Étienne Chénard completed his studies at the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec in 2016 where he was unanimously awarded the “Prix avec distinction” in viola. He studied with François Paradis, Catherine Dallaire, and Élise Lavoie in Québec City and Rimouski.
Born in Rimouski, Québec, Étienne spent many summers at the Domaine Forget Academy and Orford Art Centre working with acclaimed violinists such as Vera Beth, Anne Robert, Helmut Lipksy, Mark Fewer, David Gilham, and Mimi Zweig, as well as violists François Paradis, Jocelyne Bastien, and the Arthur-Leblanc String Quartet. He has also had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with Christian Tetzlaff, Antoine Tamestit, Roberto Diaz, Paul Silverthorne, Jean Sulem, and Miguel DaSilva.
As a chamber musician, Étienne has played for many festivals and series including Concerts aux Îles du Bic, Domaine Forget, and Inner Space Concerts, among others.
Prior to his appointment as Symphony Nova Scotia’s Assistant Principal Viola in 2018, Étienne held the same position in the Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke and Orchestre Symphonique de l’Estuaire. He also plays regularly with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Les Violons du Roy, and as freelance musician with many other professional orchestras throughout Québec.
Étienne performs on a mid-18th-century Milanese viola and a bow from François Lotte. Both are generously loaned by CANIMEX INC.
Q&A with Étienne
How long have you worked with Symphony Nova Scotia?
I started in September 2017 filling a one-year position. I haven’t left since!
What do you love about symphonic music?
I like to be surrounded by the sound of so many different instruments and all the possibilities that goes with it. It can be big and majestic, as well intimate and relaxing. It offers a lot of possibilities, and being part of a bigger team is something I really do enjoy.
Who’s your favourite musician?
Antoine Tamestit. Everyone should take a moment to listen to this wonderful violist. But beware: you’ll become a fan of viola after that!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What are your outside interests?
To name a few: coffee, woodworking, architecture, cooking, LEGO…
I’m fascinated by watchmaking and Japanese joinery.
What’s your favourite indulgence?
Salt and vinegar chips.
What are you reading right now?
I’m really good to start more than one book at the same time and forgetting about it… I am in the middle of a few magazines about coffee, watches, and violin. Oh! And A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan.
What are you listening to right now?
Mostly silence. It’s necessary after a day of music making!
What Étienne’s listening to
“Here’s some of my favourite music played by beautiful players. I encourage you to go listen to the whole album of each track. And why not the whole discography of every artist!”
You can also listen to his playlist on Apple Music.