Clément Morin | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Clément Morin

Clément Morin.

Clément Morin

Clément Morin. Teacher, choir conductor, paleographer, Gregorianist, theologian, born L'Épiphanie, near Joliette, Que, 2 Nov 1907, died Montréal 25 Oct 2004; lauréat teaching of choral conducting (Montreal) 1930, diploma in Sacred scriptures (Pontifical Bible Institute, Rome) 1934, D TH (Montreal) 1942, honorary D MUS (McGill) 1970, honorary D MUS (Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Rome) 1986.

Religious studies and priesthood

He received his general education 1919-26 at the Séminaire de Joliette, where he took part in musical, literary, and dramatic activities. While studying for the priesthood 1926-30 at the Grand séminaire de Montréal, he was flutist in an orchestra there. He later conducted the orchestra as well as the seminary's choir. He was ordained a priest in 1930, entered the Sulpician Order, and took advanced studies in the Sacred scriptures and sacred music 1931-4 in Paris and Rome.

On his return to Canada in 1934 he began teaching in the Faculty of Theology of the University of Montreal and once more conducted the choir of the Grand séminaire. He was appointed professor and a member of the council of the Faculty of Music when it was set up in 1951. That year he returned to Rome, however, to study musical paleography with the Benedictine Dom Eugène Cardine at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music; he remained there until 1954.

Dean of Music Faculty, University of Montréal

Morin was dean and director of studies of the Faculty of Music of the University of Montreal 1955-68 and regularly taught several courses, including performance and aesthetics of Gregorian chant, and history and analysis. He reorganized the Choeur Pie X in 1955, founded the Choeur Sainte-Cécile (a choir composed of nuns from 20 religious communities) in 1956, and conducted both until 1965. He participated in many CBC radio programs from Montreal between 1942 and 1958.

Morin became a member of the board of directors of the Pro Musica Society when it was established in 1948. He also served on the Council of Arts of Greater Montreal 1963-78 and was president 1967-9 of CAUSM (CUMS). He became a member of the International Society of Musicology, the Council of International Conventions of Sacred Music, and the Council of the International Federation of the Pueri Cantores.

In 1966 he began going to Italy each summer to give courses at the University of Bologna and to conduct concerts. He has published Genèse de l'hexacorde (Biblioteca di Quadrivium, Bologna 1971) and 'Motet Christi miles' (from the manuscript of Pluteus of Florence), a contribution to the Festschrift published in honour of Federico Ghisi by the Biblioteca di Quadrivium in 1972.

In 1973 the Faculty of Music of the University of Montreal named him professor emeritus. He conducted seminars there 1977-80 on musical paleography and early notation.

Guest Lecturer in the USA and Europe

He was guest professor 1945-60 at the Gregorian Institute of America in Toledo, O, and in 1979 at California State U and became a guest professor at St Michael's College, Winooski Park, Vt, in 1978. He gave courses in Gregorian chant in 1976 and 1977 at the abbey in Solesmes, France, and gave similar courses both in Ireland (1977-86) and at the Centres culturels français of the Sénanque (1977-80) and Fontevraud (from 1977) abbeys. In 1975 he began conducting the Gregorian choir of St-Germain Church in Outremont, Montreal. In 1987 when the CBC presented a series of three concerts of music that had been heard in New France, Morin was invited to direct the Schola grégorienne de Saint-Gall for the first concert held at the Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs church.


In 1990 he was elected a Grand Officier of the Ordre national du Québec, and he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1992. Morin, who had mastered some 10 languages, had earned an international reputation.

The University of Montréal Faculty of Musique has created the Prix Clément-Morin in his honour, available to a student in composition for a work of liturgical nature.