Claude Létourneau, violinist and educator (born 11 November 1924 in Québec City, QC; died 7 October 2012 in Québec City). Claude Létourneau was a member of the renowned musical family that included his father Omer, and older brothers Paul and Jean. Claude was a teacher and a violinist with the Québec Symphony Orchestra, but is perhaps best known for devising the Létourneau Method of instruction for string instruments.
Education and Early Career
Létourneau studied violin privately with Edwin Bélanger and Arthur LeBlanc before continuing at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (CMQ) in Québec City and Montréal, and at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music). Between 1941 and 1947 he took courses in violin, clarinet and conducting in New York and at the Berkshire Music Center (now the Tanglewood Music Centre) in Massachusetts. He was awarded seven bursaries by the Québec government and won the Prix d'Europe in 1945.
In 1948, he became a teacher at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec and the Séminaire de Québec, where he directed the Société musicale Ste-Cécile (1960–67). While a member of the Québec Symphony Orchestra at different periods between 1940 and 1985, he founded the Létourneau String Quartet (1948–58), which gave concerts in schools throughout the Québec City region.
In 1990, he founded the Société musicale Claude Létourneau to promote the pedagogical method he created in 1965 and which bears his name (see Létourneau Method). It is estimated that more than 60,000 people have been introduced to string instruments through his method.
A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.