Lagacé, Mireille

Mireille Lagacé (nee Bégin), organist, harpsichordist, teacher (b at St-Jérôme, Qué, 8 Jun 1935). Lagacé studied in Montréal with Germaine Malépart (piano), Conrad Letendre (organ), and Gabriel Cusson (theory). A Québec government scholarship allowed her to travel to Austria in 1956, where she studied organ with Anton Heiller and choir conducting with Hans Gillesberger. Between 1957 and 1962 she continued organ and harpsichord studies with her husband, Bernard Lagacé, and was an active member in Ars Organi, a Montréal society of organists that she co-founded in 1960. It is through her affiliation with this group that she helped to reawaken interest in baroque organ in Montréal. In 1964 she founded the Ensemble Couperin-le-Grand.

Lagacé has received numerous awards, including first prize in 1959 at the John-Robb Organ Competition at the Montréal Centre. She was laureate of the Munich 1962 (for organ) and Geneva 1962, 1965 (organ and harpsichord) international competitions, and received the Victor M. Lynch-Staunton Award in 1977 through the Canada Council. Lagacé is not only a highly esteemed performer, but also a teacher. She taught organ and harpsichord at the University of Montreal from 1967 to 1972, was an organ teacher at the New England Conservatory in Boston from 1970 to 1980, and has taught the harpsichord and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal since 1973. She has also taught at several summer music camps, including the JMC Mount Orford Art Centre (Montréal) in 1974-80, Vancouver Baroque Workshops, Music Choate Seminars in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1970-80, CAMMAC music centre in 1964-74, the Organ Academy of Saint-Dié in France (1980), and has given many master classes.

Lagacé has been invited to perform in European festivals, such as the Festival de Bruges in 1978, le Festival de Toulouse F. Badi in 1981, and Festival de Paris in 1982. In Canada, she has done extensive work as a soloist and ensemble performer (Ensemble Baroque de Montréal and the Ensemble Claude-Gervaise), playing on CBC television and Radio-Canada. In the U.S. she has performed through the American Guild of Organists. In 1988 she began to perform on the fortepiano, on which she has developed a particular fondness for playing Mozart concertos. Dedications to Lagacé have included Jean Papineau-Couture's Dyarchie, which she premiered in 1971 in Boston, and Thanatopsis (1981) by Jean Lesage.

For the Calliope label (Paris) she recorded a large number of J.S. Bach's harpsichord works, French symphonic works for organ for CBC International, and Dietrich Buxtehude's complete works (a joint project with Bernard Lagacé) for the Titanic label.