Stéphane Tétreault, cellist (by Pierrette Brière)

We have been hearing about 19-year old cellist Stéphane Tétreault for the past year, whose reputation has been steadily growing outside Quebec. But who is this wunderkind and what is his genealogical link to our ancestor Louis Tétreau? This is what we shall discover.


The son of Alain Tétrault and Ginette Ravary, Stéphane is André Tétreault and Pauline Leclerc’s grandson. He currently resides in Montreal with his parents, but his family hails from the Mauricie Region.  He is many times descendant of ancestor Louis Tétreau, not only by latter’s son Daniel who has passed on the patronym, but also by his other son Joseph-Marie. And although he inherited his father's good looks, the vivacious look in his eyes reminds of his mother’s.   

The budding cellist grew up surrounded by music, a passion which does not only come from his music-loving father - who played electric bassist in rock groups for many years - but from his mother’s side of the family as well (his grandfather had passed on his love for music to his children and grandchildren.) 

A gifted child

Stéphane was undoubtedly a child prodigy, whose superior intellectual capacities were manifest early on. “He is like a sponge for information,” his mother says, “he can remember anything after reading or hearing it once.”  

His personal interests range from history and archeology to fine cuisine and opera. More, he has also developed a passion for writing, citing Shakespeare as an early influence (the great author inspired him to write a play at age 15).  Bilingual, he studied in english and in french. At age 16, he scored amongst the top 700 students to audition that year at the University of Montreal’s music performance program. 

Demonstrating talent in many domains since early childhood, his growing passion for music and the arts attracted the attention of his parents who decided to enroll him in F.A.C.E., an arts-based school located in the enclave of McGill University, when he was still in kindergarten. One of his music intructors immediately recognized in him the ability to identify musical pitches effortlessly, a rare gift known as “perfect pitch,” and recommended that he receives training in the Suzuki Method. The violin class being already full, the instructor promissed gifts to all those willing to change instrument for the cello. Young Stéphane agreed to the switch. “ She bought me three CDs once the schoolyear was completed,” he quips. Charmed by his new instrument, dreams of one day having a career as a soloist were now slowly growing inside him.   

A meeting with cellist, founder and artistic director of I Musici of Montreal, Yuli Turovsky when he was 9 years old was to greatly impact his life. Upon meeting Stéphane, Turovsky agreed on giving him cello lessons and prompted him to develop his own sound. As their relationship quickly outgrew that of mere teacher-student, Stéphane soon saw in the elder statesman not only a mentor, but something of a grandfather figure. Stéphane has been taking cello and conducting lessons with maestro Turovsky for the last ten years.     

International carrer

Despite his young age, Stéphane’s achievements are rather impressive, to say the least. He has been invited to perform with many world-class orchestras and has played under the most reputed conductors. His travels have also allowed him to meet with top cellists around the world.     

In addition to having performed on the world stage, he has also competed in diverse competitions in Canada and abroad. He has won second place at the Festival de musique classique de Sorel-Tracy at age 10, and took in the top honor the following year. He also has won the first prize at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s Competition at age 14. Other notable examples include: the International Tchaikovsky Competion in Moscow, Russia, an invitation to perform Dvorak’s Concerto for Cello as a soloist with the Orchestre Metropolitain, playing the Variations on a rococo theme by Tchaikovsky with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, semi-finalist in the International Strings Competition of Stulberg and Johansen, top 20 finalist in the Compétition Internationale de Violoncelle de Genève, participation at the prestigious Rostropovich competition held in Paris, the youngest participant in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at New York's Canegie Hall...and he his not about to stop!    

A bright young man with a head on his shoulders, Stéphane is serious and disciplined. He practices between 4 and 6 hours a day, catering to his belief that success is 5% talent and 95% hard work. He hopes to be able to pursue his career as a soloist while completing his studies, and remaining close to his friends. “ I would need four lives to accomplish all I want to accomplish,” he says while pondering over his busy schedule.      

A rising star amid classical music circles, Stéphane has also garnered praise from critics. La Presse’s Claude Gingras wrote of him: “ This young man was born to play the cello. He holds his instrument like one would a lover. He seems detached from the world as he makes his bow glide on the strings, and his instrumental control is absolute...At 17, the depth of his sound is already that of a seasoned professional.”  

In June 2011, Stéphane was selected as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Révélation classique 2011-2012, and, keen on saluting his passion, motivation and devotion to his art form, La Presse named him the Personality of the Week in February 2012.  

Tools of the trade

A few months ago, our young virtuoso made the headlines. We learned that he was going to be given a cello made in 1707 by the late master luthier Stradivarius. The beauty was appraised at approximately 6 million dollars.  

A patron of the arts of Montreal, who wished to retain her privacy, saw a report on Radio-Canada’s Téléjournal in which Stéphane was soloing under the baton of reputed violinist and conductor Maxim Vengerov. Blown away by his performance, she asked that the young man be hired to play at an upcoming private party at her residence. As their relationship grew tighter, the lady asked him to find himself an instrument that measures to his talent. Although quite satisfied with his cello, the young man began his research and soon discovered a Stradivarius who was once the property of Beaux-Arts Trio founder, the late Bernard Greenhouse. As part of his will, the latter had asked that the cello not be put into a museum, but lent to a promising talent. The paperwork duly filled out, Stéphane slowly began to befriend his new instrument.   

While he grows fond of the Stradivarius, Stéphane nevertheless stays grounded. “This cello allows me to surpass myself,” he says. Though conscious of the value of the instrument, he declined it being protected by security guards while making an appearance at popular TV show Tout Le Monde En Parle, noting that “There's no need. Dad will be there!”  

Prestigious accolades and platforms asides, the emerging artist remains a young adult prone to experimentation when opportunities arise. For example, he has recently recorded a composition for electric cello and turntable inside the elevator of a Montreal theatre company. “…It was also in line with my father’s own personal taste in music…” he says, confessing having truly enjoyed the experience. As a matter of fact, his father travels with him whenever he gets the chance. “… I like to know he is there for me; it reassures me and he genuinely loves it.”  


Stéphane Tétreault is not only an exceptional musical talent, but an immensely generous young man who stands proud, humble and sensitive; a caring being who leaves a positive impression on everyone he meets.    

Over the course of a discussion with his loving and devoted mother, we have witnessed first hand how proud his parents, grandparents, and extended family are of him. I add that all members of the Tétreault family are honoured to count him amongst the descendants of the Louis Tétreau and Noëlle Landeau couple.   

He cherished his childhood dream to one day travel the world with his cello and play concerts. Well, this dream is now a reality. The members of our association wish him all the best in his professional and his personal endeavours. We graciously thank his family for giving Quebec such a stellar talent. This came with great sacrifices and we are hopeful they shall spend many more happy moments together.  

Sources : Ginette Ravary, La Presse, La Voix, L’Express Outremont/Mont-Royal, La Scena Musicale, Internet – Guide de Montréal-Nord. Photos from Caroline Bergeron.


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Recently I attended a concert of Stéphane in Victoriaville . It was a real moment of grace .

Josée Tétreault, Varennes

Text from the bulletin Les Tétreau disent... Vol 14, no 2 (août 2012)

Stéphane Tétreault

Rodion Shchedrin: À la manière d'Albéniz (In the Style of Albéniz)
Stéphane Tétreault, violoncelle / cello
Orchestre Nouvelle Génération.