Creation

Marie-Hélène Breault works in the field of music creation as a composer, in addition to being very active as a flutist. Several collaborations marked her career, notably with electroacoustic artist Martin Bédard, with whom she co-composed three works. 

Replica, an acousmatic piece composed in 2013 with support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), was presented at the following festivals: Erreur de type 27 (Quebec, Canada), Akousma (Montreal, Canada), Sonorities (Belfast, UK), Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Korea), New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (USA), Diffrazioni (Florence, Italy), and San Francisco Tape Music Festival (USA). This work was also a finalist in the international composition competitions Métamorphoses (Belgium) and Città di Udine (Italy) in 2014, in addition to winning 3rd Prize at the Iannis Xenakis composition competition in 2017.

The mixed work II:Extensio:Warm:Up:II, composed in 2017 with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA), was presented in Quebec by Erreur de type 27 and in Leeds at the Sounds Like This Festival. Folia-Praeludium, composed with support from the Conseil des arts de Longueuil, will be premiered in the fall of 2022 as part of the Vivier Mobile project. Replica and II:Extensio:Warm:Up:II can be heard on the album Lames de fonds released by Empreintes DIGITALes.

In addition to these duo projects, Breault’s collaborative practice includes writing the music and dance performance Quelques arbres seulement (2014) with Martin Bédard, Katia Makdissi-Warren (KMW) and choreographer Annie Gagnon, as well as composing the concert-length work Chants du prophète (2012) with KMW and stage director Hanna Abd El Nour.

Those works are inspired by various phenomena—temporal (continuity versus transformation), natural (resilience of the plant world) and sociological (fear of emptiness and silence so typical of our time)—and by more specifically musical themes (virtuosity, ornamentation). They are built according to a method of composition that combines experimentation and abstraction through the use of improvisations that generate sound materials, motives and musical elements, which are then transformed and rewritten using various (re)compositional processes.

Breault, though she does not intend to abandon co-composition, is currently transitioning to a solo writing practice. Her current projects include Tact, a piece for flute quartet and electroacoustics she has produced with KMW, Martin Bédard and Guy Pelletier with support from the CCA, as well as a joint commission from Oktoécho and Les Plaisirs du clavecin. This work is scored for recorder, harpsichord, baroque cello and oud. Here, Breault freely remodels idioms and composition styles from the past to create new sonic elements that transcend playing conventions.

Marie-Hélène Breault is also an arranger, a practice that allows her to shed new light on key works from various eras, on a continuum ranging from simple transcription/re-orchestration to a more in-depth rewriting approach akin to “asynchronous co-composition.” Among her notable achievements are Dialogue de l’écho, a version for flute quartet of KMW’s Dialogue du silence, as well as arrangements for flutes and piano of John Rea’s Las Meninas and Portrait of a Man in Elysian Fields, hommage à Morton Feldman, as well as José Evanglista’s Monodías españolas and Nuevas monodías españolas completed for her duo with pianist Panela Reimer with support from the CCA.

Finally, Breault’s approach to musical creation is currently supported by a (re)new(ed) interest in—and humble dilettante practice of—the visual and decorative arts.