Émiliano Renaud

Émiliano Renaud. Pianist, composer, organist, teacher, b St-Jean-de-Matha, near Joliette, Que, 26 Jun 1875, d Montreal 3 Oct 1932. He studied piano with his mother, later with Paul Letondal, and still later with Dominique Ducharme.

Renaud, Émiliano

Émiliano Renaud. Pianist, composer, organist, teacher, b St-Jean-de-Matha, near Joliette, Que, 26 Jun 1875, d Montreal 3 Oct 1932. He studied piano with his mother, later with Paul Letondal, and still later with Dominique Ducharme. He was organist at 12 at the Collège de Montréal and held the same post at Ste-Marie College, where he continued his academic studies. Engaged in 1892 as a teacher and choirmaster in Church Point, NS, he returned to Montreal the following year. He was appointed organist at St Mary's Church in Oswego, NY, in October 1896, but returned to Montreal the following May. In September 1897 he left again, this time to work in Vienna with Olga Varet-Stepanoff, a pupil of Leschetizky, and then in Berlin

Renaud returned in 1899 to Montreal and was the soloist 20 Apr 1900 with the Goulet MSO in Windsor Hall, playing his own Concertstück for piano and orchestra; a further performance was given by the same ensemble in January 1903. Reviewing the premiere, the critic in the Montreal Daily Star of 21 Apr 1900 wrote: 'He plays with virility and makes great bravoura effects. In his composition he has fulfilled the requirements of modern music thought, in that, he has had something to express of value and has expressed it with clearness and lucidity. As a young artist, he is full of promise, and possesses a personality which is interesting and which atones for imperfections which are easily overcome where there is such a temperament as he has to work on'.

Renaud became an outstanding virtuoso, specializing in the romantic repertoire. He gave recitals in Canada, the USA, and England. After three appearances in Windsor Hall in March 1904 he was hailed as the Canadian Paderewski. He began teaching at the McGill Cons in 1904, the year of its opening. Among his pupils were J.D. Archambault, Alfred La Liberté, and Maurice Rousseau. He taught ca 1908 at the Indianapolis Cons and made a North American tour with the singer Emma Calvé. He resided for a time in Boston, and in 1915 began a career in New York as a performer and teacher. In 1918 he launched a method of teaching piano with the aid of records, the Renaud-Phone Piano Method, Inc, endorsed by Paderewski and the US critic James Gibbons Huneker.

Renaud returned to Montreal in 1921 and there devoted himself to teaching and composition until his death. In the fall of 1924 he gave three recitals at Wigmore Hall, London, performing Schumann's Études symphoniques and Fantasia Opus 17, Mendelssohn's Variations sérieuses, Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Handel, and his own transcriptions of songs by Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Wolf. In 1925 he presented an elementary 30-lesson piano course on the La Presse radio station CKAC. For this he also published a book of lessons and exercises (Montreal 1925). He gave a recital of his own works 17 Feb 1930 at the Windsor Hall in Montreal, with the tenor Rodolphe Plamondon and the violinist Émile Taranto. Among the works heard were Prelude, Fugue and Chorale; Sept variations sur un thème original; Concerto without orchestra and other piano pieces; a Romance and a Sonata in one movement for violin and piano; and some songs.

In addition to a great number of piano pieces, some of which have been published in CMH (vol 6), Renaud also wrote songs and chamber music. Renaud's output also includes Djymko, a 'musical farce' in two acts (prologue and two tableaux) for which he wrote the libretto. Several works were published by Ditson, White Smith, and New Music in the USA, by Archambault in Canada, and in 1922 in the magazine MusiCanada, of which he was director and president. Three of his compositions were recorded by Brunswick and Starr (see Roll Back the Years); Prelude, Fugue and Chorale has been recorded by Josephte Dufresne. Articles on Renaud appeared in several journals, including L'Art musical (Oct 1898), Le Passe-Temps (17 Mar 1900), and Le Canada musical (17 May 1919).

His works, which may not have been played in public since 1934, were featured in a concert at Laval University, which was broadcast on CBC radio as part of the International Year of Canadian Music in 1986; the participants were Sylvie Godbout, mezzo-soprano, György Terebesi, violinist, and Anna-Marie Globenski, pianist.


Further Reading

  • Comte, Gustave. 'Comment l'un des nôtres qui dût [sic] jadis s'expatrier est sur point de faire fortune avec son art,' P-T, 613, 21 Sep 1918

    Pelletier, Frédéric. 'Émiliano Renaud, le compositeur et pianiste,' Montreal Le Devoir, 18 Feb 1930

    'Émiliano Renaud fatally stricken,' Montreal Gazette, 4 Oct 1932