Bernard Lagacé

Bernard Lagacé. Organist, harpsichordist, teacher, b St-Hyacinthe, Que, 21 Nov 1930. He began his musical studies with Conrad Letendre at the Séminaire de St-Hyacinthe where he was organist at the age of 14.

Bernard Lagacé

Bernard Lagacé. Organist, harpsichordist, teacher, b St-Hyacinthe, Que, 21 Nov 1930. He began his musical studies with Conrad Letendre at the Séminaire de St-Hyacinthe where he was organist at the age of 14. In 1948 he replaced Raymond Daveluy, then in Europe, at the St-Jean-Baptiste Church, becoming regular organist there in 1950. He subsequently worked with Yvonne Hubert (piano) and Gabriel Cusson (harmony and counterpoint). He was awarded a grant in 1954 by the Quebec government and studied in Paris 1954-5 with André Marchal (organ). In 1956 he worked in Vienna under Anton Heiller, also learning the harpsichord from Isolde Ahlgrimm, Eta Harich-Schneider, and Ruggiero Gerlin. Returning in 1957 to Montreal, he taught 1957-78 at the CMM and was appointed to the staff of Concordia University in 1978. He taught during the summers at the CAMMAC Music Centre, at the Choate Music Seminars in Wallingford, Connecticut, at the JMC Orford Art Centre, at the Académie d'été de St-Hubert in Belgium, and at the Académie d'orgue de St-Dié in France. In addition to his wife, Mireille, and daughter Geneviève, his many pupils included Hélène Dugal, Dom André Laberge, Lucien and Réjean Poirier, and Wilhelmina Tiemersma. He was a founding member of the group Ars Organi and was active in the revival of the classical organ in North America. He served on the juries of international organ competitions in England, Belgium, France, Ireland, and Canada. Lagacé became known internationally as an organ recitalist. He performed many times in Canada (notably on the CBC), the USA, and Europe, including at important festivals. He became organist at the Sanctuaire Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs in Montreal in 1966.

Although he has played most of the important works of the organ repertoire, Lagacé is considered a specialist of baroque music, and of Bach in particular. He performed the complete organ works of Bach on two occasions at the Immaculée-Conception Church in Montreal 1975-7, 1987-9. Following one of these recitals 7 Oct 1987, Carol Bergeron commented that 'Bernard Lagacé delivers a clear, sensitive and intelligent discourse. This music speaks to us and one feels that the performer is at one with the music. ' (Montreal Le Devoir, 9 Oct 1987). In the same church, he performed Buxtehude's complete organ works in six recitals 1978-9 with his wife.

In 1978 Lagacé was awarded the Prix Denise-Pelletier by the Quebec government, and in 1989 the Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée. He was named Member of the Order of Canada in 1985.

See also Éric Lagacé (his son).

Writings

'François Morel, musicien canadien,' Liberté, vol 60, Sep-Oct 1960

'A few notes on Bach's Art of Fuguhe,' Musick, vol 2, Autumn 1980

'The Art of Fugue,' Continuo, Sep 1985

Discography

Organ
Bach The Art of Fugue; et al. 1977. 3-Arion ARN 3360-13

- Toccata in D Minor, Pastoral in F, et al. 1981. Titanic Ti-14

Brahms 11 Chorales; Fugue in B Flat Minor. 1978. Titanic Ti-38

Chorales for Organ: Scheidt - Buxtehude - Pachelbel - Böhm - Bach. 1965. Madrigal MAS-400

Couperin Messe pour les couvents. 1965. Madrigal MAS-403/Oryx ORYX 723

Cycle d'orgues en Avignon: English music of the 16th and 17th centuries. 1975. 3-Arion ARN 3360-07/Arion 311947

Frescobaldi Missa della Madonna (organ); Aria detta la Frescobalda; et al (harpsichord). 1965. Madrigal MAS-401

Morel Alléluia. (1980). 5-ACM 6

Pachelbel Toccata; et al. 1975. Arion ARN 38273/Mus H Soc MHS-4353

Scheidt Tabulatura Nova (1st part). 1980. Calliope CAL-1746

- Tabulatura Nova (3rd part) et al. 1980. 4-Calliope CAL-1174750

With Mireille Lagacé: The complete organ works of Buxtehude. 1977-8. 8-Calliope CAL 173138 available singly on Calliope CAL 1731, 1733, 1735, 1737 (Bernard); 1732, 1734, 1736, 1738 (Mireille)

See also Discography for Festival Singers; Micheline Tessier; Turp.


Further Reading

  • Gingras, Claude. 'Lagacé: Je suis content qu'on ait pensé à l'orgue,' Montreal La Presse, 7 Oct 1978

    Cousineau, André. 'Entrevue: Bernard Lagacé,' Tic-Toc-Choc, vol 6, Dec 1984

    Crabb, Michael. 'Bravo! Bravo!,' Bravo, Vol 3, Jan-Feb 1985