Club musical de Québec
Club musical de Québec. Non-profit organization founded in 1891 by women of the English and the French élite of Quebec City, with the aim of organizing morning concerts and making more widely available musical experiences which hitherto had been reserved for the privileged. Among the founders were Mrs E.A. Bishop, Mme Jules Tessier, Mme Fred Gaudet, Mrs W. Sharples, Cécile Gagnon, and Josephe Anderson. The group at first was called the Quebec Ladies' Morning Musical Club. The name was changed to Club musical des dames de Québec in 1896 and to Club musical de Québec in 1959.
The initial formula, which provided for a committee of 16 members divided equally between English-speaking and French-speaking members, was maintained for 50 years, but after 1940 French-speaking members predominated. The by-laws were drafted in 1894, but some documents bear witness to the activities of the first members as early as the autumn of 1891. The first official season, however, was 1895-6 and included 12 morning concerts. As the society grew it changed its concert time from morning to afternoon (ca 1913) and then to evening. Concerts were presented in the YMCA hall until 1908, at Morrin College 1909-12, in Chevaliers de Colomb hall 1912-22, in the Château Frontenac ballroom 1922-71, and in the Louis-Fréchette and Octave-Crémazie halls of the Grand Théâtre 1971-5, at the Institut canadien 1975-80 and again at the Grand Théâtre in 1980.
Local artists were engaged at first, and on occasion foreign artists who were passing through Quebec City. The pianists Léo-Pol Morin and Wilfrid Pelletier appeared there after 1909. The club has presented many famous artists, but it also has remained conscious of the importance of providing opportunities for young artists. The club's program developed greatly from 1920 to 1937 under the direction of two of its presidents, Mrs H.H. Sharples and Mme Paul Robitaille. During those years negotiation with New York impresarios produced visits from a succession of the greatest artists, Artur Rubinstein, Rudolf Serkin, Robert Casadesus, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and the Budapest Quartet among them. The popularity of the concerts reached a peak between 1936 and 1942 when there were more than 1000 subscribers. Though later it faced increasing competition, the club nevertheless maintained its level of quality. It has enhanced the artistic life of Quebec City and has presented a succession of such Canadian artists as Lionel Daunais, Janina Fialkowska, Maureen Forrester, Yvonne Hubert, Alfred La Liberté, Arthur LeBlanc, Louis Lortie, André Mathieu, and Ronald Turini. The society has begun to deposit its records at the ANQ in Quebec City.