Joseph-Arthur Bernier

Joseph-Arthur Bernier. Organist, pianist, teacher, composer, b Lévis, near Quebec City, 19 Mar 1877, d Quebec City 28 Apr 1944; honorary D MUS (Washington College of Music) 1931.

Bernier, Joseph-Arthur

Joseph-Arthur Bernier. Organist, pianist, teacher, composer, b Lévis, near Quebec City, 19 Mar 1877, d Quebec City 28 Apr 1944; honorary D MUS (Washington College of Music) 1931. He received his early musical education from his mother and continued his musical studies in Quebec City with Gustave Gagnon and Philéas Roy (organ and piano) while completing his general education at the Collège de Lévis. He was organist 1892-1908 at St-Sauveur Church and 1908-17 at Notre-Dame-de-Jacques-Cartier Church in Quebec City. He completed his training 1902-3 in Paris with Alexandre Guilmant (organ) and Félix Fourdrain (composition). The cellist Jean Gérardy, the violinist Ovide Musin, and other musicians sought his services as an accompanist. In 1903 he became a member of the Société des auteurs et compositeurs de Paris. In Montreal he inaugurated the organs of the churches of St-Pierre in 1908, St-Jean-Baptiste in 1915, and Sacré-Coeur in 1917, and several US churches invited him to perform the same service. He gave recitals in Buffalo in 1901, Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1905, Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1910, Phoenix in 1915, and Woonsocket, Rhode Island, in 1917. He also played in Toronto in 1914, and in Cap-St-Ignace, Que, in 1918. In 1917 he became organist at the Union musicale de Québec and at St-Jean-Baptiste Church in Quebec City, a post he held until his death. At Laval University 1922-44 he taught, among others, Charles-Eugène Albert, Dantès Belleau, Clotilde Coulombe, Rolland-G. Gingras, and Omer Létourneau. He served 1910-11 and 1912-13 as president of the AMQ.

Bernier's compositions include four masses for female voices; several motets published chiefly by Quebec City's Procure générale de musique; pieces for organ, violin (Berceuse), oboe (Pastorale), and cello (Cantilène), published in Paris by A. Débert (1903); a Mazurka for piano (Lavigueur et Hutchison 1906); and some other secular music. His Méditation for organ was published in CMH, vol 4a.

See also Gabrielle, Maurice, and Conrad (his children), and Françoys, Pierre and Madeleine (his grandchildren).