I studied compsoition at the university for quite a while and I was asked to apply a whole set of pre-established rules. I was always wondering why should I master all those principles as I don’t really want to compose like Mozart? Unfortunately, most of my teachers never explained why those rules actually existed and what was their purpose. It was really annoying as it is very important to adapt harmony, counterpoint and orchestration to modern and personal composition.
From that time, I committed myself to find answers to those questions by studying Music Perception, Music Psychology and Psychoacoustics. It helped me better understand music and thus, it became easier to explain why those principles are good for your music even though it may not be obvious.
Thus, I propose a teaching approach in which I will talk to you about Music perception, but also about expectations and acoustics. I will help you to create expectations and control them in order to thwart them at the right moment to generate drama in your music. It can be done by combining musical forces from harmony, counterpoint, orchestration and formal construction.
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“I hired Olivier Gagnon as an orchestration mentor a few times. Each time it was very fruitful. He
is an excellent teacher knowing orchestration and composition toroughly and in depth. Always listening, he successefully helped me get the best of my scores, while giving many advices that was very useful for my following projects. "
Guillaume St-Laurent - Pianist, arranger and composer
Olivier Gagnon is a Canadian composer who accomplished a Doctorate in Musical Art in composition at the Université de Montréal, supervised by Alan Belkin and Caroline Traube. Additionally, he made an internship in composition for wind symphony with the composers Jan van der Roost and Luc van Hove at the Lemmensinstituut in Belgium.
He was awarded many regional and international prizes. Among those, he won the Concorso internazionale di composizione "Romualdo Marenco" - sezione per Banda, as well as the first prize in the senior category of the International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition. He also won the second prize of the International Composition Competition Harelbeke and the third prize of the Prix collégien de musique contemporaine. Olivier Gagnon’s music is performed in many countries including Canada, France, Belgium, Czech Republic and Italy, as well as in festivals like the World Saxophone Congress and Festival – Saxopen.
He teaches music analysis and harmony at the Université du Québec à Montréal as a lecturer since 2019 and has been teaching assistant for harmony, music analysis, orchestration and modern composition techniques at the Université de Montréal for many years.
Additionally, Olivier Gagnon conducts research on music perception of emotions. He presented his work in the Midwestern Music Cognition Symposium in Columbus, Ohio and at the Milestones in music Cognition in Montreal. He also won the Research Popularization article competition of the Société québécoise de recherche en musique.