Throughout the 1980s and most of the '90s, René Lussier was the prime mover on Montreal's new music scene. His guitar work has been compared to Fred Frith, with whom he has often toured and recorded. Spread between solo work, duos, and large ensemble pieces, between studio compositions, structured improvisation, free improv, and film music, his impressive body of work represents a full course in musique actuelle, a term he helped to peg down. His masterpiece remains the speech-music collage Le Trésor de la Langue, which earned him the Paul Gilson Award in 1989. He also received the Freddy Stone Award in 1996 for his contribution to Canadian new music.