Bessette: Leave a legacy for those who follow

Share every note of your passion with the world, Louise Bessette encouraged graduates at the Monday morning session of Western’s 307th Convocation.

“What we accomplish during our lifetime is very important and, I must say, it becomes even more important when we realize our accomplishments are left in legacy to the people who come after us,” she said. “With them, we become part of history.”

“This wonderful honour is not merely an achievement – it gives me the energy to keep going. I wish to share with the world my passion for music, and to share with music lovers the emotion I feel in every note I play.”

Bessette spoke to graduates from the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Don Wright Faculty of Music and School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the Monday, June 20, morning session of Western’s 307th Convocation.

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Western conferred an honorary Doctor of Music, honoris causa, upon Bessette in celebration of her renowned career, the excellence of her performances and her commitment to promoting contemporary music.

Numerous organizations and international competitions have seen fit to reward Bessette’s talent, and her reviews are constantly laudatory. Her recorded repertoire boasts a wide variety as a soloist and with chamber ensembles, and she has appeared the world over with distinguished orchestras and by invitation at many first-rate festivals. Many composers write specifically for her.

Beyond her exceptional performance career, Bessette is a significant figure in the musical world, promoting contemporary music every chance she gets. She works to create the opportunity for composers to display their talents alongside performers in activities and collaborations that enrich our cultural panorama.

Always working to encourage the growth of music, Bessette has participated in numerous juries for international competitions, and has given master classes in Europe, Asia and North America. She has been Professor of Piano at the Montreal Conservatory of Music since 1996, where she was head of the keyboard department from 2005-07.

In her citation, Don Wright Faculty of Music Dean Betty Anne Younker said less often do you encounter one who provides inspiration as both a performer and teacher as consistently and passionately as does Bessette.

“Her value of music education and the music she performs is made evident in her creative scholarly work and teaching,” Younker said. “Thirty years of consistency, dedication, discipline, commitment and passion have sustained and continue to sustain her artistry.”

Prizes and honours have accompanied Bessette throughout her career, including top honours in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Canadian Music Competition, the Concours International de Musique Contemporaine and the International Gaudeamus Competition for Contemporary Music.

In 2001, Bessette was received as a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2005, appointed an Officier of the Ordre national du Québec. In 2009, she was named Ambassador of Canadian Music by the Canadian Music Centre.