Hélène Gagné

Hélène (Marie Gisèle Marcelle) Gagné. Cellist, teacher, b Montreal 30 Jan 1950; performance diploma cello (Lausanne Conservatory) 1968. A pupil of Walter Joachim 1961-6 at the CMM, she also studied 1963-8 with Paul Tortelier and Guy Fallot at the JMC Orford Art Centre.

Gagné, Hélène

Hélène (Marie Gisèle Marcelle) Gagné. Cellist, teacher, b Montreal 30 Jan 1950; performance diploma cello (Lausanne Conservatory) 1968. A pupil of Walter Joachim 1961-6 at the CMM, she also studied 1963-8 with Paul Tortelier and Guy Fallot at the JMC Orford Art Centre. She was soloist with the MSO in 1963 and the Sarah Fischer Concerts in 1964 and a member of the NYO in 1964, 1965, and 1966. She won first prize in the string category at the 1966 CBC Talent Festival. Admitted to the Lausanne Conservatory, she studied with Fallot 1966-9 and won first prize at the 1967 Concours artistique international in Paris.

After 1965 Gagné made numerous recital tours and performed with the TSO in 1966, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (Haydn's Concerto in D) in 1968, the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in 1970, the Belgrade Philharmonic (the Lalo Concerto) in 1975, the Skovran Chamber Orchestra (Boccherini's Concerto in B Flat) in 1975, and the MSO (Beethoven's Triple Concerto, 1979). She toured Canada 1970-1 and 1975-7 for the JMC (YMC), Tunisia and Yugoslavia 1975, 1978, and France in 1978.

A US tour took Gagné to New York and to Washington, DC, where she enjoyed a marked success. The critic for the Washington Post (24 Oct 1974) wrote, 'Miss Gagné has formidable technique,' adding that the assurance with which she moved 'from the rhapsodic nature of Debussy through the warmth and tenderness of Chopin and Fauré, into the striking modernity of Shostakovich was proof of that. Her tone is well focussed and particularly mellow.'

Gagné has taught 1974-8 at the Camp musical de Lanaudière, near Joliette, Que, and also 1974-6 in that city's cultural centre. During the summer of 1978 she taught cello and chamber music and coached the cellos and basses at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras and Performing Arts in Aberdeen, Scotland. She began teaching at Concordia University in 1977 and at the University of Montreal and McGill University in 1988. She has also recorded for radio networks in Belgrade, Lausanne, London, and for CBC Montreal.

With the pianist John Newmark, Gagné recorded the Shostakovitch Sonata, Opus 40 (1966, CBC SM-10).

See also Marcelle Gagné (her mother).


Further Reading

  • Flanagan, Marie. 'Heard first cello at 3, she's almost pro at 14,' Toronto Daily Star, 8 Jul 1964