An exhilarating and elegant concert pianist, Louise Bessette stands out as one of the pre-eminent performers of modern music. Her combination of eclectic repertory and impeccable delivery has earned Bessette several of the most prestigious honours awarded for the interpretation of contemporary music, including, most notably, the First Prize at the Concours International de Musique Contemporaine in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (France, 1986), and both the First Prize and the Special Prize for Piano at the International Gaudeamus Compe-tition for Contemporary Music (Rotterdam, 1989). The Conseil Québécois de la Musique awarded her the Prix Opus 1996-1997 in the category “conductor or soloist of the year” for her recital devoted to the Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus by Olivier Messiaen.
Born in Montréal, Bessette began studying piano at the age of five. In 1971, she entered the Montréal Conservatory, where she studied with Georges Savaria and Raoul Sosa. She received five First Prizes during her student years. After perfecting her skills with Eugene List in New York over a two-year period, she set her sights on Paris, where, from 1982 on, her masters were Yvonne Loriod, Claude Helffer, Jay Gottlieb and Dominique Merlet.
Contact with these luminaries was to prove as decisive for her aesthetic choices as for the development of her unique talents. A recognized world specialist on works for piano by Olivier Messiaen, Louise Bessette has given numerous performances of Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus that have met with unreserved praise by music critics. Whether in recital or as a soloist with orchestras or chamber formations, Louise Bessette makes regular guest appearances in concert halls throughout all of Europe, North and Central America. A devotee of original works, she has contributed to the advancement and dissemination of new music by her noted participation in international music festivals and by the premiere performances she offers of works especially written for her by, among others, the Canadians José Evangelista, Serge Provost, Raoul Sosa and André Villeneuve, and French composers Claude Ballif, Philippe Boivin, Bruno Ducol and Jacques Lejeune.Louise Bessette has earned numerous distinctions, including Woman of the Year, Arts Category, at the 1989 Montréal Salon de la Femme, and the 1991 Flandre-Québec Award in recognition of her contribution to contemporary music. Since fall 1996, she has been professor of piano at the Montréal Conservatory of Music.