Émile Gour

Émile Gour. Tenor, choirmaster, b L'Assomption, near Montreal, 21 Apr 1893, d Montreal 24 Sep 1970. He studied piano and harmony with Alphonse Lavallée-Smith and voice with Salvator Issaurel 1915-22. While pursuing a career as a singer he remained in the employ of the Canadian postal service.

Gour, Émile

Émile Gour. Tenor, choirmaster, b L'Assomption, near Montreal, 21 Apr 1893, d Montreal 24 Sep 1970. He studied piano and harmony with Alphonse Lavallée-Smith and voice with Salvator Issaurel 1915-22. While pursuing a career as a singer he remained in the employ of the Canadian postal service. He was a soloist at St-Louis-de-France and St-Jean-Baptiste churches and for 10 years at Notre-Dame. From 1940 until his death he was choirmaster at Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and St-Antonin churches. During the era of silent pictures, he was very active, performing songs and excerpts from operas before the films were shown. He participated in concerts given by the organist Joseph Bonnet in Toronto, Guelph, London, Ont, and elsewhere. After hearing him in the role of Jesus in Massenet's Marie-Magdeleine Adrien Arcand wrote, 'M. Emile Gour was the best performer, a powerful voice, admirably controlled and projected with ease' (Montreal La Presse, 1 Dec 1922). He came to be known as 'The Canadian Caruso.' In 1923 he was Samson in a presentation of Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila in Worcester, Mass, and in 1928 he sang in Honegger's Le Roi David in Montreal. Gour was a member of the Montreal Quartet along with Armand Gauthier, Charles-Émile Brodeur, and Hercule Lavoie. He was also a member of the first Issaurel Vocal Quartet and the Issaurel Mixed Quartet. In New York, for Columbia, he made several recordings which are listed in Roll Back the Years.

See also Romain Gour (his nephew).