Goulet, J.-J.

J.-J. (Joseph-Jean) Goulet. Violinist, conductor, bandmaster, teacher, b Liège 22 Feb 1870, naturalized Canadian 1938, d Montreal 8 Jul 1951; premier prix solfège, theory, harmony (Liège Conservatoire) 1884, premier prix violin, chamber music (Liège Conservatoire) 1889. In Liège, he studied theory with Sylvain Dupuis and Théodore Radoux and violin with Ovide Musin and Désiré Heynberg.

Goulet moved to Canada in 1891 as concertmaster of the Sohmer Park orchestra in Montreal, at the invitation of Ernest Lavigne. He was the conductor 1893-5 of the Opéra français. He played a key role in the organization of the Couture Montreal Symphony Orchestra, which he served as concertmaster 1894-6 and which became the Goulet Montreal Symphony Orchestra when he became artistic director in January 1898. He was choirmaster of several churches, including St-Joseph 1895-8, St-Sacrement 1898-1913, Notre-Dame 1914-18, and St-Eusèbe-de-Verceil 1918-21. It was at St-Joseph's that he conducted the choral society, the Orphéon Goulet.

In 1900 Goulet was first violin in the Goulet String Quartet with Isaac Silverstone (second violin), Otto Zimmerman (viola), and Louis Charbonneau (cello). He was a member of the Haydn Trio with Émery Lavigne (piano) and J.-B. Dubois (cello).

After a visit to Europe, ca 1920, Goulet devoted himself primarily to teaching, especially at Mont-St-Louis College (where he had begun to teach violin and other instruments in 1904). He conducted the college concert band after 1925. After 1907 he taught free public courses in solfège at the Monument national. He gave lectures on Grétry, Massenet, and Bizet and conducted operettas for the Société canadienne d'opérette, of which he was music director. He conducted 1910-50 the Temperance Band of the parish of St-Pierre-Apôtre, which later became the Alliance musicale and finally the Fusiliers Mont-Royal Band. In 1926 he was a member of the Montreal board of the AMQ. He was president 1933-4 of the CBA and in 1937 he founded the Montreal orchestral club Les Disciples de Mozart. Belgium awarded Goulet the title chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold II in 1930, and France made him an Officier d'Académie soon afterwards. He received a Canadian military decoration for 'good service' in 1938 and an award from the CBA in 1951.

Goulet must be considered a pioneer of instrumental music in Montreal. He wrote numerous works for military bands, including a march called Wilfrid Pelletier, which was premiered in 1935 under Goulet's direction.

See also Jean Goulet (his brother) and Charles Goulet (his nephew).