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Je donne


Lila Duffy

Master’s in performance graduate(2018)

Discipline: classical singing
Country of origin: France (Coulommiers)
Arrival at the Faculty of Music: autumn 2016

  • Could you talk to us about your background?

I was born in the town of Coulommiers, which is also the name of a cheese, and I spent three years in Montréal before moving to New York. I completed a master’s in performance in classical singing at the Faculty of Music in Rosemarie Landry’s class, then did the first year of a Ph.D., which was a real springboard for me both in artistic and human terms.

  • What did you like most about the Faculty of Music? Is there a teacher in particular who was a source of inspiration for you?

The many performance opportunities, which are indispensable to development. I benefited a lot from the diversity of the teaching available, notably thanks to the Atelier d’opéra directed by Robin Wheeler, the Atelier de musique baroque of Luc Beauséjour and the Ensemble de musique contemporaine with Jean-Michaël Lavoie, where I took part in the creation of works by young composers. Not to forget chamber music with Jean-Eudes Vaillancourt, the art-song seminars with Rosemarie Landry and Francis Perron, and also the possibility of working with directors of international importance, and conductors who teach us about the reality of the profession very knowledgeably. It’s hard for me to choose who inspired me the most, because that effervescence of knowledge was the heart of my training, and allowed me to grow and to develop my art in a way I’d never been able to before.

  • How has your stay at the Faculty of Music influenced your life?

Leaving my native country helped me better understand what I expected of my studies and the path I was taking. I discovered resources in me that I didn’t suspect, and that today encourage me to carry on even when the inevitable doubts common to all musicians assail us. I came out stronger, more mature, and with a very good vocal and artistic training that led to my being admitted to the Diploma in Opera Studies program at the Juilliard School. It was a lot more than I would have hoped!

  • What memories do you have of the Faculty of Music? Is there an especially vivid memory or an anecdote that comes to mind?

I think of the first rehearsal with orchestra for the production of the Ravel opera L’enfant et les sortilèges in 2017. It’s a work I love and that was my first true contact with an orchestra. I really had the impression of being immersed in the life of an opera singer. I also remember the opening concert at Salle Serge-Garant after its renovation, the meeting with José Evangelista at the performance of one of his chamber operas, the masterclasses, and the intense use of time when an opera is being produced, when we almost wanted to sleep at the university to save time! I think the Atelier d’opéra productions were among the finest moments of the year, the most exciting, where you felt you were an artist and belonged on stage.

I’d also like to talk about the encounters with extremely generous lovers of the arts who were very supportive of me. In that regard I’d especially like to mention Louise Roy, whose scholarship I received in 2018 and who was very sympathetic and kind to me, and our late Anne-Marie Trahan, also a donor to the Faculty of Music, who took me under her wing and helped me on a number of occasions.

  • Which aspects of life in Montréal and of Québec culture did you particularly enjoy?

Montréal is an incredible city, where I love to live and walk around. It was the city that meant my independence, that welcomed me, trained me and gave me work. I’m grateful for a culture that looks at skills first and that offers the possibility of putting them into practice even when someone doesn’t know us. Next, you have to honor that trust, and the relationship is there forever! That makes it possible to open a lot of doors to young adults.

  • What advice would you give to a first-year student?

First, treat every work you take on with the utmost professionalism (which doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!). Look for the beauty in everything you sing, look for vocal comfort, the energy, the eagerness to transmit that message particular to yourself and dear to you (even in a chorus!).

Next, always be respectful of your colleagues, teachers, vocal coaches and conductors: be on time and know your scores. To sing well, you have to take care of yourself: eat well, drink a lot of water, sleep well, do just the right amount of sports. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t forget that the only competition that exists is with yourself, and that’s the only one worth winning!

  • What would you like to say to students who are thinking of coming to continue their education at the Faculty of Music?

Montréal is probably one of the best cities in the world for continuing your studies, especially in music. For its quality of life, of course, which is undeniably superior to what you find in many big towns, and for the quality of the teaching provided there. The city’s artistic and cultural life is extremely rich, varied and accessible. There’s Place des Arts and its Maison symphonique, which is a wonder, home to an exceptional orchestra that’s moved me very deeply so many times. In that context, the Faculty of Music has an awful lot to offer students: it’s an integral part of the cultural landscape; (Salle Claude-Champagne is a special place for Montrealers and provides great visibility to Faculty students). It’s a big step, but it’s probably the one you’ll never regret taking!

November 2020