Arthur Laurendeau

Arthur Laurendeau. Bass, choirmaster, conductor, teacher, writer on music, b St-Gabriel-de-Brandon, near Joliette, Que, 30 Nov 1880, d Montreal 26 Oct 1963.

Laurendeau, Arthur

Arthur Laurendeau. Bass, choirmaster, conductor, teacher, writer on music, b St-Gabriel-de-Brandon, near Joliette, Que, 30 Nov 1880, d Montreal 26 Oct 1963. After studying the violin and the double-bass at the Séminaire de Joliette, he went to Montreal to study law and began to take voice lessons from Guillaume Couture. He was soloist and choirmaster 1901-6 at St James Cathedral. He was called to the bar but decided to devote himself to singing and ca 1909 went to Paris, where he studied with Pierre-Émile Engel and Jacques Isnardon and was advised and encouraged by Vincent d'Indy. On his return he gave recitals and began teaching.

Laurendeau was choirmaster in 1913 at the Gesù Church and succeeded Couture the following year as choirmaster at St James Cathedral; he remained there until 1952. In 1917 he began teaching solfège at the École normale Jacques-Cartier, succeeding Romain-Octave Pelletier. In a recital with Léo-Pol Morin that year at the YMCA hall, he performed works by Rodolphe Mathieu and Georges-Émile Tanguay.

On the advice of his doctor, Laurendeau gave up singing; he devoted himself thereafter to directing opera. With the support of Mme Damien Masson, he staged Massé's Les Noces de Jeannette with his pupils Léonide Letourneux and Honoré Vaillancourt in the leading roles. The success of this presentation led to the founding in 1917 of the Société nationale d'opéra-comique, whose first production, La Basoche, at the Monument national 24 Jan 1918, marked the resumption of professional opera in Montreal. Laurendeau also directed Thomas' Mignon in 1919 and Delibes' Jean de Nivelle for the Association d'art lyrique.

At this point Laurendeau began to concentrate on teaching at the Conservatoire national de musique in Montreal and the Schola cantorum. His pupils included Amanda Alarie, Arthur Blaquière, Albert Cornellier, Guillaume Dupuis, Gaston Favreau, Armand Gauthier, Denis Harbour, Arthur Lapierre, and Alfred Normandin. He founded a male choir, the Orphéon de Montréal (1931-4), which premiered in 1934 Rodolphe Mathieu's 'Lève-toi, Canadien.'

Laurendeau was president 1916-18 and 1926-9 of the AMQ and 1930-1 of the Société des artistes musiciens and wrote many articles for L'Action française, Le Canada, and Le Devoir.

Laurendeau married Blanche Hardy, a pianist and accompanist, daughter of Edmond Hardy. In 1917 she founded the César Franck Trio with the violinist Leon Kofman and the cellist Raoul Duquette.

See also Jean Laurendeau (his grandson).

Writings

'Musique de chambre et musique d'église en Montréal/Chamber and church music in Montreal,' The Year Book of Canadian Art 1913, compiled by The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto (Toronto, London 1913).

'Guillaume Couture,' Entre-Nous, vol 1, Jun 1930

'Musiciens d'autrefois: Dominique Ducharme, Alfred Desève [sic], R.-O. Pelletier, Guillaume Couture, Paul Letondal,' Action nationale, vols 35 and 36, appeared irregularly, Feb-Dec 1950


Further Reading

  • Tancrède, Frère. 'M. Arthur Laurendeau,' Action musicale, littéraire et artistique, vol 1, 9 Apr 1932