Jean Papineau-Couture (1916-2000)

1994 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Classical Music)

Seldom has someone been so passionate for music. Born into a musical family, Jean Papineau-Couture began composing at age six. Despite his celebrated role as a teacher and music administrator, creating his own music has always been at the centre of his life.

Today, he declares with his well-known gentle wit, "When I am no longer composing, I shall be decomposing!". Nadia Boulanger was among his important teachers and through her he made an intense study of the works of Stravinsky. He met Stravinsky at the home of U.S. patron Arthur Sachs and the two musicians lunched often, exploring the universe of music together. Papineau-Couture became expert in the compositional techniques of others, such as Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, but he laughingly calls himself an avowed "Stravinskyist," admitting the great Russian's music touched him most. Cultivated, intuitive and a wonderful craftsman, Papineau-Couture has produced a rich and plentiful body of work.

As a teacher he has been an important influence on many of our leading artists. A former Dean of the Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal, he has been a founding member of many Canadian musical organizations. He has won the Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée and the Canadian Music Council Medal.