Ernest-Gill Plamondon

(Jean Paul) Ernest-Gill Plamondon. Violinist, conductor, b Montreal 7 Jan 1896. He moved with his family to Seattle, Wash, ca 1900, and was introduced to the violin at six by his father, Gonzalve-Alphonse, a bassist, and later took lessons from a German musician named Schmidt and from Moritz Rosen.

Plamondon, Ernest-Gill

(Jean Paul) Ernest-Gill Plamondon. Violinist, conductor, b Montreal 7 Jan 1896. He moved with his family to Seattle, Wash, ca 1900, and was introduced to the violin at six by his father, Gonzalve-Alphonse, a bassist, and later took lessons from a German musician named Schmidt and from Moritz Rosen. At 12 he was the soloist in a Paganini concerto and appeared frequently in concert and recital. When World War I forced him to abandon a period of study in Paris with Jacques Thibaud, he spent some time in New York and then went to Montreal, where he gave some recitals with the pianist Mme Damien Masson and met Wilfrid Pelletier. He toured with Pelletier and the tenor Arthur Dufresne in eastern Canada and the USA. Later the success of a concert with Paul Dufault at His Majesty's Theatre, Montreal, earned him engagements across Quebec. Returning to Seattle, he became assistant concertmaster of the Clemmer Theatre orchestra; several successive periods in Montreal and Seattle ensued. Around 1920 he joined J.-J. Goulet's orchestra at the Imperial Theatre, Montreal, and became its concertmaster and assistant conductor. He next worked in the orchestras of Jerry Shea (at the Capitol Theatre, Montreal, until 1922) and Dave Levine (Palace Theatre, Montreal). Returning to Seattle in 1925, he was the concertmaster of Sam Wineland's orchestra until the advent (ca 1927) of talking pictures, which brought about the orchestra's dissolution.

Plamondon then began an important radio career: he later estimated that he had participated in several thousand broadcasts. He also directed his own radio orchestra 1927-30 in Seattle and served 1929-30 as concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Karl Krueger. He then went to San Francisco, where he was concertmaster in an NBC orchestra directed by Mahlon Merrick, and he served 1933-6 as assistant music director to Meredith Willson and 1936-42 as regular conductor of ABC and NBC orchestral programs such as '45 Minutes from Broadway,' 'From Out of the West,' 'Stringtime,' and 'Waltz Time.' He directed the orchestra of the two networks 26 Jan 1940 in The City of St. Francis, a historical pageant presented before 12,000 people for the San Francisco Chronicle's 75th anniversary. He moved to Los Angeles in 1942 to head the department of music of ABC's western division. In 1945 he left his musical career to enter the business world.

See also Rodolphe Plamondon and Arthur Plamondon (his uncles), Lucien Plamondon (his cousin), and Luc Plamondon (a distant relative).