(b. June 7, 1949 Montreal, Quebec)
One of Quebec’s most prominent composers, Lewis Furey has contributed a number of award-wining scores to films since the late seventies and is perhaps best known for his collaboration with director Gilles Carle and actor Carol Laure, to whom he is married.
Born to French and American parents, Furey was a classical violinist before he turned to the Euro-pop, art-cabaret music that led him first to film composing and then to acting and directing. After private violin studies as a child, he debuted with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the age of eleven as a soloist in a youth concert. He then studied at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec from 1961 to 1965, and from 1964 to 1967 at The Juilliard School in New York City.
In the early seventies, he began turning his attention to writing and singing pop music and released three albums: Lewis Furey (1974), The Humours of Lewis Furey (1976) and The Sky Is Falling (1978). His music has been described by music critic Christian Gros as possessing “a voice that is at the same time cold and passionate, acid humour, sumptuous arrangements, [and an] atmosphere mid-way between Kurt Weill and Lou Reed.”
Among the films to benefit from Furey’s slippery rhythms and witty harmonies was Carle’s L’Ange et la femme (1977), in which Furey also appeared opposite Laure. That year, Laure made her singing debut at one of Furey’s concerts in Toronto. They subsequently performed together in a revue staged by Furey to great acclaim in Paris, and later brought the show to Montreal. Furey also produced Laure’s first LP, Alibis (1978), which featured several of his songs, including “J’ai une chanson,” which was a hit for Laure in Quebec.
Furey made his directorial debut in 1985 with Night Magic, a whimsical musical fantasy starring Laure he wrote with Leonard Cohen. The film didn’t win many fans, but Furey continued to pursue a career as a feature film and straight-to-video director. His first film score – for Carle’s La Tête de Normand St. Onge (1975) – won a Canadian Film Award. He also won Genie Awards for Best Original Song for Night Magic and Best Music Score for Maria Chapdelaine (1981). His performance in Carle’s Fantastica (1980) earned him a Genie nomination for Best Leading Actor.
Film and video work includes
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, 1978 (composer)
Au revoir à lundi, 1979 (composer; actor)
Avec... le charme de Carole Laure, 1979 (appears as himself; TV)
Agency, 1980 (composer)
Fantastica, 1980 (composer; actor)
Maria Chapdelaine, 1983 (composer)
American Dreamer, 1984 (composer)
Night Magic, 1985 (director; co-writer with Leonard Cohen; co-composer with Leonard Cohen)
The Peanut Butter Solution, 1985 (composer)
Sauve-toi, Lola, 1986 (composer)
Champagne for Two, Shades of Love series, 1987 (director; composer; TV)
Lilac Dream, Shades of Love series, 1987 (composer; TV)
Midnight Magic, Shades of Love series, 1987 (composer; TV)
The Rose Café, Shades of Love series, 1987 (composer; TV)
Sincerely, Violet, Shades of Love series, 1987 (composer; TV)
The Emerald Tear, Shades of Love series, 1988 (composer; TV)
Little White Lies, Shades of Love series, 1988 (composer; TV)
The Man Who Guards the Greenhouse, Shades of Love series, 1988 (composer; TV)
Moonlight Flight, Shades of Love series, 1988 (composer; TV)
Shadow Dancing, 1988 (director)
Sunset Court, Shades of Love series, 1988 (composer; TV)
Tangerine Taxi, Shades of Love series, 1988 (composer; TV)
Rats and Rabbits, 2000 (director; writer)
Une fille dans l'azur, 2001 (composer; TV)