Antoine Bouchard

Antoine Rodrigue Albert Bouchard, organist, teacher, composer (born 22 March 1932 in St-Philippe-de-Néri, QC; died 21 October 2015 in Sainte-Claire, QC). Antoine Bouchard was an authority on organs and organ music. He performed as an organist in the United States, France, and particularly in eastern and central Canada. He taught organ at Université Laval from 1961 to 1997 and served as director of the School of Music there from 1977 to 1980. He was a founding member of the Amis de l'orgue de Québec and became a board member of the Canadian Music Council in 1978.

Education and Teaching Career

The youngest of nine children, Antoine Bouchard studied organ with Yvette Michaud (1942–43), Claude Lavoie (1944–49, 1952–56), and Father Léon Destroismaisons(1950–52). He graduated with a BA from Université Laval in 1952 and was ordained as a priest in 1956, earning a Licentiate of Theology from Laval. He taught at the Collège de Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière for two years before continuing his studies in Paris with Gaston Litaize, Antoine Reboulot and Simone Plé-Caussade (1958–61). He joined the faculty of Université Laval in 1961, became a professor in 1966 and taught organ there until 1997. He was director of the School of Music (now the Faculty of Music) at Laval from 1977 to 1980.

Recordings and Performances

In 1974, Bouchard took part in the recording of Hommage à Henri Gagnon, on which he performed his compositions Postlude and Messe de Requiem. Ostiguy published the latter piece (retitled In Paradisum) and a Prélude in the collection Le Tombeau de Henri Gagnon (1987). From 1975 to 1976, Bouchard was heard on Radio-Canada in a series of concerts performed on 2 historical organs in six European countries. Beginning in the 1990s, the Dorian label released a collection of 11 CDs of Bouchard performing the complete works of Johann Pachelbel.

Reviewing Bouchard’s 1974 recording of French carols, Jacob Siskind wrote in the MontrealGazette on 11 June 1977, “These are all by their very nature short pieces, few taking more than five minutes, and it is here that Bouchard is most effective. The charm of these folksy miniatures has been captured with great effectiveness and the variety of sound possible on the organ has been highlighted very cleverly.”

Writer and Organ Consultant

Bouchard was a founding member of the Amis de l'orgue de Québec and wrote about organs and organists for numerous music journals, including the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. He also helped re-establish the Canadian organ building industry through his activities as a consultant in the construction of several organs in eastern Canada.

Organizational Involvement

Bouchard became a board member of the Canadian Music Council in 1978. Following his retirement from Université Laval, he donated $70,000 to the Faculty of Music for the development of liturgical music for organ and choral singing.

Honours

Bouchard received the Gloire de l'Escolle Medal from Université Laval and the Order of Painchaud from the Fondation Bouchard. He was an honorary member of the Académie de musique du Québec and a professor emeritus of the Faculty of Music at Université Laval.

See also: Organ Composition.

Writings

Antoine Bouchard, 'Casavant Frères,' Forces, 2, Spring-Summer 1967

'Dix ans d'orgue au Québec,' VM, 17, Sep 1970

'Évolution de la facture d'orgue au Canada entre 1960 et 1975,' The Organ Yearbook, vol 9, 1978

'300 ans d'orgue au Canada,' Mcan, 35, Apr 1978

- and Gallat-Morin, Élisabeth, Témoins de la vie musicale en Nouvelle-France, exposition catalogue (Quebec City 1981)

'A large task ahead for francophone Catholics,' Mcan, 56, Feb 1986

'L'instrument électronique peut-il remplacer l'orgue dans la liturgie,' Bulletin des Amis de l'orgue de Québec, Mar 1990; repr. in Bulletin de Laudem, vol 1, Dec 1990

'Le rôle de l'orgue dans la liturgie chrétienne,' Bulletin de Laudem, vol 1, Dec. 1990

Liner notes for the collections Anthologie de l'organiste, and Les Orgues anciens du Québec.


Further Reading

  • Boulay, Jacques. 'L'état de la musique religieuse au Québec,' Sonances, vol 4, Oct 1984

    'Orgue, musique sacrée et tradition,' interview with Michelle Quintal, L'Analyste, 10, Summer 1985