Montreal native Charles-Eric Fontaine is an active conductor and oboist. He obtained a bachelor in oboe performance, followed by a Masters degree in conducting from McGill University in 2021. He studied with the renowned pedagogue Alain Cazes and worked also closely with Guillaume Bourgogne, Alexis Hauser and Lorraine Vaillancourt. His academic involvement allows him to conduct the Contemporary Music Ensemble as well as the McGill Wind Orchestra, where he will conduct among others Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques, Varèse’s Octandre and several premieres by student composers. In addition, he holds the position of performance representative within the McGill Association of Student Composers.
In parallel with his studies, Charles-Eric joined the Canadian Music Centre in Quebec, where he has been greatly exposed to the music of composers from his native region. He was immersed in the music of many of them, including Zosha Di Castri, Brian Cherney, François Morel, Claude Vivier and Nicole Lizée. He also values the works by young composers, working continually with students in the McGill University composition program. The strong bond he will have with them will allow him to conduct the premiere of more than a dozen works during his studies. Finally, his love for new music will be confirmed when he will take part in a composition seminar with Philippe Leroux, who will introduce him to new listening dimensions in new music.
Charles-Eric is a versatile conductor with a strong interest in early music, as well as romantic and contemporary orchestral music. He has collaborated on several occasions with the Montreal sextet Paramirabo for studio recordings and workshops with emerging composers. In 2021, he is invited to conduct the premiere of a piece for mezzo-soprano and ensemble by young composer Marilou Buron in a concert at the IRCAM Forum in Montreal, and as part of the ACTOR research project directed by Stephen McAdams, he records works by Pedram Diba, Alex Blank and Quentin Lauvray. During the summer of 2019, the young conductor will work on Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and perform works by Webern and Haydn in Schloss Laudon in Vienna with the Wien Sinfonietta. With the oboe, he will have had the opportunity to learn from Theodore Baskin, Maurice Bourgue, Jacqueline Leclair, Daniel Stolper, Louise Pellerin and Eugene Izotov.
Charles-Eric’s upcoming projects include a workshop with Divertimento Ensemble in Italy on works by Rihm, Kagel, Solbiati and Birtwistle, and the establishment of an interdisciplinary artistic collective in the Montreal area.