Obituary: Canadian Composer Jacques Hétu, 71

Posted on: February 11, 2010

In Wednesday’s (2/10) Montreal Gazette, Arthur Kaptainis writes, “Jacques Hétu, one of Canada’s most prolific and widely performed composers, died Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in his home in the Laurentian town of Saint-Hippolyte after a long battle with cancer. The former professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal was 71. Active to the end, Hétu on Jan. 31 accepted in person an Opus award conferred by the Conseil Québécois de la musique. He also attended the Jan. 14 premiere of his Concerto for Two Guitars by the Orchestre Métropolitain under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. On March 3 the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will premiere his Fifth Symphony under the baton of TSO music director Peter Oundjian. It was not known yesterday whether this commission—his Op. 81—is his last completed work. … In an era that prized experimentalism, he represented dedication to old-fashioned craftsmanship and a preference for traditional forms, particularly concertos, of which he wrote at least 20. … As an orchestrator Hétu could be evocative, as in Images de la Révolution, a 1989 reflection on the French Revolution, which the conductor Charles Dutoit brought to both the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic; or playful, as in the Concerto for Three Pianos, premiered by the MSO last May with Kent Nagano on the podium.”

Posted February 11, 2010