Winner of two Jazz Interpretation Album of the Year Felix awards for her most recent projects (Opus Jazz and Noel) and winner of seven Felix awards for her collaborations on stage and recordings with Isabelle Boulay, Bruno Pelletier, Berceuses pour Philou and Emilie-Claire Barlow, nominated arranger of the year, winner of an OPUS Prize (Now What) and winner of the First Prize at the prestigious Canadian Music Competition at the age of thirteen, pianist, keyboardist, composer, arranger and musical director Julie Lamontagne has followed a fascinating career path and gained an exceptional amount of experience along the way.
Possessing a solid classical background she decided early on to explore other musical styles including jazz and world music. After studying with Yolande Gaudreau, Marc Durand, Lorraine Desmarais, Andre White and Jan Jarcyk in Montreal, she pursued her studies in New York City during several years with the outstanding educator Garry Dial and the excellent jazz pianist Fred Hersch. Recently, she decided to return to school, enrolling at Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music to broaden her knowledge of drum programming and film scoring.
Proud leader of a jazz trio, she has built on the success of both her 2005 debut album Facing the Truth and her second album Now What released in 2009 recorded in quartet with New York City saxman Donny McCaslin. Julie came back with a vengeance in 2012 with a third album entitled Opus jazz where, alone at the piano, she revisited favourite pieces from the classical music repertoire but in her own jazz way. Winter of 2013, Julie returns with a seasonal Christmas music project of her own (Noël jazz) with original and inspired jazz arrangements. Performing in quartet with Dave Watts on double bass, Richard Irwin on drums and Dany Roy on saxophone, she also invited special guests Ranee Lee, Bruno Pelletier and Jason Lang to join the band on vocals for couple songs. Well received, the album stayed on the #1 position on Itunes Canada for weeks and on the top selling list of Archambault and Renaud-Bray stores.
Guest on many special projects, she was part of a unique concert with the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra where 10 pianists played the famous Gershwin’s Raphsody in Blue. More recently, she was part of the Pianos Cameleons concert with the great Oliver Jones at the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival. She has also collaborated with the Longueuil Symphonic Orchestra for a unique project where they presented classical piano concertos but arranged in a jazz manner with her trio and the orchestra. This project has already been presented many times and will soon be recorded. She opened for guitarist Al Dimeola, shared stage with Emilie-Claire Barlow, played with Guy Nadon, Bireli Lagraine, Alain Caron, Harry Manx, Monica Freire, Eval Manigat, Denny Christianson and many others.
Regularly taking on a wide variety of projects, she is well-known for her work as bandleader and keyboardist for numerous pop artists such as Isabelle Boulay with whom she played for 10 years. This collaboration gave her the chance to perform and tour Quebec, Europe and Africa. She has performed on major french television shows on many occasions like “Les Victoires de la Musique” and the prestigious Michel Drucker’s talk show. She has also directed many concerts and special events with Johnny Hallyday, Henri Salvador, Eddy Mitchell, Adamo, Julien Clerc and Patrick Bruel.
In Quebec, she is also known for her work with Bruno Pelletier, Nicole Martin, Marie-Élaine Thibert, Natasha St-Pier, Dan Bigras, Térez Montcalm, Nanette Workman, Gildor Roy etc. Band leader and keyboardist for many different special projects, she has contributed to many of Montreal’s Francofolies events and directed the big annual St-Jean Baptiste Day concert on Quebec City’s Plains of Abraham (2009 and 2010) and in Montreal (2014 and 2015).
Loyal collaborator of Monique Giroux, she was the musical director and pianist for Monique’s daily radio show on Espace Musique (CBC) in 2008 and 2009. They also presented many events and recordings over the past years, among them: “Femmes de feu – Tribute to Pauline Julien”
She is now the new band leader of the show Belle et Bum on Tele-Quebec that is coming back for a 13th season from which she is a part of for 3 years now. She is also the band leader for Claude Meunier’s talk-show (Ti-Mé Show) that is coming back for a second season in january 2016.
Julie has definitely achieved lasting recognition on the Quebec arts scene. With her unconditional love of jazz and her extraordinary drive, pianist Julie Lamontagne invites us to discover the unique world she has created.