Conrad Bernier

Conrad Bernier. Pianist, organist, composer, teacher, b Quebec City 9 May 1904, d Washington, DC, 7 Nov 1988; honorary D MUS (St Francis, Loretto, Pa) 1962. His father, Joseph-Arthur, was his first teacher of solfège, organ, and piano. He continued piano study with Berthe Roy.

Bernier, Conrad

Conrad Bernier. Pianist, organist, composer, teacher, b Quebec City 9 May 1904, d Washington, DC, 7 Nov 1988; honorary D MUS (St Francis, Loretto, Pa) 1962. His father, Joseph-Arthur, was his first teacher of solfège, organ, and piano. He continued piano study with Berthe Roy. At 13 he inaugurated the organ of the church at Bienville, and the following year in Quebec City he inaugurated that of St-Sacrement Church, where he served 1920-3 as organist, while he was also assistant organist at St-Jean-Baptiste. Winner of the 1923 Prix d'Europe for organ, he studied 1923-6 in Paris with Sylva Hérard and Simone Plé-Caussade (piano), Georges Caussade (theory), and Joseph Bonnet (organ). For Bonnet he substituted on occasion at the great organs of St-Eustache. Returning to Canada in 1926, he went on a concert tour and spent a few months in Detroit as organist at the Church of the Visitation. He then taught for nearly 50 years, 1927-74, as director of the organ department of the music college of the Catholic University of Washington, which named him professor emeritus in 1974. He was organist 1935-69 at the church of Ste-Anne in Washington and also became the regular organist of the National Sanctuary of that city. He returned to Canada to give courses 1943-7 at the CMM and the CMQ and performed in recital for the Casavant Society.

Bernier was the author of two textbooks, Harmonie moderne and Traité d'improvisation à l'orgue (1962, both unpublished), and of Organ Method/Méthode d'orgue (Toledo, Ohio, 1962). He composed Croquis petit-capiens (Édition Belgo-Canadienne) and Variations et fugue for two pianos; Esquisse and Prière for organ; a Mass for mixed-voice choir and two organs; two songs, 'Les Colombes' and 'Les Berceuses'; and several motets, published mainly by Quebec City's Procure générale de musique.

See also Gabrielle (his sister), Maurice (his brother), Françoys and Pierre (his nephews), and Madeleine (his niece).

Writings

'Joseph Bonnet (1884-1944),' VM, 9, Oct 1968