Her Passion for the cello
is scene and heard.
Canadian cellist Marie-Elaine Gagnon, is a first prize-winner of numerous music competitions in Canada, which led to many solo performances in her native home. In 2000, she was chosen amongst many young candidates to perform a cello recital for the prestigious Canadian Broadcasting Company program: “Jeunes Artists.” Gagnon has performed in many music festivals, including: Le Festival International du Domaine Forget, The Penderecki String Quartet Chamber Workshop, Orford Music Center and The National Youth Orchestra of Canada. In May 2002, she was the first cellist to win a scholarship from the D. Robinson Foundation to study at the Aspen Music Festival. Her participation in these many music festivals gave her the opportunity to study with well-known cellists such has Leslie Snider (Quebec), Sharon Robinson (Indiana), Desmond Hoebig (Cleveland), Philipe Muller (Paris), Roland Pidoux (Trio Pasquier), Paul Watkins (London), and David Ellis (Alcan String Quartet).
Her primary training in the U.S. began with cellist Keith Robinson at the Florida International University, founding member of the Miami String Quartet. Robinson is Artist-In-Residence at Kent State University and co-director of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Gagnon continued her study with cellist Ross Harbaugh, founding member of the New World Quartet. Professor Harbaugh is currently director of the string program at the University of Miami.
An avid chamber music player, Gagnon has been a member of the Rawlins Piano Trio since 2007, in residence at The University of South Dakota. The trio has formed a reputation as a preeminent interpreter of 19th and early 20th century American music. Owing to its expertise, the ensemble has recorded four CDs of these works on the Albany Records label. The third disc– American Romance–was declared, “A real find!” by reviewer J. Scott Morrison. The fourth, American Discoveries, released in July 2009–is “…another winner from the Rawlins Trio… they continue their work of bringing us American composers’ music that is worth hearing… Their playing is artful, suave and pleasing.” (Morrison) Since joining the Rawlins Piano Trio in 2007, the group has toured in Taiwan, South Korea and Panama. They have performed to prestigious music conferences such as the Chamber Music Society in New York and the College Music Society National conference in San Diego.
Gagnon is a strong advocate for music education and outreach. Prior to joining the music faculty at the University of South Dakota, Gagnon taught at Barry University in Miami and at the Université de Montréal for the Preparatory Program. Gagnon is associate professor of cello and chamber music at the University of South Dakota since 2007. Raised in Québec, she received her Diplôme d’Étude Supérieur I at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, her Diplôme d’Étude Supérieur II from the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec, M.M. from the Florida International University and finally her D.M.A from the University of Miami. Gagnon is presently serving as principal cello interim for the Sioux City Symphony for the 2014-2015 season.