Donald Thomson

Donald (Clifford) Thomson. Harpsichordist, pianist, organist, b Portneuf (west of Quebec City) 18 Aug 1934, d Quebec City, 6 Aug 1984.

Thomson, Donald

Donald (Clifford) Thomson. Harpsichordist, pianist, organist, b Portneuf (west of Quebec City) 18 Aug 1934, d Quebec City, 6 Aug 1984. He studied (1953-5) piano, harmony and counterpoint at McGill University before receiving further training in London at the RCM and the GSM (1955-6), and then in Paris, where he devoted most of his time to harpsichord under the guidance of two of Wanda Landowska's students, Gertrud Wertheim and Aimée Van de Wiele. Returning to Canada in 1957, he settled in Quebec City where he gave in 1958 what may be considered the first harpsichord recital since the end of the French Regime. Between 1965 and 1970, he organized concerts mostly dedicated to baroque chamber music at the Maison Chevalier (formerly known as Hôtel Chevalier), while serving as conductor of the Société de musique de chambre de Québec. A pioneer of harpsichord playing in Quebec - he was the only harpsichordist from North America to enter the International Geneva Competition in 1958 - Thomson also played the clavichord; through his conference-recitals and radio and television broadcasts, he contributed to the revival of the English repertoire for virginal as well as the music of Frescobaldi, Froberger, Bach and the French harpsichordists. As harpsichord teacher at the CMQ beginning in 1958, his main students were Hermel Bruneau, Anatole Gagnon, Denis Bédard and Richard Paré.


Further Reading

  • B., M. 'Renaissance du clavecin à Québec avec Donald Thomson,' Quebec City Le Soleil, 3 Feb 1958