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Riopelle symphonique

A composition for orchestra and choir by Serge Fiori and Blair Thomson,

orchestrated and arranged by Blair Thomson under the artistic direction of Nicolas Lemieux

Montréal, November 16, 2022 In partnership with the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation as part of the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth in 2023, GSI Musique and Oziko are proud to announce the release of the album Riopelle symphonique, which has been available for pre-order since March 2022. The first of the Tableaux series produced with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM), the album is a rich dialogue between pictorial art and symphonic sound.

This composition for orchestra and choir in five movements is by Blair Thomson, who took inspiration from the painter’s strongly gestural style, preferred materials and palette. Riopelle symphonique takes as its starting point seven titles from Serge Fiori’s work as a solo artist: “La moitié du monde,” “La vague,” “L’étrange,” “Si bien,” ”Laisse-moi partir,” “Seule” and “Jamais.”

The music is performed by the OSM under conductor Adam Johnson, with vocals provided by the Chœurs des Petits Chanteurs de Laval under Philippe Ostiguy and the Temps Fortchoir under Pascal Germain-Berardi. All tracks were recorded at the Maison symphonique by Charles-Émile Beaudin and Richard Winquest. Riopelle symphonique is produced by Blair Thomson, Serge Fiori, Charles-Émile Beaudin and François Pilon.

“This creation brings together the musical sensibility of Serge Fiori, who’s a great admirer of Riopelle, with the ardour of composer and arranger Blair Thomson,” said Nicolas Lemieux, President of GSI Musique. “Between intensity, creative freedom and virtuosity, Riopelle symphonique is a work in five acts that pays vibrant tribute to the high points of the artist’s career.”

“Each movement starts with elements of a Fiori song that are subsequently squeezed, twisted, recoloured and sculpted into their final form,” said Thomson, a Toronto-born composer, pianist and conductor who works with a vast array of artists. “Listeners can experience a given movement as an ‘aural painting/sculpture’ that unfolds over time.”

The work echoes the artistic path of Riopelle, from the experimentation of his early years in Montréal to the closing chapter of his career—a time marked by a return to the source—by way of post-war France, the eventful years spanning abstraction and figuration, and his encounters with Indigenous peoples in the Far North.

“The Riopelle centenary celebrations are in the very image of the man himself: multidisciplinary and rich in experiences,” said Manon Gauthier, general commissioner of the centennial celebrations and executive Director of the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation. “The Foundation is delighted to team up with these prestigious partners to present a musical journey highlighting the artist’s incredible life. A veritable acoustic legacy of the centenary, the concerts will give audiences a chance to immerse themselves in Riopelle’s life and witness the great master’s power and energy.”

The liner notes include texts by renowned art historian and museologist John R. Porter, who provides insights into Riopelle’s career milestones: “Riopelle. His very name is an invitation to adventure, to beguiling escape, to travel and discovery. His journey could be likened to that of a great goose which flies off and, finding its bearings, soars ever higher to embrace distant horizons, navigating through the great blue and exploring new lands, without ever losing sight of its origins (…).”

The album is available exclusively from in the following formats: digital album, HD digital album, signature CD box set, deluxe vinyl box set and the collector’s numbered 100th-anniversary vinyl box set, which also contains the bonus track “Ça fait du bien” performed by Monique Fauteux.

The Riopelle symphonique concert series

As part of the centenary celebrations for Jean Paul Riopelle, the first segment of the Riopelle symphonique concert series consists of a multimedia show inspired by the original album. The show will be presented in Montréal on February 16, 17 and 18, 2023 at Place des ArtsSalle Wilfrid-Pelletier as part of Montréal en lumière. The music will be performed by the OSM under Adam Johnson, the Chœurs des Petits Chanteurs de Laval under Philippe Ostiguy, and the Temps Fort choir.

A second concert series is scheduled for September 8 and 9, 2023 at Salle Louis-Fréchette in the Grand Théâtre de Québec, this time featuring the Orchestre symphonique de Québecunder Adam Johnson and the Chœurs des Petits Chanteurs de Laval.

Combining spectacular projections and bold scenography, the five-act multimedia show evokes key periods in the artist’s life and prolific career. The emblematic wild goose—a tireless migratory bird and a symbol of freedom—will take audiences through the real and imaginary places visited by Riopelle as the privileged observers of his creative endeavours and his inexhaustible capacity for self-reinvention. Stage direction and design are by Gabriel Poirier-Galarneau (CHAMPAGNE CLUB SANDWICH), under the artistic direction of Nicolas Lemieux. GSI Musique and its partners would also like to thank the artist’s daughter, Yseult Riopelle, honorary commissioner of the centenary celebrations and author of the Catalogue raisonné de Jean Paul Riopelle, for her invaluable contribution.

The Riopelle symphonique experience will also include other segments that draw on the creativity and expertise of Montréal arts, culture, entertainment and tech industry leaders. Details to come.

All tickets: Tickets for the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier shows can also be purchased on the Place des Arts website:



Jean Paul Riopelle, Cap au nord, 1977

Oil on canvas, 200 x 301 cm. Collection - Huguette Vachon © Succession Jean Paul Riopelle / SOCAN (2022)



Founded in 1983, GSI Musique is the oldest record company in Quebec. With nearly 300 music CDs and DVDs as well as several television specials, it coordinates concert tours, manages artistic careers and pub- lishes a comprehensive catalogue featuring an impressive number of local classics. In 2010, the company was acquired by Nicolas Lemieux. While pursuing its mission to invest in the creation and promotion of original, innovative, quality French-language music, GSI Musique has upgraded its marketing approaches, nota- bly with the transactional platform, and through the development of event-based shows and multi- platform projects. For more information:

Never-Before-Seen Celebrations for a Canadian Artist

Orchestrated by the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation, the festivities surrounding Riopelle’s 100th anniversary in 2023 will offer the general public a unique opportunity to (re)discover this Montreal-born artist who has marked the history of art. Featuring a wide variety of artistic disciplines, from classical music to circus, theater, literature, as well as with the participation of museum and educational institutions, the official program of the Centenary Celebrations will give rise to a multitude of cultural projects in Canada and around the world. Starting in the fall of 2022 under the theme "One with Nature", a host of prestigious partners will contribute to making these celebrations – the most important ever planned for a Canadian visual artist – a resounding success, promoting Canadian talent and inspiring new generations of artists through Riopelle's impressive legacy. Discover the Centenary Celebrations’ official program on

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Source: GSI Musique

Media relations: Marie-Noël Phaneuf, annexe | | 514 553-2570



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