Walter Boudreau

(b. 1947, Montréal, Québec).

Canadian composer of orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works that have been performed in Europe and North America; he is also active as a conductor.

Mr. Boudreau initially studied piano and saxophone, but later studied analysis with Bruce Mather at McGill University in Montréal, analysis and composition with Gilles Tremblay at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal and analysis and composition with Serge Garant at the Université de Montréal from 1969–73.

Among his honours as a composer are First Prize in the competition for young composers of the CBC (1974), the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music from the Canada Council for the Arts (1982), the Grand Prix Paul Gilson from CRPLF in Paris (1991), four Prix Opus from the Conseil québécois de la musique in Montréal (Compositeur de l'année, 1999; Événement musical de l'année, 2001, for La Symphonie du millénaire [shared with 19 composers]; Directeur artistique de l'année and Événement musical de l'année, both 2004, both shared with Denys Bouliane, both for the biannual festival Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques), and the Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts (2003). Among his honours as a conductor are the Grand Prix from the Conseil des Arts de la Communauté Urbaine de Montréal (1991) and the Meilleur Album de l'Année in the category Musique Contemporaine from the Conseil québécois de la musique (1997). He was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec (2013). His music has been performed in Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Poland, and the USA.

As a conductor, his specialty is contemporary music. He became leader of his own jazz quartet in 1965. He co-founded with the poet Raôul Duguay the interdisciplinary ensemble Infonie in 1968, serving as its conductor until it disbanded in 1973. He has served as artistic director of the ensemble and organisation Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) in Montréal since 1988.

He is also active in other positions. He served a term as composer-in-residence to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1990–93 and served as co-director with Denys Bouliane of the annual festival for contemporary music Musiques-au-présent of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec from 1998–2000. He has served as co-artistic coordinator with Denys Bouliane of the biannual festival Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques since 2003.

In addition to the works listed below, he has composed more than fifteen scores for dance and films.


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Ubiquital II, small orchestra (23 players), 1972

Ubiquital III, small orchestra (15 players), 1972

Morceaux, string orchestra, 1976

Incantations Va (Le Cercle gnostique IXd), 12 strings, 1985–86

Berliner Momente I, 1988

Tradiderunt me in manus impiorum I, 1989

Tradiderunt me in manus impiorum II, large orchestra, 1991

Berliner Momente II, 1991

Berliner Momente III, large orchestra, 1992–93

Le Matin des magiciens (Incantations VII [Le Cercle gnostique IXh]), gamelan, 1995–96

Berliner Momente IV, large orchestra, 1996–97

La Vie d'un héros, violin, string orchestra, 1998–99


Ubiquital I, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 4 saxophones, 4 French horns, 4 violins, 4 cellos, prepared clavinet, percussion, 1971

Variations I, piccolo (+ tenor saxophone), flute (+ alto saxophone), soprano saxophone, trombone, electric guitar, amplified double bass, piano (+ celesta), 3 percussion, 1973–75

Les Sept Jours, 8 percussion, 1977

L'Odyssée du soleil (Le Cercle gnostique III), 2 French horns, piccolo trumpet, 3 trumpets, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, 1978

Incantations I (Le Cercle gnostique IV), 4 saxophones, 1979

Amon- (Le Cercle gnostique V), 5 Ondes Martenot, 1979

Demain les étoiles (Le Cercle gnostique VI), 12 saxophones, 1980

Contact-Itinéraires (Le Cercle gnostique VII), flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1981

La Toc (Le Cercle gnostique VIIa), 12 percussion, 1981

Carrousel-Constellations (Le Cercle gnostique VIII), flute (+ piccolo), cello, 2 pianos (both + celesta), percussion, 1982

Voyage au centre du soleil (Le Cercle gnostique IX), 4 trumpets (1st, 2nd + piccolo trumpet), 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, percussion, 1983

Cocktail Music (Musiques entre 5 et 7), alto saxophone (+ percussion), percussion, 1983

Coffre IIIa (Incantations IV [Le Cercle gnostique I]), flute/clarinet, cello, piano, 1978–84, revised 1993

Incantations III (Le Cercle gnostique IXa), 2 piccolos (both + flute), 2 flutes (both + alto flute), 2 oboes (2nd + English horn), 2 clarinets (2nd + bass clarinet), bassoon, contrabassoon, 1983–84

Lent(e) ré concentr(e)ré à la Boudrini, bagpipes, ensemble (oboe [+ English horn], bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, 2 percussion), 1984 (section of La Folia, a collaboration with numerous composers; may be performed separately)

Chaleurs, 4 saxophones, fixed media, 1985

Incantations V (Le Cercle gnostique IXc), flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1985

Hommage à Ste.-Cécile, 4 French horns, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 tubas, 4 percussion, 1987

Versus, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 French horns, trumpet, trombone, piano, 3 percussion, 1987

Wallongements, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, bass clarinet, alto saxophone (+ soprano saxophone), tuba, 2 synthesizers, 1988

Encore ces questions sans réponse..., 2 piccolos, oboe, E-flat clarinet, clarinet, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, 4 percussion, 1991

Contact II, French horn, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1992

Neuf Zéniths I (Incantations VI [Le Cercle gnostique IXf]), flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet, French horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1992

Encan-Tension, trumpet, 2 trombones, percussion, 1993

Neuf Zéniths II (Incantations VIa [Le Cercle gnostique IXg]), flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet, French horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, piano, 2 percussion, 1994–95

Le Diable dans le beffroi, flute (+ piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1997–98

Le Grand Méridien, string quartet, 2001–02


Pain-Beurre, 5 mixed voices, piano, synthesizer, percussion, fixed media, feedback, 1969

Coffre II (Le Cercle gnostique II), 12 basses, large orchestra, 1975

Golgot(h)a, voice, mixed chorus, 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, bass trombone, tuba, organ, 5 percussion, sampler, 1990

La Symphonie du millénaire, choruses, organ, carillon, 15 church bells (2000 bell ringers), 2 fire trucks, large orchestra (333 players), fixed media, 1999–2000 (collaboration with 19 composers)

Golgot(h)a (Le Voyage), mezzo-soprano, mixed chorus, orchestra, 1999–2002


Ysengouronnie, speaker, 2 flutes, clarinet, soprano saxophone, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, percussion, fixed media, 1970–71

Variations II, Dans les champs il y a des bibittes, soprano, orchestra, 1973–74, revised 1983

Coffre I, soprano, flute/soprano saxophone, oboe (+ English horn)/alto saxophone, French horn/tenor saxophone, trombone/baritone saxophone, 2 percussion, 1975

Coffre III (Le Cercle gnostique I), soprano, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), guitar, 1976–77


Les Planètes (Le Cercle gnostique IXe), 1984–98