André Gagnon

1936 - 2020

It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Quebec pianist, composer, conductor and arranger/orchestrator André Gagnon on Thursday, December 3, 2020, in Montreal, from Lewy body disease.

He passed away peacefully.

Son of Amanda Lajoie, a native of Kamouraska, and David Gagnon, a native of Saint-Pacôme, André was born in Saint-Pacôme-de-Kamouraska, in the Lower St. Lawrence region. The youngest of nineteen siblings, he leaves behind his sister Janine (the late Roch Santerre), his brother Jean-Louis (Charlotte Lebel) and his brother-in-law Rosaire Lévesque (the late Rita Gagnon), together with many nephews, nieces, cousins, and childhood friends. He has gone to meet up with his siblings Yvette (Georges Bernier), Madeleine, Colette (Jos-Alfred Lévesque), Roger (Jeannine Ouellet), Marguerite, Denyse (Paul Laframboise), Raymond-Marie (Réjane Dionne), and Robert-David (Carmelle Laverdière), as well as seven others who died in infancy: Gérard, Louis-Marie, Gilberte, Thérèse, Vincent-Yvon, Benoit-Robert, and Raymonde-Françoise. His family was always his homeport, and although he travelled the world, a return to Saint-Pacôme always meant for him a return to a happy home.

André is also dearly missed by the family of Lisette and Benoît Riopel in the municipality of Entrelacs, and by his assistant and friend Francyne Furtado. Countless friends and collaborators, along with his faithful admirers here and all over the world, especially in Japan and South Korea, mourn him already.

He was an exceptionally gifted artist whose success in Quebec, Canada and abroad can be attributed as much to his own skills as a performer as to the worldwide circulation of his musical compositions. They were inspired by, among other things, his memories of growing up in his region of the Lower St. Lawrence (“Neiges”), his travels around the interior of Quebec (“Charlevoix”, “Kamouraska”) and his fascination with the great river that crosses this land before flowing into the sea (“Le Saint-Laurent”). Like Quebec's great lyricists in terms of words, André Gagnon has created a rich, popular and unique musical vocabulary born of the crossover between classical or even baroque music and the 20th century instrumentarium.

Officer of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Prix Hommage 2018 des Artistes pour la Paix (Artists for Peace) are just a few of the many honours he received throughout his long and distinguished career.

Due to current circumstances, a private funeral will be held for the family and a few close friends at the Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière Cathedral on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Burial will take place the same day at the Saint-Pacôme Cemetery. A memorial celebration will be held in Montreal on Friday, December 3, 2021.

We extend our sincere thanks to Dr Alain Robillard: throughout the long and difficult journey that illness is, with his humanism and great sensitivity, he knew how to find and dispense the words and care required to alleviate the suffering of our brother, uncle and friend.

We would also like to thank Dr Paul Lévesque for always being available and for his unfailing concern and support; Dr Aurélie Chapdelaine, Dr Luc Loiselle, Jean-Pierre, Jean-Claude and the entire staff of Notre-Dame Hospital for their attentiveness and care during the final moments; and the staff of the CLSC de Saint-Louis-du-Parc, Dr Sandra Verdon, and Lise Saint-Jean.

We extend special thanks to his niece Marie-Andrée and her husband René for their hospitality, care and devotion during André’s stays at their home in Saint-Pacôme.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the caregivers who faithfully tended to André in the past three years: Abdou, Caroline, Cathy, Diane, Ian, Jean, Jesus, Lisette, Louis, Louisa, Lucette, Marie, Mathieu, Michael, Peggy-Ann, Simon, Soufiane, Stéphane, and Sylvain. Special thanks to Xavier-Pier Côté for everything he did.

Condolences and memories may be forwarded to the family by clicking here.

For those who wish to do so, a donation to one of the following organizations would be appreciated:
The Alzheimer Society
Little Brothers (Les petits-frères)
The Jean Carignan Fund (Fonds Jean-Carignan)

Click here to read the biographical notes.  

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