Biography

LOUIS BABIN, COMPOSER

Louis Babin’s work has been acclaimed in Canada and abroad. His 2015 album features his symphonic piece Saint Exupery : of Heart, of Sand and of Soul, an hommage to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the publication of which was supported by the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. The album received outstanding reviews: “particularly elegant and full of tenderness” (Sonograma), “hauntingly beautiful” (Music & Vision), “…some fine music by a composer we should be hearing more from” (The WholeNote), and “creativity and colours that charm the listener immediately” (La Scena Musicale).

Many music ensembles and performers have commissioned or performed Louis Babin’s works, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, McGill Chamber Orchestra, Laval Symphony Orchestra, Eurochestries Festival (Europe), Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Strasbourg, the Molinari Quartet, the American Festival of Microtonal Music (New York), and the French violinist Marie Cantagrill (France), to name a few.

Louis Babin is known for his modern, playful, accessible, and cinematographic works. He received a special mention from the World Music Competition IBLA Grand Prize (Italy) and was a finalist in the Canadian Music Centre Composer Competition – Quebecor.
To make life meaningful

We are all looking for meaning in our lives. This constant search is at the heart of what drives my creativity - immersing myself in images and symbols, working with them to give them significance.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to reshape everything around me in my own way. As a child I would spend hours playing with pipe-cleaners, creating characters inspired by my television heroes, then inventing stories for them to act out.

At age nine my parents enrolled me in piano and trumpet lessons. How I loved to improvise on the black keys on the keyboard! The pentatonic scale produced exotic colours that made me dream. This was the prelude to my musical studies, when the alto, then the trumpet and composing lived inside me, body and soul, for years.

During my education I conducted my first musical experiments in theatre. In the role of composer I experienced a new relationship with the stage that had a profound influence on me. Merging music with a text, a scene and the interplay of actors afforded me the opportunity to create a special emotional link with an audience. But it was more than that; in the intrinsic beauty of sound I discovered the emotional power connecting music with characters, situations, places - connections felt in the deepest personal way by each individual member of the audience.

And then film! It was natural for me to follow this creative thread within the seventh art. Immersing myself in music for the cinema, it was as if a new world was opening to me with its technical language and tools: the computer, the sampler, the synchronizing of the music with the image. It was an exciting period, rich in discovery.

During those years of learning and creating I was primarily focused on my career as a trumpeter, working in all genres: classical, contemporary, jazz, pop, and the music of the cultural moment. I spent a good deal of time outside the country, enriching my palette of musical styles and colour. However, I felt something being born inside me, a desire spreading through me on an ever deeper level to finally be the master of my own stories. A critical moment of choosing arrived, as agonizing as it was liberating. I finally set aside my trumpet and devoted myself to composing and conducting.

This motivated a return to my studies and led to a decisive encounter: with my mentor and friend the composer Michel Longtin. The deep respect and admiration Michel felt for Sibelius, Bernstein and Goldsmith clearly illustrates the relationship between what they call “serious” music and the music of film. If in cinema or theatre the music serves the story created by another, in concert music the composer plays a central role in the story structure, including within the narrative thread. As I did in childhood when playing with my little pipe-cleaner men, I could now do in the role of musical narrator and become master of the tale!

From that point on I have worked to refine and redefine the narrative style of my music. Saint-Exupéry : de cœur, de sable et d’étoiles is a symphonic poem interpreting the life of the pilot-writer in three movements. L’Indécis, for a soloist playing six trumpets and orchestra, sees an individual confronting the different facets of his personality in a quest to know his deepest self.Phœnix, for violin and string orchestra, shows transformation in a life moving in a new direction after a life-altering choice or illness. Je suis l’Âme fauchée, for orchestra, was inspired by the Paris attacks in 2015, illustrating an innocent victim bearing witness to the atrocity from a table in a café… until he is engulfed in it.
These works are unique and varied, but they are created from the same vision. Which is: to not be content merely to charm, but to touch the soul each time.

This is how I give meaning to my life.