École des Petits Violons
School founded in Montréal in 1965 by Jean Cousineau. As there were no institutions specializing in teaching the violin, Cousineau worked out a method of instruction based on the Suzuki method and started importing from Japan instruments suited to his pupils' size and set up a class at the Institut Cardinal-Léger. The following year he established one in the Town of Mount-Royal and another at the École Vincent-d'Indy. In 1968 he began to teach some 50 students annually at his own school.
According to his Méthode de violon (in five notebooks, the first of which was published in 1965 by Les Petits violons) the mastery of a piece rests on the correlation of three senses; sight, hearing and touch. Cousineau saw music as an art of communication, and for him the concert is a logical outgrowth of individual instruction and the ideal setting in which to evaluate the technique and communicative skills of each young player.
In this spirit, the Ensemble Les Petits Violons, a selected group of the most advanced members trained at the school, was formed in January 1974. This ensemble has performed in the Salle Claude-Champagne and at Montréal's Place des Arts, at the Institut canadien, at the Grand Théâtre in Québec City, at the 11th annual Québec City Summer Festival, and at the Guelph Spring Festival. After a concert by the ensemble at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in July 1977, Le Droit's Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer remarked on "the precision in the attack, the well-chosen tempos, the interpretation bursting with vitality."
Les Petits Violons have appeared often on CBC and CFTM-TV. They played in the JMC Pavilion at Expo 67, performed for ISME at the 1968 congress in Dijon, France, and the 1978 congress in London, ON. They appeared in Warsaw in 1980, Bourges in 1983, Toulouse in 1987, and at the Coastal Carolina College of the University of South Carolina in 1990. The ensemble began receiving grants annually from the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec in 1976.