José Delaquerrière

José (Mario Louis) Delaquerrière. Tenor, teacher, choirmaster, composer, actor, b Paris 16 Sep 1886, naturalized Canadian 1958, d Montreal 10 Apr 1978.

Delaquerrière, José

José (Mario Louis) Delaquerrière. Tenor, teacher, choirmaster, composer, actor, b Paris 16 Sep 1886, naturalized Canadian 1958, d Montreal 10 Apr 1978. In Paris his early musical training was provided by his father, Louis Delaquerrière, a tenor with the Opéra-Comique, and his mother, the singer Louise de Miramont. At the Schola cantorum he studied singing, theory, and several instruments. Among his teachers were Charles Bordes, d'Indy, Fauré, Amédée Gastoué, Gabriel Grovlez, and Guy de LaTombelle. At the Cons de Paris he was a pupil of Edmond Duvernoy (voice) and Émile Pessard (harmony and solfège). In addition he took courses in diction and drama. He began his career in music halls and in the leading roles of French and Viennese operetta, especially at the Gaieté-lyrique. After voluntary service in World War I he returned to operetta and the concert stage in Paris and the provinces. In January 1923 he arrived in Montreal for a French operetta season at the St-Denis Theatre, distinguishing himself in La Mascotte, La Fille de Madame Angot, Les Cloches de Corneville, and Le Grand Mogol. He opened a studio in Montreal and gave a series of broadcast recitals on the recently established radio station CKAC. In New York in 1924 he took part in International Composers' Guild concerts produced by Edgard Varèse, and was soloist in Carissimi's Jephte and Bliss' The Tempest. In 1923 he participated in the North American premiere of Stravinsky's Renard with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski. Returning to Europe, he pursued his career in operetta, films, and radio, and also taught. He settled permanently in Montreal in 1938. In fulfilling radio and TV engagements he attempted to make music attractive to a wide public. He founded the Conservatoire populaire, where he taught singing and interpretation free of charge to more than 8000 young people, and he conducted the mixed choir Choeur de France. The activities of these two ventures continued until 1966. He began teaching at the CMM in 1951.

He composed - mainly for voice - around 200 pieces, of which a dozen were published. The recipient of numerous honours, Delaquerrière was made an Officier de l'Instruction publique de Paris in 1936 and a Member of the Order of Canada in 1975. In France he was an active member of the Union professionnelle des Maîtres du chant francais, and of the Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM). Excelling particularly in operetta, ballad, and popular song, he is remembered for his efforts to foster in Quebec the traditions of French song, as advocated in his book Savoir chanter (Montreal 1976). His recordings 1923-4 for HMV in Montreal and Pathé in Paris (see Roll Back the Years) consist of about 40 songs and excerpts from operettas. His personal papers, including programs, manuscripts, sound and written documents, were deposited at the BN du Q in 1976.


Further Reading

  • Rudel-Tessier, J. 'José Delaquerrière: il faudrait écrire un livre,' Montreal La Presse, 20 Apr 1972

    Catalogue of Canadian Composers