Charles Labelle

Charles Labelle. Choirmaster, composer, conductor, teacher, b Champlain, NY, 15 Aug 1849, d Montreal 21 May 1903. He studied at the Collège de Montréal, where, at 12, he was put in charge of the solfège class and was also the school organist. He became a lawyer in 1873.

Labelle, Charles

Charles Labelle. Choirmaster, composer, conductor, teacher, b Champlain, NY, 15 Aug 1849, d Montreal 21 May 1903. He studied at the Collège de Montréal, where, at 12, he was put in charge of the solfège class and was also the school organist. He became a lawyer in 1873. He began his musical studies with his father and much later he took lessons in singing and accompaniment with a Mme Petipas.

Labelle replaced Guillaume Couture as the choirmaster 1873-5 of St-Jacques Church, then was choirmaster 1876-9 at St-Henri Church. In 1878 he sang in Boieldieu's La Dame blanche under the direction of Calixa Lavallée. Following a sojourn (ca 1880) in Paris, where he studied singing with Romain Bussine, he was organist-choirmaster 1884-91 at St-Jacques and Notre-Dame churches, Montreal. From 1891 until his death, he held the same post at St-Louis-de-France Church.

Labelle taught singing at the Hochelaga Convent, the Collège de Montréal, and the Collège Ste-Marie-de-Monnoir and in 1891 founded the Assn chorale St-Louis-de-France. In 1895, when the conservatory of the Canadian Artistic Society was established, he was engaged to teach solfège and choral singing. Among his numerous private pupils were his son, Gustave, and daughter, Adrienne, and Céline Marier.

In 1889 Labelle founded the Société philharmonique canadienne-française which, the following year, presented Rossini's Stabat Mater and choruses from Gounod's Jeanne d'Arc at Queen's Hall. He was the author of a Petit traité de solfège (Montreal 1892), approved by the Conseil de l'Instruction publique du Québec, and of a treatise on instrumentation. He was editor-in-chief of L'Album musical (1882-4) and L'Écho musical (1888) and contributed to various publications. Among his compositions were a Funeral Mass, a 'Pie Jesu,' a 'Dies Irae,' and an 'O Salutaris'; two 'Ave Marias'; songs; and pieces for piano and for cello. He was named honorary member of the Institut populaire de France ca 1895.


Further Reading

  • 'La Société artistique canadienne et les professeurs du futur conservatoire,' Montreal Le Samedi, 30 Mar 1895

    'M. Charles Labelle,' P-T, 35, 4 Jul 1896

    'Charles Labelle,' P-T, 648, 27 Jan 1920