Jacques Hétu

From Wind Repertory Project
Jacques Hétu


Jacques Hétu (8 August 1938, Trois-Rivières, Quebec – 9 February 2010, St-Hippolyte, Quebec) was a French Canadian composer.

Hétu began his musical studies at the University of Ottawa where he also studied Gregorian chant with Father Jules Martel. He continued his training at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec à Montréal from 1956 to 1961, where his courses included composition and counterpoint with Clermont Pépin, harmony with Isabelle Delorme and fugue with Jean Papineau-Couture. In the summer of 1959, he enrolled in Lukas Foss’s composition course at the Berkshire Music Centre at Tanglewood, Massachusetts. Thanks to the Prix d’Europe, the Quebec Music Festivals Prize and a Canada Council grant, the young artist left for Paris in 1961 to study composition with Henri Dutilleux at the École normale de musique (1961-63) and analysis with Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire de Paris (1962-63). Those very fruitful years of learning enabled him to refine his writing techniques and produced several works including two symphonies, a Prélude for orchestra, Op. 5, and a Trio for flute, oboe and harpsichord, Op.3 no.2.

In 1963, Jacques Hétu returned to Canada and embarked on his teaching career at the Université Laval (1963-77), where he taught courses in music literature, analysis, orchestration and composition. He began teaching music analysis at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1979 and also became the director of its music department from 1980 to 1982 and from 1986 to 1988. In both 1972 and 1978, Hétu was also invited to teach composition courses at the Université de Montréal.

A world-reputed artistic talent, Hétu was commissioned to compose numerous works throughout Canada. In 1990, the composer accompanied Pinchas Zukerman and The National Arts Centre Orchestra on a major European tour during which they performed his Symphony No. 3 and Antinomie. He was nominated for a 1989 Juno Award in the Best Classical Composition category. In 1989, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2001 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Works for Winds