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Quebec pianist and composer André Gagnon dies from degenerative disease at 84

André Gagnon with his Félix award at Théatre St-Denis, in Montreal on Oct. 24, 2011. Denis Beaumont/The Canadian Press

Quebec pianist and composer André Gagnon died Thursday at the age of 84 from Lewy body disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, says his record label Audiogram.

During a career spanning 40 years, Gagnon embraced many styles from baroque, to classical and disco.

Born in Saint-Pâcome-de-Kamouraska, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River on Aug. 2, 1936, Gagnon composed from the age of six. After attending the Montreal Conservatory of Music, he studied in Paris after obtaining a grant from the Quebec government.

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The following year, in 1962, the jack-of-all-trades musician became Claude Léveillée’s official accompanist until 1969. He also worked with other singers, including Jacques Blanchet, Pierre Calve, Renée Claude, Claude Gauthier, Pauline Julien, Pierre Létourneau, Monique Leyrac.

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Gagnon focused on a solo career as a composer and arranger in 1969 and recorded The Four Seasons in London as a tribute to Vivaldi.

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He had great success in Japan, where he recorded several albums under the RCA Victor label.

Through years of shows and records, Gagnon also worked in Quebec television where he composed music for several series, and in movies, notably Claude Jutra’s “Kamouraska.”

Gagnon received many industry awards, including the Felix, Juno and SOCAN.

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