BU professor wins National Choral Award

May 22, 2020

A women is seen from the side as she directs a choir
Andrée Dagenais is the director of the BU Chorale and BU Concert Choir and is North America's top expert on the music of Pierre Robert.

BRANDON – Brandon University (BU) School of Music professor Dr. Andrée Dagenais has been recognized with a National Choral Award.

Dr. Dagenais’ critical edition of Pierre Robert, Motets pour la Chapelle du roy, vol. 1, was chosen as the Outstanding Choral Publication by Choral Canada, which presents its national awards every two years.

Published by France’s prestigious Centre de Music Baroque de Versailles, it is the first of five volumes that restore the full scores of Robert’s collection of 24 Motets pour la Chapelle du roy. This volume comprises a critical introduction to first five motets as well as to the entire collection. A 17th century composer in the court of Louis XIV, Robert is remembered for his grand motets. This type of choral work, accompanied by a five-part string orchestra, is an emblematic type of sacred music prevalent in the French Baroque period.

The announcement was made this week on CBC Music, with the presenter lauding the “exceptional authority and quality” of Dr. Dagenais’ publication, stating that “the jury was struck by how she combined meticulous editing skills and comprehensive understanding of performance practice.”

An Associate Professor in the School of Music, Dr. Dagenais conducts the BU Chorale, the BU Concert Choir, and teaches courses in conducting and choral music Education.

“To have my edition published by the Centre de Music Baroque de Versailles was very rewarding,” says Dr. Dagenais.

“To later learn that it had been nominated and then chosen to receive a National Choral Award was unexpected, and I see with this award a wonderful opportunity to disseminate the work of this lesser known French Baroque composer and to increase the canon of this genre.”

The critical edition is reflective of a longtime commitment to research by Dr. Dagenais, who is considered North America’s foremost expert on the music of Robert.

“This is an absolutely beautiful publication, and the product of years and years of methodical work,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of the School of Music. “I’m so proud of Dr. Dagenais for the incredible work she has done, and I’m thrilled to see this outstanding publication get the recognition it deserves.”