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Organ masters to play during Foire Brayonne

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick –Friends of the Organ of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Edmundston will present two recitals during the Foire Brayonne. Dom Richard Gagne will play Wednesday, July 27, and Raymond Perrin on Thursday, July 28.

Raymond Perrin

Raymond Perrin

Both recitals will be at 7 p.m. This will be the 17th presentation of the Friends of the Organ, established in 1995 to promote the great cathedral organ and maintain its good operating condition for the enjoyment of citizens and music lovers here and abroad.

The program will include pieces by Bach, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Wagner and Purcell. Cameras will capture the play of the organists’ hands and feet. Everything will be projected on the big screen.

The choice of organists is the result of close collaboration with Jean-Guy Proulx, the master organist who impressed so many spectators at the recital last year. He will be present again this year and will provide a presentation on the functioning of the organ Friday, July 29. Interested parties should reserve a space for this presentation by contacting Melanie Martin at 737-8950.

Dom Richard Gagne

Dom Richard Gagne

Gagné was born in 1954 in L’Islet-sur-Mer, Quebec. He studied music at the Music Conservatory of Quebec from 1969-76, obtaining his first prize in organ, harmony, music history and musicology. From 1987-90 he completed his training in writing, composition and music analysis, counterpoint and fugue. His teachers included Claude Lavoie Noella Genest, Pierick Houdy, Irene Brisson and Pierre Genest.

He entered the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 1984. Along with his monastic and theological formation, he studied organ with Dom André Laberge and trained with Raymond Daveluy.

He has performed across Quebec, and CBC has broadcast many of his improvisations. In 1991 and 1994 he was invited to teach improvisation at a sacred music session in France and was twice judge of the Organ Competition of Quebec (1995-2011).

Finally, Gagné succeeded Dom Jean Claire as choirmaster at the Abbey of Solesmes, a position he held from 1996-2003, while organist of the same abbey from 1998. He is currently choirmaster and organist at the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac.

A native of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Raymond Perrin first studied piano at the Conservatoire de Trois-Rivières in the class of Antoine Reboulot. Asked to play the organ in his parish from its 10th year, he enrolled with organ instructors Bernard Piché and Noella Genest, and also Raymond Daveluy for improvisation.

With grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, he went to Strasbourg, where he studied with Daniel Roth, current holder of the great organ of St. Sulpice in Paris. He received the Prime Organ Award at the Interregional Contest of eastern France in Nancy in 1982, and the Prime National Competition Award of the Royal Canadian College of Organists in Ottawa in 1983.

For more than 20 years he has been part of the liturgical organist team of the Basilica of Cap-de-la-Madeleine. He is heard as soloist in Quebec, the United States and Europe, and has recorded several programs for public radio in Canada and the United States.

Organ professor at the Conservatoire Trois-Rivières, Perrin directs the chorus and is also choirmaster at the Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières and founding conductor of the Ensemble Vocalys. Since 2004, he has been professor of choral activities at the University of Montreal.

A composer in his spare time, he has written works for organ, voice, piano, chamber music and also some for choir and large orchestra.

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