Nil Parent

Parent, Nil. Composer, teacher, b Quebec City 6 Oct 1945; premier prix musicology (CMQ) 1968. He took courses at the Institut de technologie de Québec in 1964 while pursuing his musical studies at the CMQ 1963-8.

Parent, Nil

Parent, Nil. Composer, teacher, b Quebec City 6 Oct 1945; premier prix musicology (CMQ) 1968. He took courses at the Institut de technologie de Québec in 1964 while pursuing his musical studies at the CMQ 1963-8. Attracted to contemporary music, he took special summer programs in 1965 at Columbia U, New York, with Vladimir Ussachevsky, in 1966 at the University of Toronto's electronic music studio with Gustav Ciamaga and Hugh Le Caine, and, on a Canada Council scholarship, in 1967 at the Brussels electronic music studio with Henri Pousseur. On grants from the Canada Council and the government of the Netherlands in 1968-9 he did research at the Sonology Institute in Utrecht with Michael Gottfried Koenig and visited studios in Amsterdam, Cologne, Ghent, Geneva, Milan, and Paris. He composed at this time Des-accords, a work for nine brass instruments; a great part of it is devoted to the note E, which, owing to the distribution of instruments around the hall, produces variations of locale, origin, timbre, volume, and duration.

Parent returned to Canada in 1969 and was appointed to the School of Music at Laval University, where he founded the electronic music studio SMEUL (Studio de musique électronique de l'Université Laval). During the summer of 1971 he worked under Leland Smith at Stanford U, Stanford, Cal, and the next year he took Iannis Xenakis' course at Indiana U in Bloomington. He participated in the 1973 Festival international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges.

In 1973 Parent founded GIMEL, a performing ensemble which premiered six of his electronic works: Extension V, Polychrome, Toudoutoudoux, L'Anneau de Rameau, Eolos, and Sing-Sing. He wrote other works, among them Trapèze (1971) for four groups of 12 singers, Les Avenirs devenus (1980) for soprano, trumpet, trombone and tape, La Mer dorée (1985) for soprano, soprano saxophone, Synclavier, and tape, as well as some compositions in the character of theoretical studies, such as Sone (1966), Déserts 1881 (1967), Mit-Mat (1970-2), Downbeat, and Imanomroup (1972). He also has produced background music for films, plays, ballets, TV programs, and exhibitions.

In 1974 Parent formed SMEQ (Société de musique expérimentale de Québec). Following a trip in 1980 to Japan, where he experimented with analog and hybrid synthesizer technologies manufactured by Japanese firms, he was named representative of the New England Digital company, which manufactured the Synclavier. Subsequently he became founding vice-president of Technos, combining his knowledge of musical design and production to create and launch an additive synthesizer in 1985. Also in 1985 he founded the Atelier de musique électroacoustique du Centre d'art de Lévis, and in 1986 he set up the Semaine internationale musique et ordinateur. Besides contributing to several journals, he has lectured at the 1975 CAUSM (CUMS) conference in Edmonton, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, at the University of Milan in 1988, and at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa in 1989.

Writings

'Des-accords,' VM, 11, Mar 1969

'Musique à l'ordinateur,' Science Dimension, vol 1, Jun 1970

'Musique et technologie,' CMB, 3, Autumn-Winter 1971

'Musique électro-acoustique,' Media-Art (1973)

'Les nouveaux sons,' Québec-Science, Jun 1975

Synthétiseur: terminologie néologique, 2 vols (Quebec City 1980)


Further Reading

  • Giroux, Jean. 'Sur la portée moderne,' Quebec City Le Soleil, 4 Sep 1971

    Schulman, Michael. 'Nil Parent: getting ahead with electro-acoustic music,' CanComp, 116, Dec 1976

    Kelly, Linda. 'The electronic frontier,' CanComp, 201, May-Jun 1985