Gaston Allaire

(Joseph Georges-Émile) Gaston Allaire. Musicologist, teacher, organist, pianist, composer, born Berlin, NH, 18 Jun 1916; died 15 January 2011; B MUS (Montréal) 1947, MA (Connecticut) 1956, PH D musicology (Boston) 1960.

Gaston Allaire

(Joseph Georges-Émile) Gaston Allaire. Musicologist, teacher, organist, pianist, composer, born Berlin, NH, 18 Jun 1916; died 15 January 2011; B MUS (Montréal) 1947, MA (Connecticut) 1956, PH D musicology (Boston) 1960. In 1918 his family settled in Danville, Que, where he took up organ and piano as a child. After further studies in Victoriaville, Que, in 1934 and in Québec City in 1936, he continued 1940-7 at the Conservatoire national in Montreal with Eugène Lapierre (organ) and Auguste Descarries (piano) and 1948-50 in Philadelphia with George Rochberg (fugue, orchestration, composition). He also studied composition and the history of music 1953-6 at the University of Connecticut. His doctoral thesis was "The masses of Claudin de Sermisy." Assisted by bursaries (1961-2 from the Canada Council, 1962 from the Fulbright Foundation, and 1965 from the MACQ) he undertook research in musicology in Europe and the US while also teaching 1962-7 at Loyola College in Montréal. He taught 1966-7 at the University of Montreal and 1967-84 at the University of Moncton, where he served 1969-73 as research officer and was later named professor emeritus. He gave several organ and piano recitals 1967-70 on CBC radio in Moncton and on the national network. A long-standing interest in folk music led him to serve 1968-71 as president of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music (CFMS/CSMT) and 1969-71 as editor of its Newsletter. He received a fellowship from the Canada Council in 1973 for musicological research in Spain.

Allaire wrote many articles, published mainly in the Revue de musicologie (Paris), the Music Scene, the Boston University Journal, and the journal of the University of Moncton. He also contributed to EMC. In 1969 he obtained a Canada Council grant for a modern edition of Claudin de Sermisy's Magnificats (American Institute of Musicology 1970) and Holy Week Music (ibid 1972). He composed a Suite laurentienne for orchestra (the "Poème" and the "Menuet" from which were premiered by the Quebec Symphony Orchestra in 1949), an organ work on French carols (H. W. Gray 1951), the music for the film The Man on the Beach (The Medallion Picture 1953), Noël! Noël! Noël! for mixed choir and organ (Presser, English-language edition 1959, French-language edition 1960), a Marche and a Petite Suite (1964-5) written for the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps Band, and several preludes for organ, some motets, a communion service, a prelude and fugue for string orchestra, and a polyphonic mass. In 1984 Allaire retired to Montréal to pursue research on renaissance polyphonic vocal music.

Writings

Gaston Allaire, "Les messes de Claudin de Sermisy," R de musicologie, vol 53, no. 1, 1967

"La rythmique de notre langue parlée," R de l'U de Moncton, vol 1, no. 2, 1968

"L'essor de l'imprimerie musicale en France sous François 1er," ibid, vol 2, Sep 1969

The Theory of Hexachords, Solmization and the Modal System (American Institute of Musicology 1972)


Further Reading

  • "Gaston Allaire, un musicologue qui pursuit son oeuvre à 72 ans," Montreal La Presse, 18 Dec 1988