Quebec Harmonic Society/Société harmonique de Québec

Quebec Harmonic Society/Société harmonique de Québec. According to Nazaire LeVasseur, it was through Frederick Glackemeyer that the first of several musical societies using this name was founded in Quebec City; it was founded in December 1819 and 11 months later Glackemeyer was vice-president.

Quebec Harmonic Society/Société harmonique de Québec

Quebec Harmonic Society/Société harmonique de Québec. According to Nazaire LeVasseur, it was through Frederick Glackemeyer that the first of several musical societies using this name was founded in Quebec City; it was founded in December 1819 and 11 months later Glackemeyer was vice-president. Its aim was 'not only to contribute to the progress of an agreeable art and to the pleasures of the privileged class of citizens, but also to assist public charity.' Its existence was intermittent: 1820-1 (nine concerts), 1848, 1852-3, 1856, 1857 (four concerts), 1861 (one concert), 1870, and 1878. Among its later directors and conductors were Antoine Dessane and a certain Ziegler (1852), Damis Paul and a Mr Roschi (1857), Antoine Dessane and Frederick W. Mills (1870), and Célestin Lavigueur (1878).

In 1848 the players were recruited from among the best amateurs in Quebec City and from English regimental bands in the garrison there, and the orchestra resembled the classic Viennese type. Rehearsals and concerts were held in 1820 at the Union Hotel, in 1848 in the assembly room of the former parliament, in 1857 in the Salle de Musique, in 1861 in the National School, and in 1878 in the Victoria Hall (Quebec City).

The orchestra's repertoire is known partly from the contents of the orchestra folders preserved in the library of the Petit séminaire de Québec and through a few programs. From the names of the principal composers which appear (Abel, Beethoven, Boieldieu, Gossec, Haydn, Handel, Hérold, Kalliwoda, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Pleyel, Ries, Rossini, Vanhal, and Weber) one can form a fair idea of the musicians' competence and also observe the remarkable taste of the society's organizers.

Financial difficulties brought about the demise of the society in 1857, and attempts to revive it - in 1861, 1870, and 1878 - were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, it was known for the quality of its musicians and its repertoire and for a considerable time it was patronized by 'the smartest society in Quebec.' It was superseded by the Septett Club, a new association headed by Dessane.


Further Reading

  • Quebec City Le Canadien, 19 Jan 1820

    Quebec City L'Événement, 3 Apr 1878

    LeVasseur, Nazaire. 'Musique et musicians à Québec,' La Musique (1919-20)

    Michaud, Irma. 'Antonin Dessane, 1826-1873,' BRH, Feb 1933

    Kallmann, Helmut. 'Beethoven and Canada: a miscellany,' CMB, 2, Spring-Summer 1971

    Émond, Vivianne. '"Musique et musiciens à Québec: souvenirs d'un amateur" de Nazaire LeVasseur (1848-1927): étude critique,' M MUS thesis, Laval University 1986