© Denis Cloutier
Francis Battah is a Montreal-based composer. After graduating in classical and jazz piano, Francis studied composition with Denys Bouliane, Alan Belkin, Denis Gougeon and Ana Sokolović, at McGill University and the Université de Montréal. His works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and orchestra have been performed on numerous occasions, including the Bozzini Vancouver Lab, the Canadian Music Competition, the Prix d’Europe, the composition residency of the Orchestre de la Francophonie, the Soir Festival, and events from La Société de Concerts de Montréal and the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab. Francis has received several commissions from performers such as Louis Philippe Bonin, Philippe Prud’homme, Michel Raymond, Bakarlari and the Trio Émerillon. In the fall of 2017, the Orchestre de l’Agora performed one of his works, as part of a fundraising campaign for the Les Porteurs de Musique foundation. The work, Kiwis and Men, written with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, allowed Francis to win the Prix collégien de musique contemporaine 2019. Porteurs de musique. La pièce, Kiwis and Men, écrite avec le soutien du Conseil des arts du Canada, a permis à Francis de remporter le Prix collégien de musique contemporaine 2019.
Francis is interested in the links between music and literature, especially via the melodrama form. In February 2018, his melodrama for piano, violin, cello and narrator, composed in 2015, has been presented in five Maisons de la culture, as part of the Conseil des arts de Montréal on tour. This one-hour work traces a musical journey through twenty poems by Pierre Nepveu, taken from his book La dureté de la matière et de l’eau. In may 2018, Vincent-d’Indy’s choir Les Voix parallèles premiered a composition on a poem by Gaston Miron. In 2019, Francis wrote piano music on a series of poems by Fernand Ouellette, read by actresses Monique Miller and Béatrice Picard.
In 2019, Francis won a third prize at the Antonín Dvořák International Composition Competition in Prague, as well as a special prize for the best fugue. He also won several prizes in the SOCAN Foundation’s composition competition: third prize in the solo / duo category (2020), first prize for chamber ensemble (2021) and the 2021 Grand Prize.
Francis is the winner of the Orchestre Métropolitain L’héritage de Beethoven composition competition, with his piece Prélude aux paysages urbains, that will be conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
© Denis Cloutier