François Morel, composer, pianist, professor, conductor (born 14 March 1926 in Montréal; died 14 January 2018). François Morel was one of the few composers to have received his education predominantly in Québec, where he studied with Claude CHAMPAGNE and Jean PAPINEAU-COUTURE. He travelled to New York to meet for composition lessons with Edgard Varèse. His composing career began with Antiphonie (1953), which was premiered at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. With other musicians, including Serge GARANT, he presented groundbreaking concerts of contemporary music during the mid-1950s. He worked for over 25 years as a composer of radio and television music and as a musical consultant researcher and program host for the Société Radio-Canada.
Morel's works, which pay particular attention to rhythmic pulse and orchestration, have been performed and recorded in North America, the Far East and Europe by renowned conductors and soloists. In 1978 he co-founded the Éditions Québec Musique with Louis Laplante, now a special series in the Doberman-Yppan publishers' catalogue.He taught at Université Laval in Québec City from 1979 to 1997 as a professor of composition. While at Laval, he conducted an ensemble of 12 flutes, an ensemble of 15 brass instruments, and the Ensemble Contemporain Bois et Cuivres et Percussions du Québec.
Several organizations and orchestras have commissioned works by François Morel: the CBC, the SMCQ, the Montréal and Edmonton symphony orchestras, and the Toronto Guitar Society. Among Morel's most acclaimed works are Mélisma, L'Étoile noire, Jeux, Radiance, Aux marges du silence and L'Oiseau-demain. During their 1987-88 season, the ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTRÉAL, under the direction of Charles DUTOIT, commissioned and premiered Morel's piece for large wind ensemble entitled Aux couleurs du ciel. In 1997, he released a CD entitled Musique à l'Université Laval (SNE label).
François Morel became a Knight of the NATIONAL ORDER OF QUEBEC in 1994, and won the Denise Pelletier Prize at the Prix du Québec awards in 1996. In 2000, Université Laval conferred him with the title of Professor Emeritus, and in 2001 he received the "prix d'excellence des Arts et de la Culture" from the Fondation de L'ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE QUÉBEC. The OSM celebrated Morel's 80th birthday during its 2005-06 concert season with the commission and premiere of his orchestral work Passage à l'Aube.