Keiko Devaux

Montreal · QC

Last updated: April 21, 2021

A two year residency that allows composers to work closely with Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra is such an invaluable and exciting opportunity. Having meaningful access to musicians, the artistic direction, and the entire NAC team offers an immediate, rich, and personal approach to expanding, learning, and challenging myself as a composer for which I am immensely grateful.”

Keiko Devaux (b. 1982) is a contemporary music composer based in Montreal. 

Her works have been performed in Canada, France, Germany, and Italy by various ensembles including Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble musica assoluta, Ensemble Arkea, Quartetto Prometeo, and Ensemble Wapiti among others. She composes regularly for diverse ensembles, as well as collaborating with choreographers and filmmakers.

Her approach embraces a love of electroacoustic sounds and methodology by manipulating and distorting acoustic sound with digital tools, and then transcribing or re-translating these interpretations back into musical notation and the acoustic realm. Her interests include emotional experience and affect, auto-organizational phenomena in nature and living beings, as well as “genre-blurring” by layering and juxtaposing contrasting melodic/harmonic skeletal elements of highly contrasting sonic sources. The distortion of the temporal, frequency, and timbral attributes allows the blurring between traditional tonal sounds and more electroacoustic-inspired “noise” gestures.

She has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Jan V. Matejcek Award for New Classical Music (2019), the Rotary Club Siena Award for distinction in her master courses with Salvatore Sciarrino (2018), the OUM composition prize (2016 and 2018), and the Jury and Public prizes of the Accès Arkea competition (2017). Her composition Ebb, premiered by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, was nominated as Création de l’année for the 2017-2018 Opus awards, and her work Ombra was a finalist for the Prix du CALQ - Œuvre de la relève à Montréal in the same year. In 2019, she won the inaugural Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, at $50,000, the largest of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in the world. 

From 2016 to 2018, she was the composer in residence with Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. She is an associate composer with the Canadian Music Centre, president of the board of directors of Codes d’accès, and past organizer of the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab.

Originally from British Columbia, she began her musical career in piano performance studies as well as composing, touring, and recording several albums in independent rock bands. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Écriture) and a Master of Music in instrumental composition from the Université de Montréal. She has also studied with Maestro Salvatore Sciarrino at L'Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy (2017-19). She is currently completing her doctorate in music composition and creation at Université de Montréal under the direction of Ana Sokolović and Pierre Michaud.

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Carrefour Composers Residency

A two-year professional development opportunity for emerging, culturally diverse, or Indigenous composers with the NAC Orchestra. In partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts.

NAC media featuring Keiko Devaux