Jean-Sébastien Vallée

Canadian-American conductor Jean-Sébastien Vallée is an internationally recognized musician, scholar and pedagogue with a focus on vocal, choral and orchestral repertoires. Vallée has conducted ensembles throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has prepared choruses for leading orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony, the Montreal Symphony and the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. 

Vallée is artistic director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and associate professor of msic, director of choral studies and coordinator of the ensembles & conducting at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. He previously served as director of choral studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands. Vallée holds degrees from Laval University, Sherbrooke University, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

In addition to his interest in choral, operatic, and orchestral music, Vallée is an advocate for contemporary music, making one of his priorities to premiere and commission works by young composers and program rarely performed repertoire. As a scholar, his research interests are varied and focus primarily on Renaissance French music, the oratorical works of Michael Tippett and conducting pedagogy, more specifically, the connection between audiation and gestural communication.

Vallée has been invited to present his research at several national and international conferences, including the American Choral Directors Association Conventions, Festival 500 in Newfoundland, the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference, Podium (the national convention of Choral Canada), the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Spain (2017), New Zealand (2020) and Portugal (2022).

Vallée’s work is broadcast internationally and can be heard on his albums Lux (2017), Requiem (2018, requiems by Fauré and Duruflé) and Distance (2021). Upcoming engagements include concerts at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, a tour with the National Youth Choir of Canada, concerts with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec and the Toronto Symphony and workshops at the World Expo on Choral Music in Lisbon.

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.