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Rachel Laurin: Biography

Rachel Laurin
1961 -
Region: Québec

Rachel Laurin

RACHEL LAURIN, organist, composer and improviser, was born in l96l, in St-Benoît, Province of Quebec, Canada. After her studies at the Montreal Conservatory, she became Associate Organist at St-Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal (1986-2002), and from 2002 to 2006, she was Titular Organist at Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa. She now devotes herself to composition, recitals, master classes and lectures.

She has performed organ recitals in major cities in Canada, the United States and Europe, and has made more than twelve recordings on Motette, Musicus, Musicus/Fidelio, Analekta, SRC (Radio-Canada), Riche Lieu, BND, and Raven labels. In 2000 in Montreal, and 2001 in Ottawa, she played the Six Organ Symphonies by Louis Vierne in three recitals. In 2002, at the inauguration of the Edmonton Winspear Centre’s new Létourneau organ, she performed the Premiere of Jacques Hétu’s Concerto for Organ with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mario Bernardi. She presented this same work at the Ottawa National Arts Center in 2008, and in Toronto, at Metropolitan United Church, during the Centennial Convention of the RCCO in June, 2009. She also performed Raymond Daveluy’s Organ Concerto at the RCCO National Convention in Hamilton in 1999.

Rachel Laurin is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre. She has composed more than a hundred works for various instruments, instrumental ensembles and orchestra. These works have been performed and recorded in major cities in America, Europe, Asia and South Africa. Her compositions are published by Doberman, RCCO Music Publications (Canada), Europart (France), Hinshaw Music and Wayne Leupold Editions (USA) where she has been “House Composer” since 2006. She has won many awards, including the « Prix Conrad-Letendre », the Holtkamp-AGO Composition Award in 2008, and the first Prize in the Marilyn Mason New Organ Music Competition in 2009. She is frequently invited to major organ festivals as organist and composer and was a recitalist at the AGO National Convention in 2008 (St.Paul/Minneapolis, MN), and a commissioned composer for the AGO National Convention in 2010, in Washington, D.C. She also presented the opening gala recital of the RCCO Centenary National Convention in Toronto in 2009.

Rachel Laurin is well known as an improviser, and she has had many opportunities to teach this art in many schools and academies: at the Montreal Conservatory, in Épinal, France, in many RCCO and AGO workshops, in Calgary as a Faculty Member at the Mount Royal Summer Academy, where she was also in charge of a composition class; in the Summer Institute of Church Music (Whitby, ON) and others. In November 2009, and March 2010, she was “Distinguished Guest Artist” at Yale University (New Haven, CT), invited as a lecturer, teacher and concert artist. Her recent activities as a composer included her Fantasy and Fugue on the Genevan Psalm 47, for organ duet, Op.62, Premiered at the Edmonton Winspear Centre, by Majoya duet, in September 2012; compositions and Premieres of works for organ and oboe (St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY), solo organ, and voice and piano, among others. A feature-length program devoted to her was broadcast by American Public Media’s PIPEDREAMS presented by Michael Barone, in October 2012. In July 2013, Ken Cowan commissioned and Premiered her Étude-Caprice, Op.66 (“Beelzebub’s Laugh”), in Austin, TX, at the AGO Region VII Convention. A new recording including some of her solo organ music, her Fantasia for organ and harp, and her Sonata for organ and horn, has been released by Raven label, spring 2013.


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