Published Dec 03, 2020André Gagnon — a Juno Award-winning pianist, conductor and composer — has died. Per multiple sources, label Audiogram confirmed that Gagnon passed away today of Lewy body dementia, surrounded by family. He was 84.
Born in Saint-Pacôme-de-Kamouraska, QC, in 1936, Gagnon began playing piano as a child and was writing his own compositions by age six. In 1961, Gagnon received a government grant to study alongside Yvonne Loriod and returned to Canada the following year to become the accompanist to Claude Léveillée.
Gagnon would share debut album Piano Et Orchestre in 1964 and spend much of the decade as music director, arranger and pianist for a number of Léveillée's solo recordings until stepping out as a soloist in 1969.
While his '60s catalogue included pop-leaning Pour Les Amants and Notre Amour, Gagnon would draw from both classical and popular music for 1969's Mes Quatres Saisons and 1972's Les Turluteries, recorded with the Sinfonia of London and the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, respectively.
Gagnon continued this musical fusion into the 1970s, releasing the all-instrumental Saga in 1974. Follow-up Neiges, released the following year, would capture Gagnon his first Juno for Best Selling Canadian Album of the Year in 1977.
The composer followed Neiges with Le Saint-Laurent in 1977, which captured him another Juno for Instrumental Artist of the Year, along with a second Best Selling Canadian Album nomination, in 1978. That same year, Gagnon was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his "exceptional contribution to music."
Gagnon continued to tour the world and compose for film, television and orchestra in the years to come, with his most recent album 2016's Les voix intérieures. The artist was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2018.