachers, Frederic’s passion for teaching is apparent in his musical creation workshops which he has delivered to different groups including children and people with disabilities, as well as artists from various disciplines.

Frédéric Augerfrederic_a_WEB
Sound design and real time sound processing

Frédéric Auger has been chief sound-system operator for Usine C, a multidisciplinary theatrical creation and performance center, since 2005. He is interested in exploring techniques (both acoustic-mechanical and electro-digital) for capturing sonic material and manipulating it in real time, and in using time-delay loops between sonic source, effect processors, and diffusion systems. In recent years, he has concentrated on creating soundscapes and integrating music with theatrical performances. He was technical director and sound-system operator for Infrarouge (The Invisible, by Marie Brassard ) and  La Nef (Last Kiss, Skin, a percussion blitz and Ultreïa !, Claire Gignac, director); and was sound-system operator for Sibyllines (Woyzeck and Douleur exquise,  Brigitte Haentjens, director ), Ex Machina (La casa azul and The Busker’s Opera, Robert Lepage, director), l’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres (Joue à Tom Waits), the Elektra International Festival of Digital Arts, the Ekumen collective (sonic art), Jorane (Vent fou and 16 mm).

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