Conservatoire de musique du Québec | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Conservatoire de musique du Québec

Conservatoire de musique du Québec. A network of seven provincial music-teaching institutions established in stages over the years, beginning in 1942, with branches located in Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Hull, Chicoutimi, Val-d'Or, and Rimouski.

Conservatoire de musique du Québec

Conservatoire de musique du Québec. A network of seven provincial music-teaching institutions established in stages over the years, beginning in 1942, with branches located in Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Hull, Chicoutimi, Val-d'Or, and Rimouski.

Central administration of the seven music schools and of theatre schools in Montreal and Quebec City, became the responsibility of the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique de Québec, an MACQ division reporting directly to the minister. The founding director, Wilfrid Pelletier, was succeeded by Roland Leduc, and the division has been directed subsequently by Victor Bouchard 1967-71, Jean Vallerand 1971-8, and Uriel Luft for a few months in 1978. Bouchard returned to succeed Luft in 1978, and he in turn was succeeded by Pierre Genest 1980-6, and Pierre Thibault in 1986. According to statute, the aim of the conservatoire is to 'coordinate the professional training of composers, singers, instrumentalists and actors'. Provincial standardization of curricula, of levels of achievement necessary for student admission and advancement, and of criteria for the selection of teachers, has produced a remarkable equality in the calibre of teaching and the availability of advanced musical training throughout Quebec. The establishment of full-time staff appointments in 1961 and the opening of preparatory or pre-conservatory schools in Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, and Arvida (Chicoutimi) in 1963-4 were important landmarks in the institution's development. In 1990-1 the seven schools of the Cons de musique du Québec served about 1012 students and employed more than 200 teachers either full-time or on contract.

The operation of the seven establishments has been governed by two broad principles: admission to its courses by competition and the training of professional musicians through specialized cost-free instruction. The study program leads to tests in the final year, following which two kinds of certification are awarded: 1/premier prix, deuxième prix, and mention, for voice, individual instruments, harmony and counterpoint, history, analysis, composition, chamber music, and orchestra conducting; and 2/first and second medals for solfège and dictation. Through an agreement between the Ministry of Education and certain Cegeps, the conservatoire also is able to offer the Diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC) and the Diplôme d'études supérieures (DES), which qualify holders for admission to the faculties of education in the universities.

In 1982-3, the Conservatoire celebrated its 40th anniversary, and set up the Fondation Wilfrid-Pelletier on that occasion. The foundation's mission is to help the most promising talents of the seven institutions of the network, and it awards scholarships of excellence and merit through an annual fund raising campaign within the business sector and by a benefit concert. In 1985, Bell Canada teamed up with the Conservatory orchestra to produce what has proved to be a successful annual undertaking. Following an intensive training session, the orchestra, made up of about a hundred students drawn from the seven establishments, make a Quebec tour which closes with a concert in Montreal and a recording of the prorgram performed. The orchestra has been conducted by Raffi Armenian 1985-8, 1990) and Franz-Paul Decker (1989, 1991).

1 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal

The first entirely state-subsidized institution of higher learning for music in North America. It was founded by the Quebec government following a report by Claude Champagne on the teaching of music. (It may be recalled that in the late 1870s Calixa Lavallée had tried unsuccessfully to obtain funds from an earlier government of the province in order to open a conservatory.) A bill entitled 'Loi du conservatoire' (The Conservatory Act) was passed by the Legislative Assembly 29 May 1942; a budget of $30,000 was provided. Directly inspired by the European conservatories, especially the one in Paris, the new institution began offering courses in January 1943. In October of that year, with an enrolment of 175, it embarked on its first full academic season, occupying space in the Bibliothèque St-Sulpice (now the BN du Q) on St-Denis St.

Wilfrid Pelletier, director 1942-61, assembled a staff which included the Quebec musicians Noël Brunet, Albert Chamberland, Camille Couture, Maurice Onderet, and Ethel Stark (violin); Fleurette Beauchamp, Jean Dansereau, Auguste Descarries, Yvonne Hubert, Arthur Letondal, Germaine Malépart, and Edmond Trudel (piano); George M. Brewer (organ); Jean Belland and Roland Leduc (cello); Roger Charbonneau (double bass); Hervé Baillargeon (flute); and Joseph Moretti (clarinet). Roger Filiatrault taught singing, a discipline added in 1951 to the instrumental classes and to those in theory, solfège, and dictation given by Gabriel Cusson, Isabelle Delorme (who was responsible also for the harmony and counterpoint courses), Ria Lenssens, Alfred Mignault, and Jean Papineau-Couture, among others. Claude Champagne combined the functions of assistant director and teacher as early as 1942; Clermont Pépin taught composition before his appointment as director in 1967. For several years Jean Vallerand served as both general secretary and a member of the teaching staff. Among artists from abroad who joined the staff were Isidor Philipp (piano), Joseph Bonnet (organ), Dick Marzollo (opera), Rachele Maragliano-Mori and Martial Singher (singing), Marcel Grandjany (harp), Louis Bailly (viola, chamber music), Anselme Fortier (double-bass), René Le Roy, Arthur Lora, and Marcel Moyse (flute), Harold Gomberg, Bruno Labate, and Michel Nazzi (oboe), Simon Kovar and Louis Letellier (bassoon), Harry Berv (horn), Bernard Baker (trumpet), Charles Gusikoff (trombone), Saul Goodman (percussion), and Léon Barzin and Charles Houdret (orchestra). A string quartet, the Quatuor du Conservatoire, under Louis Bailly's direction, comprising Noël Brunet, Lionel Renaud, Lucien Robert, and Roland Leduc, enjoyed a brief existence in 1944-5.

In addition to the Montreal region, the CMM serves all regions of Quebec, attracting students from Granby, Joliette, St-Jean, St-Jérôme, Sherbrooke, Valleyfield, and elsewhere. Located 1956-64 on Ste-Catherine St West and 1964-75 on Berri St, the conservatoire moved in 1975 into the former Palais de Justice on Notre-Dame St East, which provided 38 teaching studios, 11 practice studios, three rehearsal rooms, and two electroacoustic studios. In 1991 the conservatoire's libraries contained some 56,860 books and scores, 111 current periodicals, and 10, 668 audiovisual documents. Two small halls, the Salle Gabriel-Cusson (200 seats) and the Salle Germaine-Malépart (125 seats), accommodated public student recitals and concerts and also chamber concerts by the ensemble classes. Formed in the 1950s, the 65-player Orchestre du Conservatoire has been conducted in turn by Charles Houdret, Roland Leduc, Rémus Tzincoca, and Raymond Dessaints and Louis Lavigueur. Raffi Armenian became conductor in 1980. The orchestra comprising some fifty musicians, gave 15 concerts in 1990-1, including a tour of 8 concerts in France. Two supplementary ensembles have been formed out of the symphonic orchestra : a chamber orchestra founded in 1986 conducted by Raymond Dessaints, and a wind orchestra founded in 1989 and directed by Alain Cazes.

Heads of the CMM after Pelletier have been Roland Leduc 1961-7, Clermont Pépin 1967-73, Gilberte Martin (interim) 1973-4, Raymond Daveluy 1974-8, and Gilles Gauthier (interim) 1978-9; Albert Grenier assumed the position in 1979. In June 1991 there were 267 students and 64 teachers, including Gaston Arel (organ), Johanne Arel, Denise Lupien (violin), Jeannine Bégin, Aline Letendre, Andrée Gauthier-Germain and André Mérineau (theoretical subjects), Lise Boucher (piano), Denis Brott (cello), Marie Daveluy (voice), Jacques Faubert (counterpoint, fugue and harmony), René Gosselin (double-bass), Bernard Jean (oboe), Guy Lachapelle (percussion), Mireille Lagacé (harpsichord), Aimé Lainesse and James Sommerville (french horn), Jean Laurendeau (clarinet and ondes Martenot), Jean-Paul Major (flute), Rodolfo Masella (bassoon), Serge Provost (analysis), Gilles Tremblay (composition), Robert Verebes (viola), Dorothy Weldon (harp), and Liette Yergeau (analysis and history of music).

2 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Québec

The CMQ opened its doors 17 Jan 1944. It was directed 1944-6 by Wilfrid Pelletier until Henri Gagnon was appointed in 1946. Gagnon was succeeded by Raoul Jobin in 1961, Jobin by Paul-Émile Talbot in 1970, and Talbot by Armando Santiago 1978-85, Jean Charron 1985-8 and Wilfrand Guillemette 1988-. Located on Quebec City's Langelier Blvd, and later, for more than 22 years, on St-Denis St (beside the Citadel), the CMQ moved 29 Oct 1972 to new premises in the building of the Grand Théâtre de Québec. In addition to 49 classrooms and 22 practice studios, they provided the advantage of proximity to the Louis-Fréchette and Octave-Crémazie halls, in which the conservatory could present its public activities, in which both teachers and students have participated. Performances are also held at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur and at the Institut canadien. From 1978 to 1991, the number of these pedagogical activities has increased from 25 to some forty per year, including annual productions of opera workshops, and performances of orchestral, jazz and percussion ensemble concerts. Master classes are organized for conservatory students and guests from Laval University's music school. In the same school year the CMQ curriculum covered some 50 subjects, ranging from baroque instrumental music to electroacoustic techniques, from vocal chamber music to the techniques and writing of jazz. The program also allowed participation in an orchestra, an opera workshop, a choir, and a variety of ensembles (woodwinds, brass, percussion, saxophones, guitars). The CMQ library in 1980 held 7400 books, about 100 periodical titles, 24,000 scores, and 6000 discs. In 1991,the conservatoire had 70 teaching and practice studios, inluding a studio for electroacoustics and for recording. The library held 60,000 documents, including 26,000 monographs, scores, and periodicals, 6000 discs, 500 CDs and an immense collection of 78s and of cylinders.

At its founding, several CMM staff members travelled back and forth between Montreal and Quebec City in the early years. The Quebec staff, under the directorship of Gagnon (who was assisted by Alice Duchesnay, and who also taught organ), included Hélène Landry (piano), Gilbert Darisse (violin), René Gagnieer (clarinet, trombone), Maurice DeCelles (oboe), Olga Gosselin (harp), and Robert Talbot (theory). In 1990-1 275 students were enrolled and the teaching staff of 50 included Rita-Sonia Audibert and Bermond Bérubé (ear training), Pierre Bourque and Claude Brisson (saxophone), Irène Brisson (history, musicology), Jacqueline Martel (voice), Charles Dumas (choir, opera-workshop coordinator), Paul-André Gagnon (guitar), Noëlla Genest (organ, piano), Pierre Genest (analysis, counterpoint, fugue), Serge Gravel (piano), Pierick Houdy (composition, harmony), Carol Lemieux (percussion), Claude Létourneau (violin), Jean Morin (flute), Pierre Morin (cello, junior orchestra conductor), Jacques Simard (oboe, chamber music for woodwinds), and Nathalie Teevin-Lebens (harp). The graduates of the conservatoire who have won renown in Canada and abroad, include Gilles Auger, Odette Beaupré, Denis Bédard, Marc Bélanger, Madeleine Bernier, Sylvain Doyon, Noëlla Genest, Gaston Germain, Bernard Jean, Philippe Magnan, Sonia Racine and Jacques Simard.

3 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Trois-rivieres

Opened 1 Apr 1964 under the direction of the pianist Czeslaw Kaczynski as a preparatory school with 35 students and three teachers, it became the Cons de musique du Québec à Trois-Rivières 1 Apr 1967. Under Kaczynski's direction 1967-70 the teaching staff of 13 included Gaston Arel (theory), Otto Armin (violin), Hervé Baillargeon (flute), Raymond Daveluy (harmony/counterpoint), Réal Gagnier (oboe), Stephen Kondaks (viola), Rafael Masella (clarinet), Élisabeth Miquel (piano and piano accompaniment), Bernard Piché (organ and theoretical subjects), Antoine Reboulot (piano) and Charles Reiner (piano and piano accompaniment). Most of the students come from the St-Maurice region. The conservatoire moved in 1970 from Laviolette St to new quarters in the building of the Centre culturel and the former École Ste-Marie. That year the institution, headed by a new director, Raymond Daveluy, had 200 students and 23 teachers. Daveluy, who served 1970-4, consolidated the recently formed string orchestra and appointed Jean Deslauriers as its director. Daveluy was succeeded in 1974 by Armando Santiago but remained as a teacher. Jacqueline Martel inaugurated instruction in singing in 1974. The teaching staff also has included Michel Dussault, Christiane Sénart, and Nadia Strycek (piano), Noëlla Genest (organ), Bernard Jean (oboe), Jean Laurendeau (clarinet), Joseph Masella (horn), Joseph Zuskin (trombone), Jacques Larocque (saxophone), Michelle Quintal (theoretical subjects), Gilles Bellemare (harmony/counterpoint) and Denise Trudel-Bellemare (piano and chamber music).

In October 1978 the conservatoire moved into new Radisson Street premises containing 40 studios and a concert hall. Preparatory training for entrance to the conservatoire continued to be offered by the school of St-Gabriel du Cap-de-la-Madeleine and the comprehensive school Ste-Ursule de Trois-Rivières. The Cons de Trois-Rivières was directed by Georges Savaria 1979-80, Roger Bédard 1980-2, Jean Charron 1982-86 and Michel Kozlovsky 1986-91 who was succeeded by Pierre Normandin in 1991.

The advanced students of the conservatoire regularly participate in the regular season of the Trois-Rivières Symphony Orchestra. Former pupils who have had careers in Canada and abroad include Suzanne Beaubien (piano), Pierre Beaudry (trombone), Marie Bédard (violon), Pierre-Michel Bédard (organ and composition), Gilles Bellemare (conducting and composition), Marie-Andrée Benny (flute), Danièle Bourget (flute), Murielle Bruneau (double bass), Gilles Carpentier (clarinet), Claudine Côté (voice), Marie Gélinas (cello), Sylvie Lambert (cello), Louise Pellerin (oboe) and Louise Trudel (cello).

4 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Hull

Located on Alexandre-Taché Blvd, the conservatoire was opened 15 Oct 1967, enrolling 168 pupils from the Ottawa region. Its directors have been Fernand Graton 1967-77, Jean Charron (acting) 1977-8, Aimé Lainesse 1978-80, Josephte Dufresne, 1980-4, also assistant director 1972-8, Albert Grenier (acting 1984), Carole Goulet-Thibault 1984-6 and Noël Samyn (acting) 1987, succeeded by Yvon Pépin in 1987. The teaching staff has included Marie-Françoise Coiffard (violin), Josèphe Colle (theoretical subjects), Monique Gendron (organ and theoretical subjects), Claire Grenon-Masella, Paul Masella (french horn, and conductor of the 35-to-40-player Conservatoire Orchestra), Monique Collet-Samyn (piano) and Noël Samyn (saxophone and theoretical subjects). Facilities in 1991 included the Fernand-Graton concert hall, 15 teaching studios, and 10 practice studios. The students give concerts in the schools of the region and take requisite courses for the Diplôme d'études collégiales offered by the Outaouais Cegep.

5 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Chicoutimi

Housed in the former Palais de Justice of Chicoutimi beginning in 1991, the conservatoire was designed to serve the population of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region. Courses for 172 students began 16 Oct 1967 under 13 teachers, including Louise André, Lise DesRosiers (piano), Aimé Lainesse (horn) and Maurice Onderet (violin). Noël Brunet (violin), Rolande Dion (singing), Robert Girard (organ), Jean C. Morin (flute), Suzanne Goyette (piano), Jean-François Rivest (violin) and Leslie Snider (cello) subsequently joined them. Directors of the conservatoire have been Georges Lindsay 1967-71, Noël Brunet (acting) 1971-2, Pierre Bourque 1972-3, Sylvio Lacharité (acting) 1974-7, and Aimé Lainesse (acting) 1977-8, Jean Charron 1978-82, and Michel Kozlovsky 1982-6, succeeded by Jacques Clément in 1986. In 1991 facilities included 54 studios, a rehearsal hall, and a 150-seat concert hall,and a library of books, scores, and recordings. Thursday concerts have been presented by teachers and students in the Sacré-Coeur Church in Chicoutimi. During the summers, conservatoire staff members have taught at the Lac St-Jean Music Camp. See Camp musical du Lac St-Jean(Camp musical du Lac St-Jean). The program 'Musique à venir' allows some of the Conservatoire's advanced students to give instrumental workshops in the schools of the region. Several advanced pupils teach in the music schools of the region and are members of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Symphony Orchestra. In 1991, more than 1300 students had received their musical training at the Conservatoire since its founding.

6 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Val-d'or

Designed for the population of northeastern Quebec (Abitibi, Témiscaming), the Conservatoire de Val-d'Or was opened in September 1967, enrolling 45 pupils in its temporary quarters at the Édifice provincial. Edgard Davignon, first director of the conservatoire and instructor in flute and theory, retained both duties from 1965 to 1985 and was succeeded by Jean Le Buis 1986-8 and Josée Blackburn 1989. Other instrumental disciplines have been taught by Josée Blackburn (flute), Luis Sarobe and Suzanne Ouellet (piano), Silviu Parlea (violin), Hélène Martineau (cello), André Pelchat (clarinet, saxophone), Denis Lamontagne (brass) and James Dowdy (theoretical subjects). Some courses are also offered in Rouyn-Noranda to better serve the region. Some 55 students were enrolled in 1991. The facilities then included a concert hall, practice studios and a library of books, scores and recordings.

7 Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Rimouski

The most recently established of the conservatories, on three floors of Rimouski's Civic Centre building, and containing an 1100-seat concert hall and a 275-seat second hall. Opened in 1973, its official inauguration, in June 1974, was marked by a concert by staff members which later was broadcast by the CBC. The Cons de Rimouski was established to serve students from the lower St Lawrence, Gaspé, the Magdalen Islands, and the North Shore. Directors have been Gilles Gauthier 1973-8 and Geneviève Paradis 1978-9, 1985-8, Sister Stella Plante 1979-85, Pierre Normandin (acting) 1988-91, succeeded by Gilles Simard (1991-). The enrolment in 1991was 120. Facilities then consisted of 43 rooms, including 35 studios and a music library. Jean Bouchard (saxophone), Jean Boucher (trumpet), Pauline Charron (piano), Gabriel Dionne (percussion), Mariette Gendron-Bouchard (cello) Jacinthe Harbec(harmony/counterpoint), Jacinthe Jean (piano accompaniment), Pierre Langevin (clarinet), Richard Lapointe (flute), Jacques Montgrain (organ), Pierre Montgrain (violin), Jean-Guy Proulx (theoretical subjects), Marie-Claude Sirois (piano), Chantale Soucy (harpsichord) and Jean-Louis Tremblay (guitar) served on the teaching staff in 1991. The Rimouski Cegep and the U du Québec's Rimouski branch have provided courses leading to the Diplôme d'études collégiales (DEC) and the teaching certificate issued by the Ministry of Education. In collaboration with the La Neigette School Commission, the Cons de Rimouski in 1975 set up a preparatory music school.

Further Reading