Associate professor of bassoon and vice-dean of undergraduate studies
An encounter with Mathieu Lussier, associate professor of bassoon and vice-dean of undergraduate studies, professorial affairs and faculty life at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music.
- Why choose the bassoon?
It was sheer luck that led me to the bassoon! I played the piano and wanted to continue my studies at Pierre-Laporte High School, which offered an intensive and well-known music program. On the publicity poster it said they were looking for bassoon and French horn students. Not knowing one or the other but wanting to maximize the odds of being accepted, I checked in the dictionary for what the two instruments looked like and wrote down Bassoon as second choice and Horn as third choice. The program had been in existence for five years and that’s how they caught their first bassoon-fish! Did they really listen to my piano audition? I’ll never know...
- Tell us about a concert, exhibition or conference experience that left its mark in your career and in what way.
When I discovered that there’s not necessarily a correlation in our enjoyment of different forms of art according to styles and eras. I’m a lover of 18th-century music, but the paintings of that century leave me a little indifferent (though I still admire them). My first visit to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, my encounter with painters Jean-Paul Riopelle and Paul-Émile Borduas led me to understand that very clearly!
- Could you tell us about a memorable professional encounter?
I think particularly of four people who left their mark on my musical life. Louis Lavigueur, a conductor and choir master who I started making music with as a soprano in my first year of secondary school. He opened doors for me, gave me opportunities, and more than once pretty firmly called me to order! Christopher Millard, an exceptional bassoonist and human being who “saved my life” as a bassoonist. Joël Thiffault, a brilliant, fantastic keyboardist and conductor, whom to a very great extent I owe my career as a bassoonist and conductor in early music. And lastly, Normand Forget, oboist and founder of Pentaèdre and now artistic director of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. A tremendous musician, who changed my way of seeing and approaching music and concerts.