Léo Le Sieur

Léo Le Sieur. Organist, pianist, composer, b Lowell, Mass, of French-Canadian parents, 21 May 1897, d Montreal 7 May 1983. He studied piano, organ, and theory but began his career as a singer.

Le Sieur, Léo

Léo Le Sieur. Organist, pianist, composer, b Lowell, Mass, of French-Canadian parents, 21 May 1897, d Montreal 7 May 1983. He studied piano, organ, and theory but began his career as a singer. He lived 1922-4 in Montreal but returned to New England, where he worked as a choirmaster before settling permanently in Montreal in 1928.

Le Sieur recorded for the Apex label and was pianist or organist in various cinemas, including the Capitol. It was reported in LaLyre (April 1929) that he excelled 'in the art of improvisation' and that his music helped the viewer 'to understand the dramas or comedies projected on the screen'. While studying with Rodolphe Plamondon, Le Sieur taught organ and piano. He conducted a dance band at the cabaret Au Matou botté, played at the Midway cinema, staged variety shows, and was producer, soloist, and accompanist at radio station CFCF.

Le Sieur worked for both the English and French networks of the CBC, where he participated in numerous broadcasts for more than 20 years, and directed the Sweet Caporal choir and orchestra 1934-7. He coached several up-and-coming artists, including Aglaé, Pierrette Alarie, Estelle Caron, Lucille Dumont, and Monique Leyrac. In 1965 he left the CBC but continued his private teaching.

Le Sieur composed songs and light instrumental works, many of which were published by Baron, Feist, and Prima, or in La Lyre, of which he was one of the founding directors. Some of his songs ('Pourquoi?' 'I Went to the Market,' and 'Tou-di-la-di-tou,' sung or recorded by Fernand Gignac, Yoland Guérard, Fernand Perron, and others) were very successful. A list of his organ recordings for Apex is found in Roll Back the Years. A prize bearing his name was awarded to Marc Gélinas at the 1966 Festival du disque in Montreal.