François A. Ouimet

Archives du blog


François started playing piano at an early age, but was discouraged from pursuing his classical studies by nuns repeatedly hitting him on the hands with a ruler. He took up the guitar and explored rock, funk and jazz , a sustained interest over the next decades. Upon arriving at Vanier College at the age of seventeen, he sang in a choir for the first time and was hooked for life. He went on to sing in the best choral ensembles in Montreal, and has been conducting choirs since he was nineteen. Splitting his time between a guitarist's career and a conductor's path has proved both stimulating and challenging.

François completed a Masters in Choral Conducting at Université de Montréal in 2000. He then went on to teach and conduct at Université de Sherbrooke, Université de Montréal, and conducted the choirs at McGill's Schulich School of Music from 2009 to 2015. Mr. Ouimet also teaches at Vincent-d'Indy Music School, a College-level institution where he conducts multiple choral ensembles. He is Chorusmaster for the Choeur Métropolitain, conducted by Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, since 2010. He has prepared this chorus for such works as Bach's Christmas Oratorio and St-Matthew Passion, Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and Wagner's Lohengrin. This last production won an Opus award for Concert of the Year, Romantic music. A versatile conductor, he is equally at ease in Renaissance, contemporary choral works, Jazz and Gospel.

He has worked with many of the best Québec pop and jazz artists, providing singers and choral arrangements for numerous Patrick Watson concerts, including the Nov. 17-18-19, 2014 concerts that won the Concert of the year Félix award. He has collaborated with Karen Young, les Soeurs Boulay, Émile Proulx-Cloutier and Oscar-winning film composer Benoît Charest, who won a Félix for Film soundtrack of the Year for Mars et Avril, which featured choral music prominently. He is musical director of les Voix Ferrées, widely considered to be one of the best, most original community choirs in the province.

In 2015 he conducted on  Karen Young's choral album Missa Campanula, with Voces Boreales and Suzie Leblanc. A sought-after clinician, he has been invited in various parts of Canada to give workshops and conduct. He has a small catalogue of choral works that have been performed by Pro Coro Canada and Voces Boreales, two of the best professionnal choirs in the country. He has been co-director at CAMMAC music camp since 2007.

He currently shares his time between his various choirs and his bands. He is a father of three.
Francois A.  Ouimet