Guillaume Mechtler

Guillaume(-Joseph) Mechtler (from about 1800 usually signing William). Organist, teacher, composer, baptized Brussels 24 Jul 1764, d Montreal 13 Feb 1833.

Mechtler, Guillaume

Guillaume(-Joseph) Mechtler (from about 1800 usually signing William). Organist, teacher, composer, baptized Brussels 24 Jul 1764, d Montreal 13 Feb 1833. He advertised in the Quebec Gazette (12 Jul 1787) that he had 'entirely quitted the business of the Theatre' and would settle in Quebec City as a teacher of violin and harpsichord. Two years later he had moved to Montreal, where he announced that he would take pupils in 'forte piano, harpsichord and violin,' and in 1791 he became organist at Christ Church. He was organist 1792-1832 at Notre-Dame Church except for a period 1814-15. An announcement for a concert 14 Sep 1796 lists a 'Concerto on the Piano Forte - Mr. Mechtler.' He was certainly the performer but not necessarily the composer. However, he is known to have received £48 for 'works of his composition' in 1811 and may have been the first Canadian to be paid as a composer. Mechtler also is thought to have been the first of many Belgian musicians to settle in Montreal. He supplemented his income by serving as inspector of the hay market and stamper of weights and measures, and also as a quartermaster and later a captain in the militia. One Mrs Mechtler, a singer who appeared 1790-2 in Halifax and later in New York and Boston, was not the wife of Guillaume, who married in Montreal in 1793.


Further Reading

  • Lapalice, Ovide. 'Les organistes et maîtres de musique à Notre-Dame de Montréal,' BRH, vol 25, Aug 1919

    Huot, Cécile. 'Musiciens belges au Québec,' CMB, 8, Spring-Summer 1974

    DCB, vol 6