We had the good fortune of connecting with Véronique Lussier and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Véronique, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting the conductor profession?

From a young age, music has always been present in my life through the exploration of different instruments such as the piano, the violin, the guitar etc. During family gatherings, my grandparents who expressed themselves musically in a self-taught way were a great motivation. With these inspiring role models showing me their love for music, I felt the impact of music on me and around me. Different courses and musical camps fueled my desire to pursue studies at the Vincent d’Indy music school and at the University of Quebec in Montreal, where I obtained my diploma in Pedagogy with Piano as my main instrument. For around ten years, in this effervescent environment of creating numerous musical projects with students in collective groups, I realized the highly beneficial impact of music on the cognitive level as well as on the behavioral and social level. Music can change lives, I am convinced.

Alongside teaching, I completed a Masters degree in Choral conducting at the University of Sherbrooke. Following the final exam, the team symbiosis obtained felt with the choristers and musicians as well as the enthusiasm of the judges were the trigger to continue this time, in conducting. Internationally, in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and the United States, I have conducted under the supervision of great Masters. These enriched my technical skills and confirmed my desire to pursue a doctorate. I thus completed a Doctorate in Orchestra Conducting (very limited program with three other male colleagues) at the University of Montreal with very committed and inspiring professors.

As part of my doctorate, instead of performing the three required concerts at the university even with an already structured framework and with all the facilities, I chose to perform them in my region, in a context as as close as possible to reality in order to better understand all the dimensions of the role of the conductor and the workings of the organization of an orchestra. It goes without saying that it was the same for all the marketing and financial components for which I initially had to assume the risks. I subsequently collaborated with the region’s professional orchestra. This entrepreneurial project to develop the audience for symphonic music included three concomitant components: artistic, economic and socio-musicological, and continued until the arrival of the pandemic. The numerous testimonials received over the years of this project have demonstrated its excellence.


Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?

This atypical journey asked me to make choices and take risks to achieve my goal. In order to achieve it, I left my teaching profession which provided me with job and financial stability. Fortunately, the university awarded me two excellence scholarships and others which allowed me to complete international internships with the aim of further developing my skills as a conductor.

I believe that risk is an integral part of a perpetual and intentional quest to offer the best of oneself. It is a process of constant development to give ourselves all the means and tools necessary to aim ever further. Consequently, taking risks becomes a way of living and evolving, with the ambition of improving on a continuous basis to achieve objectives. This is what motivated me throughout my academic career and more recently, in my professional career.

A concert as such is a risk-taking: programming, ticket sales, choice of clientele, audience satisfaction, etc. When spectators testify after a concert: “I was totally carried away by the music, on several occasions, I was moved”. This means that the public reacted positively, so I say to myself, objective achieved. The purpose or goal of the concert has been achieved: the emotions felt between the audience and the orchestra: a connection with the community. It is therefore the result of a maximum level of performance and the work accomplished by all the teams and actors who produced the concert. The team spirit mobilized the strengths and talents of each person to give their best towards a common goal, the performance of the concert, the satisfaction of a duty well accomplished peacefully. Having prepared it without risk factors or questioning or questioning, chemistry would work differently.


What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?

First of all, I would say that for me, the most important factor or factors are my passion driven by great motivation and determination but also the respect I have for each musician who brings their instrument to life in tune with their colleagues. For me, this is a determining criterion for optimal teamwork in achieving a high level of artistic excellence. The challenges are numerous, the hours spent learning detailed scores and many other aspects of the profession.

Initially, it is first the dream of a concept and then to develop a vision of the future concert in all stages of its creation in order to define the objectives as much on the technical and musical level as on the emotional level. As a conductor, it is necessary to seek out all the elements related to the nature of the program and the type of concert targeted.

Next comes the details of all the performances to be carried out to meet the objectives. Such as the target audience, the nature of the program, the musical theme and the choice of pieces, the detailed study of the musical pieces, the size of the orchestra, the staging, the technique, the number of rehearsals. In my case, I try as much as possible to memorize the scores, but above all to establish a connection with each of the musicians in the orchestra. This synergy is essential to achieve a high level of performance. And this comes to fruition during rehearsals. Each musician must seek out the best, the excellence of each of them. Finally, it is the collaborations between the musicians, the staging as well as the technical aspects which will thrill the audience so that they leave with memorable memories.

Music touches us, soothes, energizes. I want to find every possible angle to arouse, bring out emotions in people. The music is powerful. It has the power to act on the soul like a balm. It brings significant events back to life.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My previous experience teaching music has given me a great ability to communicate with people. This is a typical trait of my personality which clearly emerges in the numerous comments from financial partners, my colleagues/musicians as well as the public young and old.

Currently I am conductor and artistic director of an Orchestra in Montreal affiliated with McGill University
with which we offer classical benefit concerts (Sudanese crisis, Ukraine, Cancer Foundation). In addition, I am a guest conductor in various orchestras, festivals and music schools. I was the founder, artistic director and conductor of an audience development project in my region, the south shore of Montreal.

My qualifications include, in addition to doctoral and master’s studies in orchestral and choral conducting, studies in pedagogy and neuroscience. My main instrument is the piano, and I have trained in violin, oboe, french horn, guitar and voice.

Whether it is performing a baroque, classical, romantic, contemporary or popular score, I am above all guided by the sharing of emotions with the musicians of the orchestra. I have the greatest respect for all those who play their instrument in symbiosis with their colleagues. It is important for me to channel this common energy so that it is felt to the fullest by the public.

It is mentioned that I am a musician at heart. Sensitive, precise, that I exude an intensity which is transmitted with passion. Also, that I am said to be dynamic, unifying, creative, rigorous and versatile.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Visiting Montreal means delving into the richness of its neighborhoods and its history. When we land in Montreal, more precisely at the Pierre-Eliott Trudeau International Airport, we see Mount Royal which gives it its name.

For example, we begin to visit downtown Montreal, this is where its dynamism is revealed. Very quickly, we leave the business district for Place des Arts and its cultural abundance, passing by its superb symphonic house with exceptional acoustics. Then we pass through the Latin Quarter, the Chinese Quarter… to end up in Old Montreal, cradle of its history, on the banks of the majestic Saint-Laurent.

Visiting Montreal does not stop there, however, because life takes its course in Little Italy, in the Portuguese quarter, in Parc-Extension and of course on the Plateau Mont-Royal, etc. You will have understood, quality of life, gastronomy, culture and “nightlife”, Montreal brings together all the ingredients to please the many tourists who come to visit this city offering itself district by district, from festival to festival and throughout the four seasons.

Finally, the city is full of restaurants and bars with a friendly atmosphere.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To my dedicated teachers who inspired me during my years of study.

To my family, my friends who have been unwaveringly supportive and who continue to encourage me by attending my concerts.

Also to orchestra general directors, producers and conductors who trust me by inviting me into their programming.

Website: www.veroniquelussier.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/veroniquelussier.conductor/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/v%C3%A9ronique-lussier-1a893832/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veronique.lussier.18/

Image Credits
1- Mlynello Art Photography 2- Photographie sur le vif – Denis Germain 3- Clayton Kennedy 4- Nick Petitot Photography 5- Croc & Robe Photography 6- Copyright free 7- Clayton Kennedy 8- André Chevrier 9- André Chevrier 10- Laurence Lecuyer 11- Laurence Lecuyer 12- Laurence Lecuyer 13- Nick Petitot Photography

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