Bernard Diamant

Bernard Diamant. Baritone, teacher, b Rotterdam 11 Oct 1912, naturalized Canadian 1955, d Holland Aug 1999; honorary LL D (Dalhousie) 1988. A son of the choir conductor and composer Bernard Diamant and the operatic soprano Marie Taverne, he began playing cello and piano as a child.

Diamant, Bernard

Bernard Diamant. Baritone, teacher, b Rotterdam 11 Oct 1912, naturalized Canadian 1955, d Holland Aug 1999; honorary LL D (Dalhousie) 1988. A son of the choir conductor and composer Bernard Diamant and the operatic soprano Marie Taverne, he began playing cello and piano as a child. Starting voice lessons at 17, he studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, and privately in Holland, Germany, and France. His most important teacher was Charles Panzéra, a leading baritone of the day and the author of several books on voice production. After singing in opera and concert in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Holland, Diamant moved in 1950 to Montreal, where he taught at the École Vincent-d'Indy and McGill University and gave recitals in Canada and the USA with John Newmark. In the 1960s he curtailed his performing career and expanded his teaching activities, establishing in 1968 a second private vocal class in Toronto. He received a Centennial Award in 1967. In 1972 he joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and opera department and in 1973 he took up full-time residence in Toronto; he continued to teach at the University of Toronto until 1991, then returned to Holland. Diamant was elected in 1978 to the jury of the International Concours de Chant de Paris, and he also served on juries for international voice competitions in Munich (1984, 1990) and Bucharest (1991). He also gave many master classes, notably at Aix-en-Provence (1980), Princeton University (1982), at the Scotia Festival of Music (1986-8), and in Halifax for the Maritimes Association of Teachers of Singing (1990). Diamant appeared in the 2000 television documentary Maureen Forrester: The Diva in Winter. He was particularly known for his expertise in German lieder and French art song. In over 40 years of teaching in Canada his pupils included Henriette Asch, Peter Barnes, John Boyden, Anna Chornodolska, Jeannette Dagger, Orville Derraugh, Mary-Lou Fallis, Maureen Forrester, Gaelyne Gabora, Marion Harvey, Joanne Kolomyjec, Pierre Lalonde, Rosemarie Landry, Louise Lebrun, Diane Loeb, Joan Patenaude, Princess Christina of the Netherlands (who travelled to Montreal for her studies), Finvola Redden-Bower, Sylvia Saurette, Janet Stubbs, and Janice Taylor.


Further Reading

  • McLean, Eric. "Grand tradition," OpCan spring 1993