ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR
With a very sensitive approach to music, Véronique Lussier brings to her conducting an emotional intensity that she passionately transmits to musicians and the public. She is recognized as a dynamic, unifying, creative and versatile person.
Véronique holds a Doctorate degree (D.Mus.) in Orchestra conducting from the University of Montreal with the masters M. Jean-François Rivest and M. Paolo Bellomia. She also holds a Master’s degree (M.Mus.) in Choral Direction from the Université de Sherbrooke with Robert Ingari, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Piano & Pedagogy from the Université du Québec à Montréal with Pierre Jasmin.
She was awarded a scholarship of excellence at the end of doctoral studies (2018) from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of the University of Montreal (FESP), a scholarship of excellence Perras, Cholette & Cholette, of the Fonds Les Amis de l'Art, the SAE, the Council for Arts and Letters in Quebec (CALQ), the Canada Council for the Arts (CAC) and the support of Mr. Roger Dubois of the Canimex Group and Mr. Jacques Marchand of LCI Education.
Véronique was the founder and artistic director of the Ambassador Project of the Longueuil symphony Orchestra (OSDL). This project of several concerts with multimedia, in collaboration with the Development of public music in Quebec (DPMQ), made it possible to contribute to the influence of culture, to the democratization of classical music and to the revitalization of the historical heritage of several municipalities as well as to highlight many artists, many of whom are emerging..
She is guest conductor with several orchestras, festivals, events and music schools: Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO), Quebec Contemporary Music Society (SMCQ), Montreal Chamber Orchestra (OCM), Longueuil symphony orchestra (OSDL), Orchestre symphonique de Sherbrooke (OSS), Sinfonia of Lanaudiere, Bradyworks Productions, Classica Festival, Éloize Circus, New Modern Ensemble (NEM), I Medici di McGill Orchestra, Benefit concerts Cancer Institute Maison symphonique (ICM), Ottawa University Pops Symphony Orchestra, Montreal / New Music Festival (MNM), Montreal University Symphony Orchestra (OUM), Montérégie Chamberist, Monteregie Conservatory of Music (CMM), Vincent-d'Indy Music School, Stella Festival, Youth Orchestra of Montreal University. Also, she was assistant conductor at the National Music Festival (NMF), Jury Opus Awards and conducted a musical score in the "Arrival" movie by filmmaker Denis Villeneuve.
FOUNDER & DIRECTOR
Dr. ANTE L. PADJEN
Imagine an orchestra in which half the members can recite the Hippocratic oath as easily as they can play a scale. Enter I Medici di McGill, the Montreal ensemble that boasts a wealth of doctors and medical students amidst a splattering of lawyers, dentists, engineers, biochemists, physicists and oceanographers. “Even those musicians who aren’t doctors have surely visited one over the past two years. That way we maintain the medical link,” jokes Ante Padjen, founder and principal violist of I Medici.
Padjen, a neuropharmacologist at McGill University, comes to life when he discusses his orchestra. In his office on the 13th floor of the McGill medical building, he shuffles through scrapbooks that date back to I Medici’s conception in 1989. Meanwhile, in the reception area, the secretary and her computer fight for space with a harpsichord and a double bass leaning against the filing cabinets.
Padjen’s musical life began in Croatia at an early age. His father, an amateur violinist, enrolled him in music school, which provided three hours a day of immensely formative education. Graced with a forward-thinking theory teacher, Prof. Elly Basic, who shed the traditionally rigid practices of music pedagogy, Padjen acquired a great appreciation for music and discovered his own natural talent.“We were taught to believe that music is something every child has the ability to do,” he says. “It is an innate capability.” Later, Padjen studied viola with Prof. Miroslav Miletic who was also a composer.
At the age of fourteen, a twist of fate led Padjen from a musical path to a medical one. Stricken with tuberculosis, he was confined to a sanatorium for 600 days. Chance handed him a roommate who happened to be a physician, sparking in Padjen a voracious enthusiasm for medicine. After two years, he left the hospital inspired to pursue a medical career. Impressively, he never fully “dropped out of music.”While in medical school, at the age of 18, he formed the Jeunesses Musicales Orchestra in Zagreb. But when offered a placement at the prestigious Orford summer academy, Padjen went instead to Geneva, where he delivered babies for his medical training.
Straying from Zagreb to Edinburgh to Washington to Texas, Padjen finally fell in love with Montreal, recognizing that here he could raise a family and enjoy the kind of life he had envisioned for himself.“And then of course there was McGill,” he adds. Quickly forming string quartets with talented colleagues at the Faculty of Medicine, Padjen eventually decided to merge these quartets into what would soon become I Medici di McGill in 1989 under the baton of Wanda Kaluzny.
Over the past 34 years, Padjen has had the pleasure of seeing over 500 musicians of every age and medical specialty pass through the orchestra. “Recently I received a letter from one student, a really smart guy who had several options to study medicine. He chose McGill so that he would able to play in I Medici,” he tells us.