Following her Master’s and Doctoral studies in composition under Jean Papineau-Couture and Serge Garant at Université de Montréal (1963–68), Marcelle Deschênes spent three years in Paris at the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM) with Pierre Schaeffer, François Bayle, Henri Chiarucci and Guy Reibel, and at Université de Paris VIII.

From 1972–77 she held teaching and research positions in auditory perception, childhood music education and multi-media animation techniques at the Electroacoustic Music Studio at Université Laval in Québec City, where she was also involved with the electroacoustic performance group GIMEL directed by Nil Parent.

Following her return to Montréal, Deschênes was actively involved in the establishment and operation of a variety of associations as a Founding and Board Member: ACREQ (Association pour la création et la recherche électroacoustiques du Québec), Action multimédia (with the company Écran humain), FATNA (Fondation pour l’application des technologies nouvelles aux arts), Nexus (multi-media production company) and the CEC (Canadian Electroacoustic Community).

Between 1980–97 she taught electroacoustic and multimedia composition, auditory perception and electroacoustic procedures at the Faculty of Music of Université de Montréal. She established, developed and directed a new and innovative Electroacoustic Composition programme at three levels (Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate), the importance of which was rapidly recognized on the international scene, with many of its students and professors still winning numerous prizes.

Marcelle Deschênes’ work is distinguished not only for its pioneering nature but also for its diversity: multimedia performance, photography, video, as well as instrumental, mixed, acousmatic, radiophonic and functional music, installations and animated production for non-musicians. Over the past 35 years she has concentrated primarily on the development of new forms of artistic expression that integrate music, new technologies, performing and visual arts and multi-disciplinary teamwork.

Her work is presented internationally, with performances in Europe and Asia as much as in North America, and has been awarded numerous prizes and mentions in international competitions: Concours international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (1978, 1992, 1994, 2002), where MOLL, opéra lilliput pour six roches molles received the Euphonie d’or in 1992; AMI Multi-Image International Competition, California (1986, 1989); Concours international de multi-image, Munich (1989); Concurso International di Musica Electroacustica de São Paulo (2003); Concurso Internacional ART’S XXI, Valencia (2001); Reeling, Chicago (2001), Best Experimental/Animated Film; Vidéoart, Locarno (2001); Prix Vidéoformes, France (2000); Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (2000); International Festival of New Cinema and New Media (1999); Prix Italia (1987); Prix OPUS 2007 for petits Big Bangs, Disc of the Year in the category of Musique actuelles, électroacoustique.

She has also been awarded many grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the French Government, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and the Minister of International Relations of Québec, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Technology, Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Ontario Arts Council, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Université de Montréal, New Music America and has received numerous commissions (ACREQ, CEE, NFB, NEM, Radio-Canada, SMCQ…) and residencies.

New works and a biography are in progress.