Gifted with extraordinary versatility, Ottawa-based pianist Jean Desmarais studied with Monique Collet-Samyn (Hull), Anisia Campos, Rafi Armenian (Montreal), Monique Deschaussées (Paris), Johanna Stieler (Berlin) and Dalton Baldwin (United States).
Mr. Desmarais has won several international Awards and premiered over 200 new creations, many from Canadian composers. Active on stages all over the world he has been invited to play in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Mexico, USA and Canada. He was soloist with, among others, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Brasov (Romania), Szczecin (Poland) and Chihuahua (Mexico), as well as with I Musici de Montreal, Les Violons du Roy (Quebec ), and the Chamber Orchestra of Hull.
Mr. Desmarais has played in recital at the Banff Centre with the legendary Pinchas Zukerman, and has collaborated with artists such as Ben Heppner, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Amanda Forsyth, Joel Quarrington. He has been invited to coach at the Canadian Opera Company for several opera productions, and in 2007, was the only Canadian pianist invited to play in recital at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Glen Gould’s famous recital there.
As one of the most respected teachers in Canada, Mr. Desmarais’ students have gone on to win national awards and study in major music schools such as the Sorbonne (Paris), Conservatory of Amsterdam, and the Cleveland Music Institute.
Mr. Desmarais was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation for his outstanding contribution to the arts in Canada and abroad. He has recently taken on the post of Music Director and Principal Conductor of Strings of St. John's in Ottawa.