Ernest Gagnon

Ernest Gagnon, folklorist, organist (b Frédéric-Ernest-Amédée at Rivière-du-Loup [Louiseville], Qué 7 Nov 1834; d at Québec City 15 Sept 1915).

Ernest Gagnon, folklorist, organist (b Frédéric-Ernest-Amédée at Rivière-du-Loup [Louiseville], Qué 7 Nov 1834; d at Québec City 15 Sept 1915). Member of a prominent Québec City musical family, Gagnon is most noted for his work as a collector of French Canadian folk music. His song transcriptions, published 1865-67 as Chansons populaires du Canada, not only helped conserve a rich heritage, but alerted the musical world to the dignity and beauty of Québec's oral song tradition. He also took a keen interest in First Peoples' music and wrote a piano composition, Stadaconé (1858), which appears to be the first notated composition genuinely based on Aboriginal materials in North America. Gagnon was also an expert plainsong accompanist and virtuoso organist at St-Jean-Baptiste Church 1853-64 and at the Québec Basilica 1864-76. A number of his piano, vocal and choral compositions have been published in the Canadian Musical Heritage, volumes one, two and seven.