Sister Marie-Stéphane

Sister Marie-Stéphane (b Hélène Côté). Teacher, composer, b St-Barthélémy, Que, 9 Jan 1888, d Montreal 9 Aug 1985; D MUS (Montreal) 1936. She began musical studies at five with her elder sister and continued them in her parish convent.

Sister Marie-Stéphane

Sister Marie-Stéphane (b Hélène Côté). Teacher, composer, b St-Barthélémy, Que, 9 Jan 1888, d Montreal 9 Aug 1985; D MUS (Montreal) 1936. She began musical studies at five with her elder sister and continued them in her parish convent. In Montreal she took lessons in piano and organ with Romain-Octave Pelletier for seven or eight years. After joining the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1908, she immediately began preparing for a teaching career in music while continuing her training with Alfred Lamoureux (voice and harmony), Alfred La Liberté (piano), Claude Champagne (counterpoint, fugue, composition), Raoul Paquet (organ), and, in Paris, Guy de Lioncourt (composition and orchestration).

In 1920 Sister Marie-Stéphane was appointed director of musical studies for her congregation, and in 1932 she founded the École supérieure de musique d'Outremont, which later became the École Vincent-d'Indy. In 1935 she went to Europe to acquaint herself with great musical institutions such as the Cons national, the École César-Franck, and the École normale in Paris; the RCM and the RAM in London; the Academy of Music in Vienna; and the Brussels Cons. Upon her return, in 1936, her school made new strides and continued to develop and expand. In 1967 age and illness forced her to retire. In 1973 she was awarded the Canadian Music Council Medal.

Sister Marie-Stéphane's compositions include two works for female choir (SSA) - Cantique au Sacré-Coeur and Motets au Saint-Sacrement (Schola cantorum 1920); two works for mixed choir (SATB) - Je n'ai qu'un seul Ami (a fugue) and Motets liturgiques (École Vincent-d'Indy 1965); and an Andante for string quartet, unpublished but recorded on tape by the Loewenguth Quartet of Paris as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the École Vincent d'Indy in 1957.

Writings

Traité d'harmonie (Outremont, Que, 1926, 1960)

Analyse musicale (ibid 1927, 4th edn 1972)

Théorie de la musique (ibid 1929, 9th edn 1982)/ Theory of Music, transl (ibid 1946, 1967)

La Musique au point de vue éducatif (ibid 1936, 1948)


Further Reading

  • Prévost, Roland. 'Une grande institution canadienne, L'École supérieure de musique d'Outremont,' P-T, 913, Oct 1947

    McLean, Eric. 'Teaching nun was unique on city's music scene,' Montreal Gazette, 17 Aug 1985

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