He joined the music faculty of the Université Laval in 1967 where he has taught music theory, music analysis, and music composition for more than 40 years. A member of the Canadian League of Composers and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre, his works have been performed by notable ensembles throughout Canada. The Quebec Symphony Orchestra commissioned his Prélude and performed the works premiere in 1969 under conductor Pierre Dervaux.
Life and career
Gagnon began teaching himself the piano as a young child. At the age of 13 he began taking his first music lessons at the Rimouski Seminary with Father Philippe-Antoine Lavoie with whom he studied from 1951-1958. In 1960 he entered the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Québec where he was an organ student with Henri Gagnon.
After Gagnon died in 1961, Alain transferred to the Université Laval where he studied composition with Roger Matton. He graduated from Laval with Bachelor of Music in 1963 and a Master of Music in composition in 1964. He continued with further studies privately under Jocelyne Binet in 1964-1965. He was awarded the Governor-General's Medal in 1963 and was honoured with a medal for the Government of France in 1964.
In 1965 Gagnon won the Prix d'Europe and was awarded additional scholarships from the Canada Council and the Quebec Ministry of Education. Those honours enabled him to pursue graduate studies in France at the École Normale de Musique de Paris with Henri Dutilleux and at the École César Franck with Olivier Alain in 1965-1966. He studied for a short period of time at the Institut de Sonologie of Utrecht in 1966 and in 1967 at the Geneva Conservatory with André-François Marescotti.
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