Pierre Hétu began his career in 1961 when he emerged as the winner of the Besançon International Competition for orchestral conducting. Two years later he conducted the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for the first time, whereupon Zubin Mehta, the then resident conductor, engaged him as his assistant. Hétu conducted matinée performances and related duties with the MSO for a period of four years. In 1967, as part of the cultural manifestations surrounding Expo 67, Pierre Hétu conducted the world première of Terre des Hommes, at the request of its composer André Prévost. He then became Music Director of Michigan’s Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (1968-1972), Associate Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1970-1973) and both Artistic Director (1973-1979) and Principal Guest Conductor (1979-1980) of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.