Joseph Lajeunesse

Joseph (Marie) Lajeunesse, (Lajeunesse dit Saint-Louis). Teacher, organist, harpist, violinist, pianist, b St-Martin (later part of Laval), near Montreal, November 1818, d Chambly, near Montreal, 30 Jul 1904.

Lajeunesse, Joseph

Joseph (Marie) Lajeunesse, (Lajeunesse dit Saint-Louis). Teacher, organist, harpist, violinist, pianist, b St-Martin (later part of Laval), near Montreal, November 1818, d Chambly, near Montreal, 30 Jul 1904. Although he intended to study medicine, he took up classics instead at the Séminaire de Ste-Thérèse in 1839. Nothing is known of his music studies, but he may have lived 1842-6 in the USA and he was a church organist 1849-53 at Chambly. He married Mélina Mignault 7 Jan 1846 and at that time described himself as 'a musician planning to study medicine.' The marriage produced six children, of whom three died in infancy. His two surviving daughters were Emma (m Albani), born in 1847, and Cornélia.

Widowed in 1856, Lajeunesse undertook personally the musical education of his daughters, first at home, then at the Sacré-Coeur Convent at Sault-au-Récollet, near Montreal, where he taught from 1858 until the departure of the family for the USA in 1865. Besides working as a musician and itinerant teacher, he tuned pianos and repaired instruments. From 1854 to 1859, he may have resided periodically in Ottawa, teaching and directing the choir at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

In 1856 and 1857 he organized tours and concerts for Emma throughout Quebec and later he arranged others for Emma and Cornélia as a duo. He presented a benefit concert in Montreal in September 1862 with the object 'of helping the Misses Lajeunesse to meet the expenses of their forthcoming trip to Paris, where they intend to study at the Conservatoire.' When the proceeds were not what he had hoped, Lajeunesse and his daughters set off for the USA in 1865, finally settling in Albany, NY. From there Emma left for Paris in 1868.

The two girls and their father met in Europe ca 1870 and Lajeunesse lived in London or Paris until 1879. On his return to Canada, he lived at first in St-Jean, Que, and then in Chambly, where Emma had bought him a home. He was known by the name of Lajeunesse dit Saint-Louis.


Further Reading

  • Legendre, Napoléon. Albani, Emma Lajeunesse (Quebec City 1874)

    Albani, Emma. Forty Years of Song (London, Toronto 1911)

    Massicotte, Édouard-Zotique. 'La famille d'Albani,' BRH, vol 37, Nov 1931

    Charbonneau, Hélène. L'Albani (Montreal 1938)