Séraphin Vachon

Séraphin (Dominique) Vachon. Violinist, conductor, composer, teacher, b Quebec City 15 Dec 1841, d Baltimore, Md, 3 Jan 1875. But for the recollections of Nazaire LeVasseur, Vachon's life and career would be all but forgotten today.

Vachon, Séraphin

Séraphin (Dominique) Vachon. Violinist, conductor, composer, teacher, b Quebec City 15 Dec 1841, d Baltimore, Md, 3 Jan 1875. But for the recollections of Nazaire LeVasseur, Vachon's life and career would be all but forgotten today. He took violin lessons from Joseph Lyonnais, soon distinguishing himself through his unusual aptitude; he demonstrated 'marvellous talent,' deep intuition, and a methodical mind. LeVasseur speaks glowingly of Vachon's astonishing virtuosity, his singing tone, 'pure, vibrant and full of vigour,' and his abilities as a sight-reader and improviser. Excessive shyness and perfectionism prevented him from exploiting his gifts. According to LeVasseur 'he was given a hard time in Quebec City.'

When Vachon was about 25 he moved to Montreal. There for a few months he led the LaRue minstrels, with whom he subsequently made several tours in the USA. In 1872 he settled in Baltimore and became the conductor at the Odeon, a variety theatre.

Vachon was a music teacher 1864-8 at the Collège de Lévis and the violin teacher of Roch Lyonnais. He was known as a composer of skill and wit; most of his compositions remained unpublished, however. The song 'Il ne reviendra pas,' with words by Louis-Honoré Fréchette, is listed in an undated catalogue published by Arthur Lavigne.


Further Reading

  • LeVasseur, Nazaire. 'Musique et musiciens à Québec,' La Musique, vol 2, Aug 1920

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