Luc Plamondon was born and raised on his father's farm, 50 km northwest of Quebec City in the small rural community of Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf. In no way did he seem predestined for a career as a songwriter or for a life as a world traveller.
Plamondon began writing songs and plays while attending university in the 1960s. He began to dream about writing musicals after his first theatre experience, The Three Penny Opera by Brecht and Kurt Weill. Born from his equal appreciation for Elvis Presley and Leo Ferré, and Ernest Hemingway as much as Jean-Paul Sartre, plus his love for the theatre of New York and Paris Plamondon's path to writing has taken an unconventional route.
Plamondon completed a bachelor's degree in teaching in Quebec. He also pursued literature studies at the Université de Montréal; art history at The Louvre in Paris; and language studies in England, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Plamondon was planning to be a teacher or journalist, but always worked on his songwriting on the side. In the late 1960s, he saw first-hand the popularity of the New York production Hair and became convinced he was meant to write rock operas.
After a short stint in California, Plamondon returned to Montréal to pursue a career in songwriting. He worked with singer Diane Dufresne and wrote for Quebecois talents such as Robert Charlebois, and Walk inductees Céline Dion and Ginette Reno. He also wrote for French stars Julien Clerc, Nicole Croiselle, FranÃ§oise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and Régine.
Released in the early 1990s, Céline Dion's tribute album of his songs has gone double platinum in Quebec and has sold more than 1 million copies in France.
In 1978 Plamondon partnered with composer Michel Berger to create Starmania, his first commercially-successful rock opera. Set in the future, Starmania tells the story of Zero Janvier's rise to power in Monopolis; his sacrificing true love, his dreams of being an artist, and his desire to do good for political gain. The show debuted in Paris in 1979 at the Palais de Congrés and enjoyed a second successful three-year run in 1988. It also ran in Quebec in 1980 and 1986 and had productions in Madrid, London, and Berlin in 1992. More than 3 million people have seen Starmania, and 5 million albums have been sold.
Plamondon's other popular rock operas include La légende de Jimmy (1990), about the life of James Dean, and the critically-acclaimed Notre Dame de Paris (1998), the Victor Hugo novel set to music.
For his contribution to French language songwriting, Plamondon was made Chevalier of the Order of Quebec and Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France. He has also received six Felix Awards recognizing outstanding Quebecois contributions in music, film or theatre. They include two nods for "Song of the Year" in 1979 and 1983; one for co-producing the album of the year for Starmania in 1979; one for "Rock Album of the Year" for Starmania: Made in Quebec in 1981; one for "Theatrical Musical of the Year" for Starmania (also in 1981), and, in 1989, special industry tribute for his contribution to Quebec music and theatre.
Plamondon's most recent work is the modern version of Charles Perrault's Cedrillon (Cinderella) titled Cindy Cedrillon 2002, which debuted last fall at the Palais de Congrés in Paris.
He is the brother of Louis Plamondon, a long-serving member of the Canadian House of Commons.
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