Jean-François Laporte

Photo of Jean-François Laporte

Jean-François Laporte

Artistic Director
Totem Contemporain

As a Canadian artist, Jean-François Laporte has been an active member of the contemporary art's scene since the mid-1990's. He pursues a hybrid approach integrating visual arts and sound exploration.

Le Tératome
White Spirit
Les mots aussi peuvent mourir
L'oeil de la forêt
Tu-Yo Afrika
Écoute, rivière qui marche
Spiral Winds

Taking an intuitive approach to create music, Laporte learns art through concrete experimentation on matter. His unique artistic vision relies on an active listening of each sound, object, material, etc. Thus his art is the result of working in complicity with raw material, proposing constructions born of each material he explores. His work is characterized by a large diversity of sound sources, aesthetic quality concerns, as well as an undeniable peculiarity.

Since the year he began to be involved in arts, in 1993 (at 25 years old), Jean-François has written some 80 works that have been performed in Montreal, across Canada and Europe, Japan and the United States. A number of his pieces have been commissioned by Montreal-based and international ensembles and organizations, and he has won several awards and grants from such institutions as the Canada Council and the Québec Council for the Arts. The composer has also won several awards including, in 2002, “Composer Of The Year,” “Creation Of The Year,” (for his work Tribal, for orchestra of invented instruments) and “Discovery Of The Year” as part of the Opus awards (from the Conseil québécois de la musique), in 2003, his work Prana received first prize in the mixed music category of the 23rd International Luigi Russolo electroacoustic music competition (Italy) and, in 2004, the first prize in electroacoustic music for the international competition Citta’ di Udine’ with his work Dans le ventre du dragon. In 2006 Laporte won agains the award’s “Creation Of The Year”, (for his work Plenitude of emptinesse, for Quasar sax quartet and invented instruments). In 2006 Productions Totem Contemporain (he his the General and Artistic director) receive the Music Award during the Grand prix du Conseil des Arts de Montréal.

For the past twenty years, along with his activities as a composer, Jean-François has been developing and making new musical instruments (Tu-Yo, Bowl, FlyingCan, Siren Organ, Vibrating Membrane, Acoustic Oscillator, Tube, the Pipe, Sax-trunk,) which he integrates in his works and, since 2002, to visual & sound installations using computerized and robotized controls. These inventions have brought the composer to create several commissioned works such as from the French CBC (L'éveil d'un Titan for the Silophone project designed by The User,) from Code d'Accès (Tribal), from IRCAM in Paris (Vortex) and from Quasar/SMCQ (Plenitude of emptinesse , opening concert for the festival Montréal Nouvelle Musique 2005, Psukô a 25 min piece for the Orchestre National de France and a Sound Installation), with invented instruments; from Fonderie Darling (Khôra) and Escales Improbables (Tremblement de mer) with sound installations. In may 2007, Laporte exposed for 2 mounth his new visual & sound installation call Kyokkoufu (for Robotize FlyingCan) in the Contemporary Arts Museum of Santiago de Compostella (CGAC - Spain). In october 2014 Laporte exhibit his Visual and Sound Installation call QI during the Tonlagen Arts Festival in Hellerau (Dresde-Germany).

Increasingly, these inventions are drawing attention in the theatrical and visual arts circles. Not only have they been the centerpieces of numerous tours they have opened up new opportunities in the areas of contemporary music and dance. In 2002, choreographer Susan Buirge, supported by the Abbey of Royaumont, commissioned a 43-minute electroacoustic work featuring invented instruments, L'œil de la forêt, and the Japanese choreographer Heidi S. Durning has called upon him to compose the music of several of her projects, including Sound Dance, Spiral Wind, Kimono Series and Ruby. In 2015 he create Memory of a Shadows with the Canadian choreographer Sioned Watkins and also Le Tératome with the French choreographer Fréderic Tavernini. Moreover, a great number of composers have taken to integrate his inventions to their works, notably the Sweden Jesper Nordin for a commission from the Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester (Residues) and the Briton Johnathan Harvey for a commission from dance company Ma-To-Ma.

Since 2000, while dedicating a lot of energy to invented new musical instruments, visual & sound installations, the composer is still very active in the creation of works for traditional instruments but very often used in a non-traditional manner; for example, works such as Le chant de l'inaudible for Quasar Saxophone quartet), Prana (Nouvel Ensemble Moderne), and Procession for Roman organ (Royaumont Abbey - France). In 2013 he composed Parfums de pourrières for Ensemble Transmission (Canada). In 2018 Laporte compose Le feu du métal a 10min piece for 14 percusion player and 12 Vibrating Plates (4'X10' Stanless Steel). Laporte works now on Inside your bones, a 60min piece for Ensemble Ars Nova (France) mixed with an installation of 12 Vibrating Metal Sheet and the choreographer Benjamin Bertrand.

In 2009, Laporte was named "Facteur d'Instrument de musique de l'année" by the CQM (Conseil Québécois de la Musique), thus receiving his fifth "prix Opus". This prize aims at the recognition of the quality of Laporte's work and the importance of the invention of his own musical instruments. In March 2017, Laporte was invited by the CNMAT (Center for New Music and Audio Technoligies) University of Berkeley-USA for 2 weeks as Regent Lecturer. The composer is doctor music Composition (PhD made at the University of Huddersfield (UK) with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay). The musical work’s of Jean-François Laporte are edited on Babel Scores Edition, (contemporary Music online).

Cover of Musicworks with a photo of Jean-François Laporte

Learn more

Read the article on Jean-François Laporte by Richard Simas in the magazine Musicworks, issue 113.