The arts are usually fostered in major urban centres. Promising young musicians like the classical guitarist Félix Dallaire prove that classical music can bloom in outlying areas.
Born in Rouyn-Noranda in 1997 and raised in Gatineau, Dallaire started to play the piano before deciding to pick up the guitar. He was 14. His dream was starting to come true. Dallaire began his guitar studies with Julien Bisaillon as part of his extracurricular activities in high school.
Drawn by classical music’s complexity and the challenge of learning the genre, Dallaire entered the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau, studying with French guitarist and composer Patrick Roux for eight years. This was a defining episode for the young guitarist. Aside from developing his expertise, Dallaire was interested in compositions by Roux, whose works are internationally recognized and played by many guitarists.
Dallaire has taken part in international guitar competitions, winning many awards such as first place at the 2016 Domaine Forget Guitar Contest, the 2018 Boston Guitarfest and the 2019 Montreal International Classical Guitar Festival & Competition. Though competitions give young musicians the opportunity to hone their technique, Dallaire doesn’t focus on the competitive aspect. Instead, he sees an opportunity to meet performers from various backgrounds.
He has the same drive in music, as he began his concert career as both a soloist and guitar duo player with Chris Habib. Both performers won first place at the 2017 Concours de musique de chambre de Sorel-Tracy. In the same year, Dallaire performed the second and third movements from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Concerto no. 1 in D major with the Orchestre symphonique de Gatineau – a rarity for a classical guitarist and surely a hopeful sign.
Dallaire is not resting on his laurels. In 2020, he will study at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, with Lorenzo Micheli. Additionally, he will be part of next year’s Denver Guitar Festival & Competition. Montrealers will have an opportunity to see Dallaire perform at Salle Claude-Léveillée on Jan. 16 as part of the Pro Musica Society’s Mélodînes series.
Translated by Dwain Richardson