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 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.

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 known internationally and she has won or been selected as a Finalist in many international competitions.

Recent News

On exhibit at the Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent (Rivière-du-Loup) since September 2003 is Dyens and Deschênes’ Vertigo Terrae (1995), the only holographic multi-media installation on permanent exhibit in Canada.

A concert tour in France and Belgium is in planning for March 2011.

Recognition (Selection)

Prizes: Bourges (GMEB/IMEB), Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP), Euphonie d’Or (Bourges 1992), Festival international nouveau cinéma nouveaux médias, Prix Opus 2007 (Disc of the Year), Prix Vidéoformes, Reeling, Vidéoart, Concours multi-image de Munich, AMI Multi-Image International Competition, Prix Italia.

Commissions: ACREQ, Canadian Electronic Ensemble, Festival des Musiques Sacrées de Québec, Musée de la civilisation de Québec, National Film Board of Canada, NEM, Radio-Canada, SMCQ, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Renée Bourassa, Jacques Drouin, Georges Dyens, Alain Pelletier.

Residencies: The Banff Centre for the Arts, GMVL de Lyon, Centre d’arts médiatiques PRIM.

Performances: Numerous concert performances, installations, radio and television broadcasts and conferences across Canada and the USA, throughout Europe and in Latin America, Asia and Australia.


Deschênes’ music can be heard on her recent retrospective solo DVD, petits Big Bangs (2006), available through empreintes DIGITALes, as well as on more than 10 other discs, including Cultures électroniques 7 (IMEB 1993) and Portrait musical CAPAC (1984).

More on the Artist

empreintes DIGITALes pages on Deschênes: News, Biography, Discography, Photo Album and more.

Article on Marcelle Deschênes in The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Information on George Dyens’ Holographic sculptures (1986–1995).

Images from the installations deUS irae and Lux, collaborations with Jacques Collin.

Excerpt of Die Dyer, collaboration with video artist Alain Pelletier.

Eight excerpts of Plaisirs, le film by Yannick B. Gélinas with music composed by Deschênes.