Interview with Alexandre Ethier
When did you start playing the guitar and why?
I was start to play guitar verry late at the age of 17 years old. During my secondary school from the age of 12 to 17 I do just bad thinks. My teenager time was verry hard violent and criminal and all the problem due to my bad frequentation. I chose to play classical guitar in one night after a really scarry night. My father was in the cauch and he played a piece from Antonio Lauro . À vals n.2 . It was a shock for me like a tunderstruck. At this moment I looked my father and I told him….I want to play calssical guitar for the rest of my life. My father don’t believe me because he was very shame of me with reason. But from that moment I sell my gun and I buy a guitar. It’s was a long road I was particing: 5hours/day after school to be accept at Cegep in classical guitar. After this I go to UQAM with Alvaro Pierri at Montreal.
You are the director of the guitar ensemble Forestare, how did start the idea to create this ensemble?
I create Forestare after a traveling in France in 2001 . At this moment, I do many competition in Quebec and I realise the quality of many guitarist in Quebec Montréal . I invite many competitor to joint me in a guitar ensemble and we found Forestare. The idea is to create a repertory for guitar ensemble and do a voice for all the trees we took to build guitar. We play together since this moment. Most part of the members are playing since the begening 15years ago.
The first time I listened to your music was with the Forestare cd. I was impressed by your interpretation of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, why did you decide to play that music? I think that Forestare’s interpretation is the only complete version of Electric Counterpoint that has been recorded…what was Steve Reich’ reaction to your music?
For Steve Reich we never received any coment from him . I don’t know if he listen our version of Electric Conterpoint. We try to do contact with him but no answer from him
I see that in your records you make a great attention to Quebec composers, how did you meet Raphael Reed, Pascal Sasseville Quoquochi, Richard Desjardins, Denis Goungeon, Francio Marcoux and Francois Gauthier?
It’s really important for us to create a new music for guitar ensemble and we have a chance to have many very good composer in Quebec. All this composers was my friends, specialy Richard Desjardins, he is my close friend and in Quebec is very famous he is like Léo Ferré for us
Are you still in relationship with Ensamble de Guitarra de Chile and Javier Farias? His music is really nice…
Yes we kept contact to Javier Farias. I think is one of very interesting composer in south america for guitar . I like his music much.
I was surprised by your last record “Baroque”, your interpretations of Bach and Vivaldi music are amazing. How did start the idea to create this record?
In 2015 Forestare was in Residence at l’Arsenal de Montréal . A museum for modern art. At this place we give many private concert for rich people and after one night i was feeling like a fou du roi in the court of LouisXIV . Before this we never touched baroque music. I always love the music of Bach so we decided to to a Baroque album witm the most modern system for recording. Andre Perry is a legend of recording in Canada he was working with The Police, Rush, David Bowie and he is the man under “Give peace a chance” by John Lennon. He was open to work with us so we take it. But for the quality of the music we work with George Nicholson, a specialist of baroque music and we choose the best of both of them
The quality recording is amazing, how did you get that result?
2XHD is the new quality for recording is back to the future like Perry says. The result is spectacular
What does mean improvisation in your music research? Can we go back to talking about improvisation in a repertoire so encoded as the classic or you’re forced to leave and turn to other repertoires, jazz, contemporary, etc.?
Improvisation is very important for me, every day a strat to play with solo improvisation. But with the ensemble we do sometime improvisation for specific night but not now for recording. When you create a music for ensemble is very important to organise the music and most part of Forestare don’t improvise, we are most classical in our background
And what do you think is the “function” of a moment of crisis?
The world is in crisis now and nobody can chance this alone but together if we do our best all the time and do what we have to do and don’t think to much about the bad think in this world we can do the drop …the different drop for the best
What are your essential five discs, always to have with you .. the classic five records for the desert island ..?
It’s impossible for me to give you 5 albums a love many different style to hip-hop to classical to jazz, this question is impossible for me
What are your next projects? What are you working on?
We have 3 next projets First a French music album with Ravel Debussy Satie and modern composer Roland Dyens, Arnaud Dumond and Jean Christophe Ronsaz. Second we prépare a new album with composition from us, where we find the inspiration of the nature of Canada . It will be more electric we will us electric guitar for this project and we will work with DJ. Third we are in preparation to create an Opera with BOP a young group . The Opera is about Montreal and its history