"Rivest is a magician: with a touch of his magic wand he always transforms any concert into an extraordinary and unique event."
- Le Soleil, Québec, 2010
Québec conductor Jean-François Rivest is renowned for his energy, his extremely precise technique, his passionate style, both moving and deeply involved, and his great communication skills. His discography serves as proof to the ease with which he masters a large variety of musical genres ranging from the baroque era to today. He has been the Artistic Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval (10 years) and of Ottawa's Thirteen Strings Ensemble (5 years), as well as Conductor in Residence of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) from 2006 to 2009, where his tenure was particularly significant.
Jean-François Rivest firmly believes that the next generation of musicians must rely on performers that are also active as pedagogues. He has worked for several institutions and has been teaching orchestral conducting as well as a variety of advanced performance classes at Université de Montréal since 1993. He is the founder, Artistic Director and principal conductor of the Orchestre de l'Université de Montréal (OUM). From 2009 to 2015, he was Artistic Director of the Orford Arts Centre (now Orford Music) near Montreal, where he presided over the destiny of Orford’s prestigious International Academy and Festival. His period at the head of the Arts Center is unanimously seen as a time of tremendous artistic renewal and growth. In the 2012 Opus Prizes Awards ceremony, he was awarded the Opus Prize for Artistic Director of the year (2011). Mr. Rivest, who trained at the Conservatoire de Montréal and at the Juilliard School in New York, quickly established himself as one of the foremost Quebec violinists of his generation. His main teachers were Sonia Jelinkova, Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay.
As the father of four children, family is at the center of his life. He is passionate about nature and the outdoors: scuba diving, kayaking, climbing, trekking and photography are his favorite pastimes. He even has several important expeditions under his belt. Jean-François Rivest believes that the many facets of nature are a vital source of artistic inspiration!