Jean Létourneau | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Jean Létourneau

Jean Létourneau, tenor, french hornist, teacher, choir director (born 12 April 1921 in Quebec City, QC; died 20 August 2018 in Lévis, QC). Jean Létourneau first studied piano and organ with his father, Omer, then french horn with Raoul Vézina, and finally voice with Émile Larochelle, Aimé Plamondon, Léon Rothier, and Bernard Taylor. After receiving his diploma from the TCM (RCMT) in 1945, he played french horn with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and with the Royal 22nd Regiment Band. He then devoted his energies to singing and performed 1948-51 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Létourneau sang in opera and oratorio in Montreal and Toronto and was a soloist with the TSO and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. He later opened a teaching studio in Edmonton. He was the founder of the Edmonton Professional Opera Association and its first artistic director 1963-6. He was appointed soloist at Edmonton's St Joseph's Cathedral in 1969, and taught at the University of Alberta 1972-9. He also taught and was choir director at Banff SFA ( Banff CA). After working in Edmonton for more than 25 years, he taught voice at the University of Victoria from 1979 until his retirement in 1986. He was also in charge of the choirs of Pacific Opera Victoria. After his retirement, he settled in St-Michel-de-Bellechasse, near Quebec City. His second wife, Madeleine Lachance, is the sister of the pianist Janine Lachance. In 1991, he received the Alberta Achievement Award.

In 1945 he had married the pianist Kathleen Busby (d 1985), also attached to the University of Alberta, Banff SFA, and the University of Victoria as an accompanist. Their daughter Colleen (soprano, b 1948) studied singing with her father and with Léopold Simoneau. She has taken part in productions by the Edmonton Opera and by the Banff SFA. Her brother Denis is principal violin of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and began teaching at the Community College in Vernon in 1979.

See also Paul Létourneau and Claude Létourneau (his brothers).